Buffalo Trail

Written by Jeff Guinn
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

It’s 1873, and young Cash McLendon is stuck in the town of Dodge, Kansas. He and his partner, Bat Masterson, gather buffalo bones scattered on the prairie to make a few dollars. Cash wants to find his lost love, Gabrielle Tirrito, show her he is a changed man, and propose marriage. Cash learns of a buffalo hunt, planned for the spring of 1874, led by intrepid hunter Billy Dixon. He is also told that Gabrielle is living in the small town of Mountain View, miles from Dodge. He now hopes to earn enough money to join her on the buffalo hunt.

South of Dodge, Comanche warrior Quanah Parker is trying to gather an army of Indian warriors, with the help of Spirit Messenger Isatai. Meanwhile, the buffalo hunters are following the trail into Indian lands. They are going to have to defend themselves against a mass of Indian warriors from different tribes, led by Parker, waiting for them at Adobe Walls.

Buffalo Trail is the second book in Jeff Guinn’s trilogy of the American West. I don’t think it is necessary to read the first book to follow the storyline. Similarly to the works of award-winning western novelist Larry McMurtry regarding authenticity and the development of interesting characters, the author has provided a well-written novel of early western Americana. Readers may become disgusted by scenes in which buffalo are killed for their hides, leaving the meat to spoil under the prairie sun. Also, the descriptive methods of torture performed by the Indians may repel. But this was the American West after the Civil War, and the author has presented a truthful picture of life on the prairie during the Indian Wars.

I look forward to the author’s next book in the series.