Go West, Young Man: A Riveting Western Novel of the American Frontier

Written by J.A. Johnstone William W. Johnstone
Review by Brodie Curtis

Wagons Ho! Twenty-seven buckboards set out from Independence, Missouri, driven by souls with dreams of a better life in Willamette Valley, Oregon. On board are families, old and young couples, and assorted gunslingers and fugitives. A frequently shifting omniscient point of view is used to unfold travelers’ scattered motivations and secrets. Fates depend on edgy but experienced wagon master Clayton Scofield and his dispensation of frontier justice. Fortunately, Scofield’s nephew is along as a wily scout who learned the ways of the west during years of captivity with the Crow Indians. The journey is replete with broken wagon axles, dangerous river crossings, sowbelly cooked on Buffalo chip-lit fires, banjos, fiddling and dancing, and Indian attacks with, of course, circling of the wagons. The geography of the Oregon Trail is often noted as wagons roll along the Platte River to Register Cliff, over the Continental Divide, on to Fort Bridger and the Snake River, then up to Emigrant Hill in the Blue Mountains, and on to Oregon City.

The book is a collaboration of prolific western genre author William Johnstone and his niece J. A., who strives to be true to William’s storytelling style although he passed away in 2004.