Gypsy Rock (Billy Young and Hugo Dorling)

Written by Robert D. McKee
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In 1892, a small group of Gypsies settles near the central Wyoming town of Casper. Deputy U.S. Marshal Hugo Dorling and his sidekick, young rancher Billy Young, are investigating the murder of an elderly Gypsy woman who is shot on her way from Casper to Gypsy Rock, where the community is camped. The two men capture Ben O’Dell, identified by a local woman as the killer. After a trial where the witness fails to appear, O’Dell is released. The citizens of Casper meet and decide to attack the Gypsy camp, to try and force them to move on. The leaders resolve to hold their ground and defend themselves.

In this western with a twist, McKee writes about a group other than African Americans or Native Americans about whom prejudice continues to exist in the 19th century. Tension builds throughout the story between the people of Casper and the Gypsies, until the final chapters when the townspeople must choose between the marshal’s investigation of the murder and following those who wish to destroy the camp. The steady unraveling of the plot is genuinely exciting.