Henry Plummer: A Novel
Frank Bird Linderman was a best selling author at the turn of the last century. However, in the 1920s, publishers declined to publish this book. They felt that in trying to combine the reality of Plummer’s life with fiction, Linderman had produced an uncharacteristically weak book. For the current reader, though, who wants a real — and I do mean real — slice of life as it was lived in the mining towns of the West, this book will prove a fascinating read.
Plummer was a handsome but totally immoral man. He inspired enough confidence in a community to be made sheriff, while at the same time secretly leading a notorious gang of thieves. He was, until he met his wife, a cad concerning women. One of the saddest portrayals in the book is that of Catherine, the young woman who “passes” as his wife and is left unceremoniously, and without regret, by Plummer when he flees the vigilantes.
Linderman has incorporated as much authentic action and dialog concerning Plummer’s career as he was able. In doing so he has written a rather chilling tale about the rigors of life in the Old West. While the workings of the outlaw gang were horrible, the vigilantes’ activities were so swift and comprehensive that I could not help but wonder how many innocent folk might have died as a result. This book, which effectively combines history and fiction, will appeal to readers who want to know the truth about the West as remembered by those who lived it.