Last Chance Cowboys: The Lawman

Written by Anna Schmidt
Review by Elise Cooper

The Lawman, second in the Last Chance Cowboys series, combines a western story with romance. The added bonus is the historical content. Although Schmidt occasionally takes historical liberties, readers are taken back in time during the western expansion of the Arizona territory, and their curiosity will be spurred to the point they will want to look up the facts.

The plot begins in the late 19th century, with Jesse Porterfield returning to frontier life.  Having fled after his father’s death, he is determined to find his father’s killer, win over the love of his life, Addie Wilcox, and prove his worth to the community by becoming the town’s sheriff.  He must also rescue Addie from the bully and corrupt rancher who wants vengeance against her for refusing his advances.

The story’s best part is the well-developed female characters. Long before the ERA, these frontier women show how they could take on roles normally reserved for men:  Addie becomes her father’s apprentice and wants to attend the Women’s Hospital Medical College in Chicago; Amanda, Jesse’s sister and Addie’s best friend, uses her beauty and brains to tame the fiercest cowboys; and Maria, his other sister, takes over the running of the family ranch after convincing several other small ranchers to band together in a cooperative arrangement.

The Lawman is a riveting, fast-paced story that blends the beauty of the land with the hardships faced by Arizonians – a perfect setting for this plot.  Readers are reminded of a time when technology barely existed, weather conditions created havoc, and doctors had to endure lousy working conditions.