Longhorns East

Written by Johnny D. Boggs
Review by Brodie Curtis

Tom Candy Ponting was a little-known 19th century cattleman who led an improbable 2,100-mile-long cattle drive. This fictionalized account presents an epic story spanning from Tom’s early education in the cattle business in his native England to his tenacious and dangerous drive of 700 longhorns from Texas to New York City from 1853 to 1854.

Tom is portrayed as a principled and courageous man who does not carry firearms, abstains from alcohol, saves horses from a burning barn, tends to a persecuted family suffering from smallpox, and is glad he lives “in a state without men and women in bondage.” Once he arrives in Texas and assembles his crew of mostly rogues and ruffians, Tom’s story moves with a page-turning tempo as he and his cowboys proceed to face perilous river crossings, thieves, rail disaster, and more on the trail to New York. A good amount of historical detail from the places Tom encounters along the way is fused deftly into the narrative. Another treat for fans of the Western novel from award-winning author Johnny D. Boggs.