Miami Gundown: A Frontier Story (American Legends Collection)

Written by Michael Zimmer
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In 1864, eighteen-year-old Boone McCallister and about a half dozen other cow hunters are moving a herd of cattle from his ranch to the Gulf coast of Florida. His father expects him to collect money in gold coin for the delivery, with the cows eventually sold to a Cuban buyer. Along the way, he and his crew try to avoid Union patrols, along with a gang of cattle thieves. Raising longhorn cattle in Florida is a big business; his father is also on his way north with a large herd for the Confederate army.

This novel is Book Four in the author’s American Legends Collection. Stories in the Collection are excerpts from transcripts written years after the events occurred. Of course, these events are fictitious. This novel is set in Florida, which is not exactly a western locale. I never realized, before I read this novel, that cattle drives were located anywhere other than in the American West. His characters are clearly defined and realistic and the action is fast-paced. The novel is rich in historical detail, describing how Floridians coped during the Civil War. Prepare to be immersed in the story. Highly recommended.