Roy Bean’s Gold

Written by W. R. Garwood
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

Before Roy Bean became the famous hanging judge, he had a passion for finding gold. This novel, set in California in the 1850s, tells the story of a young man that befriended a robber who knew of the existence of a hidden payroll stolen from the U.S. Army in California. When the outlaw is killed by Comanches, he leaves behind some of the stolen coins, a map and a mysterious person’s name. Roy continues his trip to California, trying to discover the existence of the gold cache and dreaming of becoming rich.

This is a well-written Western novel with a surprise ending. Interesting characters are interwoven into this tale, such as a missing young girl who disappears from an attack on a wagon train, Spanish settlers who have to deal with American gold-hunters, a Mexican bandit who eludes capture, and Roy’s brother Joshua, the local mayor of a small town. Mr. Garwood was able to provide this reader with an interesting mystery of lost treasure and the search for its existence while presenting a unique perspective of life in California during the 1850s, where the land’s Mexican heritage conflicted with American settlers and their attempts to rule the territory. Highly recommended to those who enjoy Westerns.