In Ft. Smith, Arkansas, in 1876, young Everett Brook sees his father tried and hanged as a horse thief and murderer. Everett vows to prove his father’s innocence someday. He becomes a ranch hand, drifting to various places in Indian Territory, Kansas, and the surrounding states. He falls in love with a rancher’s daughter, but is forced to flee after shooting two brothers in a poker game brawl. Will he ever vindicate his father and return to his sweetheart?
The author seems to have written the book with the laudable intent of making local history interesting. But the action of the fictional Everett’s story comes to a grinding halt when Onley drops in local history anecdotes, using weak transitions. The scant descriptions of scenery are not enough to give the reader a sense of place. The author’s style is one-paced, using the same cadence whether a character is trapped for days in a blizzard or participating in a gunfight. And there is no depth to Everett’s character, let alone the minor characters. Only the most die-hard Western fans will forgive its many faults.