The Hart Brand

Written by Johnny D. Boggs
Review by Sue Schrems

In the tradition of such notable writers as Owen Wister, Louis L’Amour, and Max Brand, author Johnny D. Boggs delivers yet another classic western. Set in New Mexico in 1896, The Hart Brand tells the story about a fourteen-year-old boy coming of age in the American West. It begins as Caleb Hart is sent by his father from their home in St. Louis to live with an uncle, Captain Frank Hart, on his larger-than-life ranch in the remote country of southwestern New Mexico. All the elements and drama of the American western genre unfold. From the very beginning, when Caleb arrives by train and is met by the Hart Ranch cowboys, the reader can see that the young man is going to learn valuable life lessons while working with more “seasoned” cowhands. Young Caleb learns how to “cowboy” and, more importantly, how to survive in the rugged western environment. Survival also involves joining forces with other ranches or “brands” to fight rustling thieves and murders. The rancher’s solutions to these problems often involve a type of justice not found in the East. Boggs writes a wonderful story using a style that is engaging and easy to read.