THE BUNTLINE SPECIAL by Lou Cameron is a book recommended by James Reasoner HERE. If you haven’t read it, you should, as it gives some good background on Lou Cameron which I won’t repeat here.
Matt Taylor was a cowhand in pursuit of a crooked trail boss when he rode into Freewater. Grat Lewis had disappeared with all the pay his drovers had earned and Matt was just hardheaded enough to track him for his money. That’s all he wanted. HIS money.
He ends up taking Marshall Big Bill Burton’s offer of a deputy’s badge, if he wanted Lewis’ location he had to take it, and arrested the crooked boss. Lewis was killed by Burton attempting to “escape” with his Buntline Special and Matt finally agrees to keep the deputy job temporarily until the Marshall could get a suitable replacement.
He settles in as part of the community, stopping a bank holdup, killing two of the four outlaws who happened to be half of the Redford brothers and recovering the bank’s funds. Logic tells him the two that had gotten away were the other half. Burton lets him know they will surely come after him.
His legend grows as he gets involve in other dust-ups doing his job, backing Big Bill in one showdown with a trail herd crew. At the same time, he begins relationships, unknown to the clueless young deputy, with the two beautiful women, the town’s doctor and the teacher/librarian. As with most men, women are mysterious creatures he doesn’t understand.
The cattle business, in the mode of trail herds crossing the lands, is on the downswing with the railroads popping up everywhere and Matt discovers he’s good at law work and he gets used to the idea of continuing in the job.
As James points out, there’s nothing new here, but the journey was fun with interesting characters and brisk action. I quite enjoyed reading this one and will probably look for more by Cameron. I probably read some of his Longarms way back when as I tried the adult westerns when they first started, but didn’t really enjoy them. Other than that, I don’t think I’ve read any other of his works.
This one is worth a look for western fans.