Seven souls risk everything to seek a home on the West Texas frontier. Will they discover a secret Eden, or have they embarked on a dangerous misadventure? Cowboys Luke Stuart and Tom Schurtz meet in the infamous Dodge City at the end of trail drives in 1877. Back in Texas, Luke and his wife, Elizabeth, divulge a plan to Tom. The Stuarts and Tom consequently partner up and venture out to establish an ideal ranch in the canyons region of the Llano Estacado, only recently (and not completely) vacated by the Comanche. They ...
Seven souls risk everything to seek a home on the West Texas frontier. Will they discover a secret Eden, or have they embarked on a dangerous misadventure? Cowboys Luke Stuart and Tom Schurtz meet in the infamous Dodge City at the end of trail drives in 1877. Back in Texas, Luke and his wife, Elizabeth, divulge a plan to Tom. The Stuarts and Tom consequently partner up and venture out to establish an ideal ranch in the canyons region of the Llano Estacado, only recently (and not completely) vacated by the Comanche. They seek the mysterious Canyon Escondido, which may not exist. They have learned of it from the family lore of neighbors and the legends of their peoples, Apache and Mexican. In hope, the pioneers drive their herd across rolling plains, through notorious settlements and the wanton buffalo slaughter. Various challenges test their determination along the path they have chosen, not least so when they finally face the success or failure of their quest and what must then follow.
Very good. A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged.
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Pete Ritzer's 15 word long title, 7OX7 for short, denotes Volume One of a projected series about pioneers of the Texas Panhandle. It begins in Dodge City, Kansas in July 1877, dips down towards San Antonio and Hondo, Texas and then moves up into a hidden ("Escondido") portion of the Staked Plains south of Palo Duro Canyon in the Panhandle. Its hero is Tom Schurtz, a religious. Hamlet-like cowboy who is often held from typical cowboy actions like revenge and hanging rustlers by his hyper-active Roman Catholic conscience.
There is much, very much, religion in 7OX7, genus Christian, species Catholic. If Tom had not left home at 16 to see the world, he would surely have gone to seminary and become a theologian or bishop. He never stops thinking to himself, sometimes for pages at a time about the Bible, Jesus, morals, providence and prayer.
Some of this religion talk is very good, notably a lengthy treatment of Christmas eve and day 1877. Three men and the wife and children of one of them are together in bitterly cold weather. After cutting and trimming a tree, they feast in a snug cabin built with their own hands and recall together the birth of Jesus. They are pioneers in Escondido Canyon. And some of the religious conversation is of a high level. Here is a sample:
"'It is amazing,' Tom ... said ... that God ... should entrust his only Son to man, in the form of a helpless infant ... places him in the hands of the most innocent girl in a world of sinful man. That is love. ... it would like handin' little Bob over to a young girl surrounded by a band of renegades, out of love for the renegades, except that God's love for his Son would be infinitely greater than ours, for little Bob. ... That is beyond comprehension.'" (p. 324f)
The novel is unabashedly didactic. Readers are primed on Texas geology, buffalo, Comanches, land grants, open ranges v. homesteading, Catholic theology and what makes villains tick. Much of this would have to be tossed out for a Reader's Digest edition of an attractive yarn well told. -OOO-
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