Rogue River – Book Review by Old West Stories
Rogue River was written by Kerry Newcombe and released in 1987.
Set in Montana near the Marias River, the location of the historical Fort Conrad, it traces the complicated story of Cole Anthem and his unlikely style of heroism. If you have read other stories by this writer you may be aware that he has penned quite a few Old West Stories that includes a series under the banner of “The Texas Anthem”
These books chronicle the life and times of the Anthem family in Texas and in this work of one the sons, Cole Anthem, has become a bounty hunter.
The district of Conrad is so strongly associated with many famous Old West Stories and The Old West and the Conrad High School carries this logo today.
After fellow bounty hunter Glory Doolin is gunned down by the subject of her bounty hunting efforts, she calls in Cole Anthem to help deal with Sam Dollard. Sam sets off on his mission but hits a hurdle when he finds that Sam Dollard is working with the Army and has effectively enlisted their protection for as long as he keeps his job as a Scout.
The story weaves together the path of several disparate characters that come together in unexpected ways as they head for an encounter with a group of the Cheyenne Red Shield warriors. The group, including sworn enemies, would need to work together to stay alive. The group included:-
- Ben Wheatley – An educated black man with a command of Shakespeare but no knowledge of how to stay alive in a wild country;
- Cole Anthem – The Bounty Hunter with gun handling skills better than the legend of Billy the Kid or Wyatt Earp who knew how to survive under the most savage and dangerous of circumstances;
- Danny McKane – An ageing Irish Army Sergeant;
- Jay Lee Hammond – Over weight and slow but with a valuable intelligence and thoughtfulness under pressure but a mand who played his part in his father’s death and is not to be trusted;
- Sam Dollard – The Criminal and woman killer; and
- Zack Hammond – The brother of Jake Lee Dollard, a wiry and athletic figure that is less trustworthy the Butch Cassidy cannot be trusted and his killed his own father to claim his gold and his wife.
An Old West Stories Encounter
Cole heads toward an dangerous encounter with the Cheyenne Chief Medicine Bear and his Red Shield Warriors. At one moment in history, the real Medicine Bear was certainly heading toward a meeting with Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse and the Cheyenne prepared to join with the Sioux to expel General Custer and his troops from their land. Click on the picture to learn why this Medicine Bear is not the one in this book.
Bringing a degree of historical accuracy into a tale of the old west is always a major plus for me and added to my enjoyment of the overall story. The location and the weaving of Indian movement toward the Little Big Horn set the time frame nicely. The portrayal of the Indians may not be very accurate in this story but is probably an accurate portrayal of how white society viewed the Indian “menace” in the 1880’s.
A good read, firmly set in the tradition of Old West Stories.