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Thursday 23 February 2012

FFB – The Outsider, Frank Roderus

Ex-buffalo soldier Leon Brown has saved money for fifteen years and now has a spread of his own. He’s about to see it for the first time, land and ranch just 15 miles outside Kazumal, Arizona. But he’s in for a shock. Some of the promises made in the realtor’s sales pitch are full of air, it seems. Still, Leon’s just pleased to have a place he can call his own. Without a horse, without his bride-to-be, he’s all alone. But he’ll make good. If only he can combat the prejudice, the beatings, and the rustlers, and the thieves, and the Apaches…

Published in 1988, this is my reprint copy of 1995. It’s a moral and simple well told tale about a man’s self-belief. Leon won’t give up, he won’t rile easily, and he will do the right thing, no matter what the cost. The characters are believable, both good and bad, and sing of the human condition.

I came away from this book feeling that I knew Leon – and to a lesser yet as important degree, the half-Apache, half-Mexican Manuela, the popish priest Felipe and the neighbourly Jud Ramsey. I can believe that the west was built by people like these, one day at a time. It’s moving and amusing and just plain satisfying.