“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” -Benjamin Franklin
Author Patricia Stinson’s novel ‘Range War Legacy’ is set in early 1900’s American West. A story of history and fiction, it retells a bloody war fought between cattle ranchers and sheep owners over control of open range. The trend of lies, corruption and murder by a few cattle ranchers found an ally in the government with crooked judges and sheriffs too being a part of such debauchery. Molly was a little girl when she witnessed a bloody massacre of sheep herders and their sheep by people she knew well. To protect her family she swore to never reveal the identity of the killers. While Molly struggled with the truth, fate revealed its own justice system to balance out the injustices done.
Range War Legacy has an extraordinary story played out by a wide array of colorful characters. It’s punctuated with several dramatic scenes that will stay with you long after you’ve done reading the book. The first chapter itself sets the right mood as a mix of awe and intrigue welcomes readers into its midst. The author doesn’t waste time going into the intimate details of 19th century life and instead paints a broader sense of the place and the time. She captures the lives of ordinary citizens caught up in the early 19th century struggles and who are unwittingly thrown into an economic conflict with their neighbors. She shows just how easy it is for good guys to turn bad and how individual perceptions can influence this classification.
From the beginning itself the reader is thrust into the lives of Molly and her family and it’s difficult to disengage yourself from them. Paul Langster, Molly’s father is shown as an honest man trying to do the right thing even in the midst of a social uprising. The character of Molly is a role model for women empowerment and independent thinking. Her marriage to Aaron and her life choices are testament to this fact. And the growth of her character over the years has also been explored nicely.
There is an underlying feel of tragic overtones to the entire story. The editing is spot on and there is consistency in the mood and pacing of the story. The dialogues between the characters too deserve a mention here. Be it amongst children or between adults, there is a clear distinction made by the use of right flavors and dimensions. For readers there is the added bonus of getting to know a part of U.S. history that is perhaps not that well known. It may be a fictionalized version but there is enough in there to invoke interest to find out more about the period and what transpired in these range wars.
This is a novel that starts with a bang and ends with a bang. I would definitely recommend this to other readers.
Print Length: 156 pages
Publisher: Booklocker.com, Inc. (May 2, 2014)