Under the Sweetwater Rim by Louis L'Amour
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Set in 1863 Wyoming, this 1971 L'Amour western begins with the aftermath of a wagon train massacre. Although the point of view is omniscient and shifts around frequently, it mostly sticks with Tenadore Brian, ex-mercenary, but now a Lieutenant in the Cavalry. The renegades are led by Reuben Kelsey, a mad-skilled villain. Complications abound. Brian and Kelsey knew each other as boys when they survived a wagon train massacre together. One of the women in the wagon train is the daughter of the Cavalry Major tracking down the renegades. There's missing US Military payroll, in gold. With the stakes set sufficiently high, L'Amour launches into a chase and escape driven plot as Kelsey's renegades pursue a wagon, led by Brian, that escaped with the gold and the Major's daughter. Pretty much non-stop action and gun battles for 150 pages to the end, with occasional character analysis in service of the cat and mouse plot, as each character is trying to figure out what the other will do. I'd place this in the upper tier of L'Amour's books.
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