Friday, June 5, 2009

Western Paperbacks: Walk Proud, Stand Tall by Johnny D. Boggs

Leisure Books; Reprint edition (October 30, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0843959010
ISBN-13: 978-0843959017
I hate to admit it, but even though I have been reading Westerns for YEARS, I have only been familiar with the work of Johnny D. Boggs for a short time. The first work of his that I had the pleasure of reading was his short "The Cody War" which appreared in the Lost Trails anthology (Pinnacle, 2007). To date, "The Cody War" is the finest short western story that I've ever read, so needless to say, my expectations for the next thing I read by Boggs was very high. The man does disappoint either.
"Walk Proud, Stand Tall" follows the story of Lin Garrett, a retired 70 year old Arizona lawman who in 1913, is a man from another time who spends his days in an old folks home brooding on his past and remembering the man that he once was and kicking himself over his past mistakes. Garrett is joined by his old deputy Randolph Corbett who tries his best to keep things lively by entertaining the hospital staff with stories from their youth.
Meanwhile, Ollie Sinclair, another old timer and a former nemesis of Garrett's is released from prison and in defiance of his own age, forms a new gang and robs a nearby train to have one last hurrah.
Amidst the bumbling of younger men, Garrett and Corbett soon saddle up and have one last ride in an effort to track Sinclair down.
"Walk Proud, Stand Tall" is reminescent of some of Elmer Kelton's better novels. Boggs' characters will always have a place in your memory and as a writer, he stands shoulder to shoulder with any one else out there.

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