The second volume of dramatizations of Louis L’Amour’s Chick Bowdrie stories features six stories featuring L’Amour’s fast-shooting Texas Ranger. The stories are all as strong as in the previous collection. In addition to being Westerns, most are also mysteries as Bowdrie rides into town and has to solve a murder or theft, often as the only legitimate law for hundreds of miles around. The mysteries are bad. If you know L’Amour stories, you often have a very early idea who the guilty party will be.
My favorite story in this collection is the one that isn’t a mystery. “South of Deadwood” found Bowdrie charged with delivering a desperado back to Texas for trial where he faces hanging. A woman insists the criminal can tell the truth that can clear her brother and save him from the gallows. Bowdrie is inclined to believe her, but the criminal refuses to cooperate as he has no motive to do the right thing. At the same time, Bowdrie is being stalked by the criminal’s old gang. As they travel, Bowdrie and the criminal practically become friends or as much of friends as they could be. It’s really properly a complex plot for a short story that works with great characters and a few surprises.
The dramas are all well-acted and fairly well scored. On top of the audio dramas, some of the shorter dramas are proceeded with a few clips from L’Amour himself, sharing his keen insights into the life and times of the old West. Overall, this is a delightful collection of well-written audio dramas by one of the masters of the Western genre and definitely worth a listen.
Rating: 4.25 out of 5
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