A Ralph Compton novel by Jory Sherman
Signet, April 2014
Chip Chippendale met Ransom Barnes after the War Between the States, when the two cowboys drove a herd up from Texas together. But when Chip first laid eyes on Wyoming, he knew he was home, and the two friends split off on different trails.
Each man now has his ranch, but when Ransom’s home is attacked and burned by a marauding band of Cheyenne warriors, he is faced with ruin – and makes matters worse by gunning down the Cheyenne leader’s son. A target of the most vicious renegade on the high plains, Ransom turns to his old friend Chip. And Chip never forgets his friends – even if it means making a few enemies.
The above blurb is taken from the back cover and I have to wonder whether whoever wrote it actually read the book, for it doesn’t resemble to story within. To start with the blurb implies that Chip plays a large part in the tale, this isn’t true, he only appears in the last fifty or so pages. Ransom Barnes? There isn’t anyone with this name. The man who loses his home to the Cheyenne is called Reese Balleen and it’s his trail drive to sell his cattle to Chip that is the main storyline.
Having said all that The Cheyenne Trail is a very entertaining read. It’s a long time since I’ve read a cowboy verses Indian story. Throw in bad weather and a group of rustlers and in Jory Sherman’s expert hands you have a well told traditional western that contains very little bad language and no sex. There’s plenty of action and towards the end we find Chip has his own problems to deal with.
Jory Sherman mainly tells his story through Reese but does switch to other characters every now and again, such as the three Cheyenne warriors who are shadowing the herd looking for a chance to steal some cattle to feed themselves and their small band of fellow Indians who are dying of starvation.
The lively, and often humorous banter between the cowboys balances the hardships of the trail and the pain of death. The determination to get the job done comes across strongly and you’ll soon find yourself urging the cowboys onwards to success.
Do they lose the herd to the Cheyenne or rustlers? Do they reach Chip’s ranch and does Chip win his own battles? I guess you’ll just have to read the book yourself to find out and hopefully you’ll find it as enjoyable as I did.