Saturday Spotlight: The Kansan

The Kansan

Author: Richard Brister

Cover Art: ?

Originally Published: 1954

Edition Reviewed: Avon 606 (1954)

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Fairly common revenge-centric western story…but it is a well written one.  Richard Brister has a way of making stereotypical characters and situations come to more life than one should expect.  The breakneck pacing of the book makes it difficult to put down as set piece follows set piece with little room for the hero or reader to catch his breath.

Will Umberton rides in to the town of Piute and kicks up some dust by instantly rubbing Bob St. Jon the wrong way.  The people of Piute have put up with St. Jon and his gang of killers for long enough.  They just needed a little backbone and Umberton unwittingly provides it.  Instead of heeding advice and riding out of town, Umberton decides to stick around for a little while.  This decision stems from the presence of the beautiful and fiery Barbara Bixler.  Will Umberton is young, arrogant, and obstinate which leads to more than his share of bruises and wounds before he matures enough to be able to handle the ruthless St. Jon.

Everything plays out exactly as you expect it to and every character acts exactly as you expect them to, but it is the literary style of Brister that keeps the whole thing interesting.

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