Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Heller With a Gun, Louis L'Amour. SPOILER WARNING

Heller With a Gun, Louis L'Amour. I LOVED IT! I acquired it in a pile of books, read it and then gave it away, because I was in decluttering mood and figured reading it once was enough. Phooey that, had to have a saved search on Ebay for a year to find the same exact cover image at a total of $4, and finally did. My kids can declutter my books for me when I croak.

Anyway, this guy's your basic gunfighter character with no background, who watches a traveling theater company head away into trouble with some bad guys disguised as guides, and follows them to save them at the appropriate moment. The theater company includes a gracious antebellum Southern lady whom the gunfighter admires, and she's attracted to him yet with a kind of horror. Her long-time admirer, the theater company manager, can't compete with the animal magnetism going on around here, but he carries his part off as well as he can. They have a couple of showdowns with evildoers and the gentle lady's horrified each time at all the shooting and violence and general lack of manners. The gunfighter's afraid to be around her because he sees himself through her eyes, and at the end of the story, after saving everybody's bacon, he takes himself away quietly in a kind of shame. But there's a young showgirl in the company too, who was the daughter of a westerner, who had tried to help the gunfighter and the gentle lady's romance to work out, telling each good things about the other, sheltering and comforting the gentle lady and handing the gunfighter ammunition when he needed it. At the end, she notices the gunfighter's ridden away, and that the gentle lady and the theater manager are relieved to be at a restaurant in a civilized town again and are sitting down to dinner, and she's like SOMEBODY gimme a horse! Cause she knows which way the gunfighter went :-)

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