Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Sackett Brand - Louis L'Amour (Bantam - June 1965)

Series: Sacketts (Book 12)


Forty gunslingers from the Lazy A have got Tell Sackett cornered back under the Mogollon Rim. They're fixing to hang him if they can get him alive, fill him extra full of lead if they can't. But the Sacketts, they don't cotton to that kind of treatment. Hunt one Sackett and you hunt 'em all. They're coming in from all over--mountain Sacketts, flatland Sacketts, politicians, outlaws, cattlemen, bankers, tinkers. They can all fight, and their biggest worry is WE SHORE HOPE TELL DON'T KILL ALL FORTY AFORE WE GET THERE!

This is a story about the power of family.  Tell Sackett and his wife Ange were headed into Arizona to settle a ranch of their own.  While scouting ahead he was shot.  By the time he was able to make his way back to where he had left her, she and all their possessions had disappeared.  He soon discovered that he had forty men looking for him to kill him.  His motivation now is to stay alive long enough to find the man who killed Ange.  As is usual in a L'Amour book, the power of his descriptions is phenomenal.  As I read I could feel the heat and the cold and sense the anger just rolling off Tell.  I loved the details of his tracking and movement.  His thoughts of Ange and how much they had loved each other were heartbreaking.  He thought he was all alone in his fight, but was determined to make it count.  He didn't know that word of his trouble had spread and that Sacketts from all over were coming to help.  In speaking to one of the hunters Nolan Sackett said this:  "Mister, you're huntin' a Sackett, an' the one you're huntin' would, man to man, make you eat that six-gun you're packin'. Howsoever, when you hunt one Sackett, you just naturally make the rest of us feel the urge.  Now, I don't know if I'll make it up there in time to he'p, so I figured to trim the edges off, like.  You look maverick to me, so I figured to put the Sackett brand on you." 

The last paragraph said it all:  "We stopped in Globe and the lot of us lined up in O'Leary's place, all of us together, more Sacketts than I'd ever seen before...or anybody else, I guess.  Me, standing there amongst them, I looked around and I knew I was not alone, and I'd never be alone again."

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