Reading the West 3-19-11 | TheFencePost.com

Reading the West 3-19-11

Candy Moulton
Encampment, Wyo.

Anyone who is familiar with Wyoming history will recognize the underlying details and basic plot of John Nesbitt’s newest book, “Not a Rustler.” The three-time winner of the Western Writers of America Spur Award, has turned to the history of range wars for his story, which involves a range detective, prominent cattlemen, day-working cowboys, and small ranchers.

The book opens with a killing of one of the smaller ranchers and quickly the story centers around Spencer Prescott who finds himself right in the middle of the conflict even though he tries to steer clear of trouble and just do his job. He’s friendly with the small ranchers, but works for a big cattle outfit, and had even branded a few maverick calves during the prior winter.

Not long after the death of George Farrow, Spencer and other cowboys come upon the body of Collins Wingate, a friend to Spencer. This rancher had tried to organize other small operators to resist the efforts by big cattlemen to drive them from the range.

As he weaves this story, which becomes a murder mystery, Nesbitt gives you a full doze of cowboying in late 19th century Wyoming where men sided with each other for their own protection, engaged in fistfights, gunfights, and a lot of hard work. Nesbitt paints vivid word pictures of the ranches, the range, the men themselves. And he tells a story that will keep you turning the pages of this traditional Western.

Anyone who is familiar with Wyoming history will recognize the underlying details and basic plot of John Nesbitt’s newest book, “Not a Rustler.” The three-time winner of the Western Writers of America Spur Award, has turned to the history of range wars for his story, which involves a range detective, prominent cattlemen, day-working cowboys, and small ranchers.

The book opens with a killing of one of the smaller ranchers and quickly the story centers around Spencer Prescott who finds himself right in the middle of the conflict even though he tries to steer clear of trouble and just do his job. He’s friendly with the small ranchers, but works for a big cattle outfit, and had even branded a few maverick calves during the prior winter.

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Not long after the death of George Farrow, Spencer and other cowboys come upon the body of Collins Wingate, a friend to Spencer. This rancher had tried to organize other small operators to resist the efforts by big cattlemen to drive them from the range.

As he weaves this story, which becomes a murder mystery, Nesbitt gives you a full doze of cowboying in late 19th century Wyoming where men sided with each other for their own protection, engaged in fistfights, gunfights, and a lot of hard work. Nesbitt paints vivid word pictures of the ranches, the range, the men themselves. And he tells a story that will keep you turning the pages of this traditional Western.