Western Genre is True America
Folks might ask, what’s such a big deal about another western? In an age where we’re told that America is unexceptional, patriotism is down, church attendance has dropped precipitously, and young marrieds are afraid to raise families, the western genre is a very big deal.
Edgy adventure, tough hombres, and romance set at the close of the War Between the States on the historical Texas frontier of 1864 blaze from the pages of Nueces Truth: Texans Face War’s Realities. It’s more than classic western fare. The characters and the story are fictional, but their personifications existed even as I’ve worked in actual historical figures of the time. Real events are juxtaposed against a backdrop of rugged but wildly beautiful landscapes. War had swept the nation! Most of Texas’ best men joined the fight, leaving the Texas frontier vulnerable to desperadoes, bandits, and hostile Indians. Luke Dunn’s life is caught up with law and order on the rough and tumble and increasingly war-ravaged prairies of the Nueces Strip while struggling with fundamental moral conflicts and his obligations to wife and family. This reveals an inherent contradiction in terms associated with western genre, not the least of which is its malleability as it’s transitioned from gun fights and good versus evil to more complicated stories. Mingled with the aromas of gunsmoke, leather, trail dust, and bluebonnets are riptides of the forging a life in a rough and tumble world. Plus, western authors are obligated to deliver rapid-fire pacing of action and plot as increasingly demanded by readers in an immediate gratification culture. This adaptation brands western genre as the very backbone of truly American literature, enabling it to endure since its gestation in the early 1800s. It defies credulity that western genre grabs little more than seven percent of readers of fiction. Authors and publishers are left to wonder at what the marketplace is afraid of? Those who blithely toss out. “Oh, I don’t read westerns,” ought to think again, as the genre is ever-inspired to reinvent itself. As to Luke Dunn in Nueces Truth: Texans Face War’s Realities, well, I’ve striven to deliver a character for whom a broader readership might seek. As is traditional with western genre, just about anywhere he rides, death could be reaching for his reins. But Dunn is more complicated. Comanche call him Ghost-Who-Rides, his and young Elisa’s ardor knows no bounds, rogue soldiers pose clear and present dangers, a not-so-civil war rages on, issues of man’s inhumanity to man must be dealt with, savages fight back against their certain demise, and everything converges at Heaven’s Gate Ranch in little Nuecestown, Texas. With Nueces Truth: Texans Face War’s Realities, I invite you to celebrate American exceptionalism, renew your patriotic vibe, rekindle your faith, and rebuild an optimistic view of your future.