My third western, A Score to Settle, was recently released by The Wild Rose Press. It’s set in 1870 New Mexico Territory and unfolds on the notorious Goodnight-Loving cattle trail. My first two western mysteries, The Reckoning, and The Renewal, are set about the same timeframe in Colorado.
Are westerns coming back? Seems like it. Why? Probably because the Old West embodied timeless values—a place and time where right triumphs over wrong. Not always, certainly, but in my stories it does. The American West in the late nineteenth century was a black and white society with clear-cut rules—there were things you were supposed to do as well as things you weren’t. And if you did wrong, there were consequences, oftentimes immediate, many times violent.
If you’re getting the idea I like that kind of culture, you’re right.
The world we live in today sometimes baffles me. Everything seems to be different shades of gray. Honor and fidelity seem to be out of fashion.
The good news is these standards haven’t vanished from today’s America, but more often than not they have been marginalized. Popular culture tends to look down on the values of nineteenth century America. Imagine a world where a man’s word, and a woman’s, was their bond. Where handshakes took the place of fifty-page contracts.
So, yes, occasionally I yearn for those simpler times amid the hustle and bustle of our world. Sometimes, my main characters’ world looks pretty appealing. Especially right now.
At the end of the day, westerns remind us of our solid roots and what we were and could become again. That’s why the American western will never die.
One person who comments will win a digital copy of A Score to Settle!