Wade returns to the Wild West from his youthful impulse to be a sailor to find his only surviving kin, his sister, mentally broken and surviving a living death in Carson City. The person responsible is said to be one Pat L. Wade vows to avenge his family and sets out to hunt down this man.
Pat L. meanwhile has just completed finishing school and is moving out west to meet her father on his ranch.
A classic story of range war, misunderstanding, and adventure plays out against the back drop of the Wild West.
This is a fine example of a good old fashioned Pulp Western in the tradition of Manning, Gruber, and Short. There is adventure, action, gunfights, and romance. Good clean fun would be the best tagline. In “To Swallow the Earth” Karl Beckstrand and Ransom Wilcox revitalize an old American tradition. You get attached to the main characters and cannot put the book down until you know what happens to them. This is pulp fiction, the plot is clearly formulaic and there are few true surprises or plot twists. The ones that do catch the reader off guard are amusing and logical though. Also the voices of the characters do sometime sound a bit jarringly of the twenty-first century rather than the nineteenth they are set in.
Overall it was a fun romp and a nice taste of a very American literary tradition.