By Troy D. Smith
A Western Trail Blazer Dime Novel
GOLD... Seeking a fortune from a pile of rocks or out of a streambed. Men from all walks of life are digging and panning for gold in the West and the Blackwell brothers are no different. But along with gold mining comes rough towns like Grizzly Gulch, fighting the elements, and those pesky claim jumpers. Raised tough in the hills of Tennessee, are the Blackwell brothers up to the challenges of prospecting?
This is a short story of around 5,000 words that features the Blackwell brothers who also appear in four other similar length tales too. I haven’t read the others and am not sure where this one fits in with them, but my enjoyment of this wasn’t hindered in any way by not having read about them before.
Troy D. Smith has planned this story well, introduces the reader to the brothers and other characters that will play major roles in this tale of panning for gold and claim jumping. Descriptions and dialogue are well handled and the situation the brothers find themselves in is believable. The story is expertly paced building to its final fight that resolves the problems the brothers are having with a group of ex-soldiers (deserters) who are working the opposite side of the river to where they have their claim.
As I said, this is a short story so therefore is a quick read. I found it entertaining and a good introduction to Troy D. Smith’s writing and it left me eager to try some of his full-length novels.