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Deadwood Days begins in the Medicine Bow Mountains outside Laramie, Wyoming, circa 1885, moments after a shootout leaves a psychotic bounty hunter dead and an old mountain man named Toby Ryker wounded. Ryker and a companion, David Stewart, are joined by the sheriff from Laramie in a mountain hunting camp where the showdown occurs. The bounty hunter was trailing Ryker over a shooting in Deadwood and the sheriff was trailing the bounty hunter over a killing in Laramie. Prior to the shootout, Ryker, who suffers from heart failure, wills his rich gold mine in Deadwood to the Stewart family.
A year later, Ryker is a changed man, although he grouses about it all the way. Placed on a strict diet and exercise program by David Stewart?s strong-willed wife, Ida Mae, his health improves considerably. It concerns him, though, to be a wanted man in Deadwood. He would like to clear his name. The Stewart family, which includes sons Matthew and Pauly, daughter Laura, and now, ?adopted? grandfather Ryker, decide to sell the ranch outside of Laramie and relocate to Deadwood where David and Matthew will take over the operation of the gold mine and Ida Mae will offer a home school to Deadwood?s young. En route to Deadwood and after their arrival in the bustling gold camp, the Stewart family has many adventures. Several characters of the era, both historical and fictitious, adults, children, different ethnic groups and religions, are introduced and highlighted. Issues including holdups, robberies, shootouts, alcoholism, the touchy issue of capital punishment and hangings, and the devastating effects of the plague are explored. All these issues are seen through the eyes of Ryker and the various members of the Stewart family as the reader observes their daily family life and interactions with others. Son Matthew marries and becomes a father, thus beginning another generation of the Stewart family. At the conclusion of the novel, Ryker dies a peaceful death, having cleared his name with the law and accomplished his goal of putting everything in his life in order. Deadwood Days blends humor and pathos with rich characterization of the people who live the story. As such, it is a novel suitable for family reading and entertainment.
A positive word from a master Western storyteller! "Steven Ulmen is a new Western writer with promise. DEADWOOD DAYS shows he is on the right track"-Elmer Kelton- author of 40 western novels and multiple winner of the Spur Award and the Western Heritage Award. Voted the Best All-Time Western Author by the Western Writers of America.
The third book in the Toby Ryker Trilogy by Steven Merrill Ulmen, "Deadwood Days" finds that Ryker and the David Stewart family have sold their ranch in Wyoming and relocated to Deadwood in the still wild Dakota Territory where they take over the Potato Creek Mine. Now an old man with a bad heart, Ryker has a warrant against him for shooting the man who killed his wife and child those many years ago. A wrong against his name and honor (and liberty) that must be set right. No easy task but one that he is determined to carry before his days end. "Deadwood Days" is a superbly crafted work of western fiction that pays meticulous attention to historical detail. The result is a wicked good read from beginning to end. Also very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library western fiction collections are Steven Ulmen's two previous Ryker novels: "Toby Ryker" and "Blood on the Prairie - A Novel of the Sioux Uprising".-Midwest Book Review
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