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Book Review: Corral Dust from Across the Big Divide: More Ghost Writings of Charles M. Russell by Richard Bird Baker

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Oh, what fun the Wild West must have been in the time of Charlie M. Russell. The way he tells these stories makes any lover of the Old West wish he were there. Compiled and brought to the reader in the true spirit of that era, with its cowboy slang and some poor grammar mixed in, the tales of Corral Dust from Across the Big Divide keep you reading. Humor abounds with stories like “Ben Wilkins Fighting Rooster.” This rooster gets retired from fighting but doesn’t know it and acts like a guard dog. It’s funny to read how the cowboys chase him around the barn and how he makes fools of them.

In another one of the yarns, the narrator explains the existence of Bear Butte (a plateau) and how it grew from a small mound to what it is now. He tells of an Indian girl who married a young Indian Brave and how the legend of Maheo came true for the young squaw. When she prayed for help from Maheo, she was saved from death because the mound she stood on suddenly turned into a plateau. The story is really much more interesting than just the highlights I mentioned but that is enough to whet an appetite.

I was not a real fan of Western lore but this book changed all that and showed me that the tales told by grizzly old cowboys can be very compelling and keep you entertained for hours. I enjoyed the many stories in Corral Dust from Across the Big Divide and gave it an A on my grading scale. It will appeal to all who enjoy the Wild West and cowboy tales. There was nothing offensive or what would be considered adult reading, so it will appeal to a general audience, young and old. It has everything one would want in a good book — adventure, mystery, humor, and a bit of history.

iUniverse (2011)
ISBN 9781450290579

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