Cashbox

Richard S. Wheeler, Author Forge $23.95 (381p) ISBN 978-0-312-85382-2
Veteran western novelist Wheeler ( Badlands ) offers an entertaining, if somewhat long and predictable ``biography'' of the fictional mining boomtown of Cashbox, Mont. New arrivals in the thriving silver city in 1888 are mining magnate Cornelius Daley and Sylvie Duvalier, an entrepreneur of a different stripe who has come to Cashbox to open a quality ``gentlemen's club.'' The two forge an unlikely alliance and their fortunes soar with those of the town. Soon, the hotly debated local issue is the coming of the railroad, the ever-increasing prosperity it allegedly will bring and how to hasten its arrival. But by 1893, falling silver prices and the demand for ``sound money'' backed by gold are destroying Cashbox's economy, and Con's fabulous Giltedge Mine is barely profitable. The following year, Cashbox is nothing but a decayed set of abandoned buildings, a ghost town dedicated to a failed dream. Con has departed, but Sylvie, refusing to acknowledge the town's passing, stays and comes to a bitter end. Inspired by the real-life stories of Baby Doe Tabor, wife to a Colorado silver king, and of the boom-to-bust town of Castle, Mont., this enjoyable tale gives a vivid picture of life in a still-young but already scarred American West. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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