What Law There Was

Al Dempsey, Author Tor Books $17.95 (264p) ISBN 978-0-312-85113-2
Unmitigated greed threatens to destroy a frontier town in this better-than-average western. Once a ramshackle gold camp, Bannack, Mont., grows rapidly in the early 1860s as miners gather gold dust and residents establish solid businesses. But roguish ex-con Henry Plummer, hearing of the town's prosperity, senses an opportunity to make his fortune in easier, less legal ways. He hooks up with Cyrus Skinner, purveyor of watered whiskey and sporting girls at the Elk Horn Saloon. In ornate epistles to his God-fearing fiancee , Electaok Bryan, Plummer lies about investments in real estate. He murders a man he thinks has learned about his sordid past, and brings Electa to Bannack, only to see his hopes for his fortune vanish when prospectors discover a mother lode elsewhere. Furious, he heads for the gold, manages to get appointed sheriff and, with the help of Skinner, masterminds a scheme to steal shipments of the precious ore. When the death toll mounts, a secret group enlists terrified residents for a showdown. Dempsey ( Copper ) blends fact with strong dialogue and characterizations to bring history to life. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 10 pages - 978-0-8125-8184-3
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