The Last Running: A Story

John Graves, Author, John Groth, Illustrator Lyons Press $16.95 (64p) ISBN 978-1-55821-061-5
Two old-timers lock horns in this lean, affecting short story set in 1923 and permeated with nostalgia for the Old West. One is gruff, tobacco-chewing Tom Bird, a Texas rancher; the other a sullen Comanche ex-war-chief named Starlight. Years earlier, they squared off in near-fatal combat. Now, Starlight and his party of eight Comanche men, on a stopover from Oklahoma, demand that Bird donate his largest bull, Shakespeare, for sacrifice. The almost ritualistic slaying is a botched, bloody mess. What is unspoken between the two protagonists--mutual respect, a nascent fraternal bond--is at least as important as what is made explicit. Graves ( From a Limestone Ledge ) has written a suggestive parable that looks back to a time when the prairies were not lacerated by wire fences. Groth's wiry, kinetic line drawings underscore the clash between two cultures, two destinies. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
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