Gun Man


Author: Loren D. Estleman

Title: Gun Man

Genre: Western/Historical Fiction

Publication Date: 1985

Number of Pages: 210

Geographical Setting: The Western American Frontier; especially Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado

Time Period: 1842-1880

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: When 12 year old Eugene Mortimer takes to the Western Frontier, he enters the world as a vulnerable young boy seeking an identity and a purpose. Eugene finds this through the power of an expert gunshot, embracing a new persona as John “Killer” Miller. As John Miller, the young protagonist becomes a notorious gunfighter and outlaw who roams the West lending his skills to serve both sides of justice. Estleman’s compelling novel exemplifies Western fiction characterized by vivid and detailed settings, realistic and powerful dialog, and plenty of violent action. Unlike many examples of Western fiction, however, Estleman’s work offers a thought-provoking and balanced examination of Western justice that is rooted in historical fact.

Subject Headings: Western (US), Outlaws, Gunfights, Lawmen, Pioneer and Frontier Life, Missouri Frontier, Men, Family-Relations, Alcholism, Poverty

Appeal: Compelling, Steady, Gritty, Nostalgic, Realistic, Engaging, Violent, Thought-provoking, Detailed setting, Historical details, Well-researched, Dialogue, Jargon, Accessible

Three Terms that Best Describe this Book: Detailed-setting, Gritty, Historical Details

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Leon Claire Metz, The Shooters (This work details the lives of the most notorious gunfighters of the American West. It adds a human element to these violent outlaws and lawmen, revealing the transformation of young men from innocent to dangerous)

Joseph G. Rosa, Wild Bill Hickok, Gunfighter (This biography is framed within the same setting and time  period as Gun Man. It is detailed, compelling, gritty, and violent. It revolves around lawmen, outlaws, and gunfights)

T.J. Stiles, Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War (Biography takes place from 1847-1882. Involves a robber, outlaw, and gunfighter. Employs historical detail, a strong sense of place, and a balanced viewpoint toward Western law)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Louis L’Amour, To Tame a Land (Novel revolves around gunfighter in the West, takes place in the 19th century, and is thought-provoking when dealing with the vague notion of justice in the West)

Johnny D. Boggs, Killstraight (This novels contains a detailed setting, historical details, and offers complexity to the Western genre. Like Gun Man, the novel presents a balanced approach toward discussing Western justice and relations between Whites and Indians)

Larry McMurty, The Wandering Hill (This novel offers a detailed-setting, a strong sense of place, and takes place in the same geographical setting. Its writing style appears gritty and descriptive. The novel is a coming-of-age story with a strong family dynamic)

Name: Dan Thorson


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: