“Sally, you’ve got a good brain, too.”

“Sally, you’ve got a good brain, too. Don’t let it go to seed. A brain is only as good as you give it to a chance to be, and just as important to a woman as to a man.” (pg. 55)

This particular book that I am quoting from is called The Mountain Valley War by Louis L’Amour, one of several books about Lance Kilkinney, also known as Trent.

Kilkinney is a good man who wants to settle down, build a place, marry, and have a quiet, happy, productive life in the West. The problem is that he is good with a gun and has a reputation of being a gunfighter. Not because he wanted it or chased it, but because he was blessed with steady nerves, the ability to hit a target, and because he is one of those people who trouble seems to come to, whether or not they want it. He tends to drift from place to place, quietly working and earning money, trying to avoid trouble. In this place, though, he has started a homestead high in the mountain valley and has settled into making something out of his place. He calls himself Trent. He has several other neighbors who all have the same desires he does – to build a satisfying life through their own industry and hard work,

Unfortunately, trouble comes in the form of a large rancher who lives lower down in the valley. He resents these “nesters” and decides he wants their land, whatever it takes. These men are strong and in the right and when his blustering threats don’t scare them off, he turns to hiring gunmen and using force. It is at this point the story opens, and we find Trent coming upon the burned house and dead body of his neighbor. The gunmen did not find the neighbor’s children who escaped to Trent’s home. He takes them under his wing and tries to teach them how to survive in the harsh realities of western life. Woven through out the story in great moments are little gems like these:

“Whenever a brave man dies for what he believes, he wins more than he loses. Maybe not for him, but for men like him who wish to live honestly and decently.”  (pg. 12)

“One could not yield to the lawless and the ruthless, or soon there would be no freedom. It was among men as it was nations.” (pg. 73)

“There are those who use a cause to cover their own lust for destruction and cruelty. He who uses terror as a weapon does it from his own demands for cruelty and not because it succeeds, because it never has.

The killing of a strong man only leaves a place for another strong man, so is an exercise in futility. There is no man so great but that another waits in the wings to fill his shoes, and the attention caused by such acts is never favorable.” (pg. 74)

My sister and I discussed what age it would be suitable for children. We thought that 11-12 would be appropriate.

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and I receive nothing in return for my opinion.

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