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U N B R O K E H O R S E S: A Review by Miles Swarthout, screenwriter, "THE SHOOTIST"
U N B R O K E H O R S E S a novel by D.B. Jackson
D.B. Jackson is a working cattle rancher in California and that expertise shows in the story details of his fine second Western. Set in 1864 just before the end of the Civil War,
this is a tough tale of two degenerate Confederate soldier brothers who quit a losing cause and then lay waste to an unspecified countryside as they ride away from war. Along their bloody trail they pick up a mute mulatto to join their rampage, until they wound the wrong farmer and soon after that kidnap a preacher’s son after they murder his dad.
The middle-aged farmer, J.D. Elder, and young Matthew Stanford prove the deranged trio’s undoing in several violent shootouts after a long chase. Most Western writers
would wrap their stories up after such an action climax, but author Jackson really wants to make UNBROKE HORSES a coming-of-age tale, how a fourteen-year-old country boy copes with depression before finally coming to terms with his sinful, violent revenge upon these Confederates and their black cohort.
Matthew eventually emerges from the bloodbath whole with the help of some friendly young cowboys teaching him how to work cattle and an older Indian who initiates this damaged kid into the mysteries of breaking colts. Jackson’s metaphor of breaking horses while civilizing a badly disturbed young man echoes that same theme with a broken teenaged girl in Nicholas Evans’ fine novel and Robert Redford’s movie from it, THE HORSE WHISPERER, a few years back.
The author’s writing style and short chapters make UNBROKE HORSES an easy read. But the violence and brutality of this harsh tale reminds one of Cormac McCarthy’s
wandering masterpiece, BLOOD MERIDIAN.
D.B. Jackson’s excellent second Western brands him as a coming talent in this classic old genre. UNBROKE HORSES shines with award-winning potential. I'd enjoy
this surefire movie, too.
—Miles Swarthout, Screenwriter of John Wayne’s last movie, "The Shootist" and author of the sequel to it, "The Last Shootist"
November 18, 2017
Novel #3. . .
Small Moving Parts" will be released May 2018 by Turner Publishing Company in Nashville in hardcover, paperback, eBook, and audio. See the video on the LINKS page.
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