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Kilrone (1966)

In “Kilrone” (1966) our hero is surrounded by hundreds of Bannock Indians who are attacking an Army outpost manned by just Kilrone and a handful of others. Besides fighting off the Indians and winning the girl, he also has to get away to warn a detachment of soldiers who are about to ride into the outpost unaware of the danger. Fortunately, the Bannocks supply the means for him to get away. I will let Louis take it from there, with his writing in Italics and my commentary in brackets:

Suddenly there was a yell, and he saw Reinhardt pointing. Down the parade ground was a mass of horses, at least two hundred of them, and with shrill yells and shots the Indians were starting them again, to repeat their charge of the previous day.

Dropping his rifle, he crouched by the window. Going through the gap there would be a time when the horses would jam up. He had taken many a flying mount, and this would not be hard . . . if he was not seen.

They came with a rush, and he threw himself from the window at a big bay. He caught the mane, mounted, and slide off to the side, only one leg across the horse’s back, Indian fashion.

[OK, we've got the picture. Kilrone has dropped his rifle and jumped on a horse’s back, "Indian fashion," by grabbing its mane. Cool! For the next few paragraphs, Kilrone rides away from the Army post, and all is well. But then trouble comes, and not in the form of renegade Indians or other Old West bad guys. No, the author is ambushed by his own hand.]

Presently he slowed his pace. He felt for his pistol, and found he still had it. The thong was in place and the Colt rested solidly in its holster. About his waist was a cartridge belt, another was thrown over one shoulder and under an arm.

[This is a surprise. Although L'Amour didn't tell us at the time, it turns out that Kilrone managed to take some gear with him as he threw himself, "Indian style," onto the horse’s back at the Army post. A pistol, a cartridge belt around his waist, and a spare cartridge belt over his shoulder - not a bad haul, though not something we heard about earlier. You may ask, "Why quibble?" Well, watch what happens a few pages later when Kilrone gets closer to the detachment of soldiers.]

The air was clear, so clear there seemed to be no distance, but only space in which nothing moved but the gentle wind. And there was no sound but the walking of his horse, the creak of his saddle [Wait a second – his saddle? Where did he get that?], the occasional jingle of his spurs [Hang on – Kilrone was fighting it out in an army barracks wearing spurs?].

Barney Kilrone drew rein in the small shade of a cluster of junipers, removed his hat . . . . [In the space of one sentence, L'Amour has added to new items to Kilrone's inventory; reins and a hat. The reins, I guess, came with the saddle. And as for the hat, well, maybe that’s a gimme – everyone needs a hat.]

Standing in his stirrups Kilrone looked along the slope . . . . [Looks like the saddle also came with stirrups, too!],

All right, all right. I know this is not Tolstoy, but come on, Louis. Keep it together. In the space of a few hours, riding alone, at speed, through country filled with hostile Indians, Kilrone has acquired a pistol, two cartridge belts, a saddle, spurs, reins, a hat, and stirrups.

Only Louis L’Amour could get away with it.

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Harry Walsh
Harry Walsh
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From a sort of cowboy Christmas tree? From a cache? From another, riderless but well equipped, horse? The West is a very mysterious place. Lots of loose stuff out there.

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