Give a Boy a Gun by Jack Olsen

Give a Boy a Gun: The True Story of Law and Disorder in the American WestGive a Boy a Gun: The True Story of Law and Disorder in the American West by Jack Olsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This remarkable book tells an astounding true story in riveting prose. Claude Dallas was a poacher and trapper in the I-O-N (Idaho, Oregon, Nevada) area who shot and killed two game wardens. He then fled and was a fugitive for years. The book describes how it happened, according to an eyewitness, according to Dallas, according to various people in the legal system, according to press reports, and according to many rumor-mongers and gossips. It is a prime example of how everyone believes whatever they want to believe. The outcome of the pursuit and what happened thereafter are artfully concealed until the very end. There are more twists and turns than in any John Grisham novel. I can tell you I was totally surprised twice in the final pages.

I’m surprised this book doesn’t have more reviews and ratings. It’s top-notch and told skillfully. I recommend that you do NOT look through the photographs in the middle until you’ve finished the book, because there is a spoiler there. The book spends quite a bit of time setting the stage and introducing the characters, so it’s not exciting right off the bat, although there are some heart-stopping moments. Stick with it and you won’t be able to put it down by the last third.

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