ELMER KELTON has been recognized by the Western Writers of America as the best western author of them all, and he shows no signs of slowing down with SIX BITS A DAY (Forge). Set in the 1880’s, his latest novel visits the cowboying origins of Hewey Calloway, Kelton’s popular character played by Tommy Lee Jones in the made-for-TV movie The Good Old Boys. Hewey (the reckless one) and brother Walter (the practical one) abandon their East Texas homestead for adventures in the West; for all their trouble, they gain hard work and meager pay driving a herd from San Antonio to the Two Cs Ranch, on the Pecos River. Six Bits a Day is short on plot but long on color, like this description of a potential cowhand’s knowledge: “He knows where the feed goes in and where it comes out.” Has it ever been said better?