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Six Bits a Day

By November 2005Comments

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?

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