ReadersMagnet Review takes a closer look at Thomas “Jerry” Delaney’s Bannack: A Growing Up Story In The Vigilante West.

Western fiction or American West literature is a genre of fiction and non-fiction that features narratives of the “Old West” frontier, covering the period between 1860 and 1900. The setting or location characterizes the said genre. Novels and stories are set in Kentucky, Ohio, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, and Alaska. The region is known for its majestic mountains, harsh winters, and vast landscapes, and wilderness. Many of the genre’s storylines involve the harsh but beautiful environment, the exploits of legendary heroes and outlaws, and the life of everyday people of the Western frontier during these times. Most characters include cowboys, sheriffs, ranchers, outlaws, and frontiersmen. Today, ReadersMagnet Review will feature a recently published Western novel entitled Bannack: A Growing Up Story In The Vigilante West by Jerry Delaney.

Of Legendary Outlaws and Western Vigilantism

Thomas “Jerry” Delaney’s Bannack: A Growing Up Story In The Vigilante West is an extraordinary historical drama set in Montana during the Civil War years. It is a coming-of-age Western fiction that tells the legendary journey of Billy Mayfair, a sixteen-year-old whose life reflects the harsh realities of the Western frontier during the time. The title is derived from the infamous ghost town in n Beaverhead County, MontanaBannack is known for its goldfields and history of violence. Through the story of Mayfair, Delaney takes the readers back to the time when Bannack was still Montana’s first territorial capital and the site of gold bloom.

Kicked out of his home in Illinois by his own father, Billy Mayfair sets on a life of adventure with hopes of finding good fortune in gold. He struggles to get a decent job until the war brought him an opportunity. He landed a job in a Union hospital during the height of the Civil War. He then traveled north to Fort Benton and eventually settled in the town of Bannack. The story mostly takes place in the said town. The remote settlement becomes Mayfair’s home, and here he meets a lot of people, including the sheriff, which will have a significant impact on his life story.

“While in St. Louis, he loses his money and virginity, gets in a fight, and lands in jail. But he manages to save enough working in a Union hospital caring for Civil War causalities to book passage on a streamer headed 2,000 miles north of Fort Benton. Panning for gold and living in the wild hard-drinking town of Bannack, he becomes a friend of the sheriff, who will become known in the official record as the most notorious outlaw in Montana history: twenty-one men are hanged in less than a month’s time.

What makes this story unique is that it gives voice to the victims as well as the victors of this actual event.” (excerpt from book description)

Overall, Jerry Delaney’s Bannack is a well-research and well-paced Western fiction with all the complete recipes of a superb Western novel- drama, adventure, politics, action, and picturesque landscapes. For fans of Western cowboy narratives and American history. Bannack: A Growing Up Story In The Vigilante West will prove to be an outstanding novel you would want to read more than once.

About the Thomas Delaney

Thomas “Jerry” Delaney was born in Omaha, Nebraska. Jerry grew up in Polson, northwest Montana. He attended Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington. Jerry also served as the Director of Public Affairs at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City. He is an adjunct professor of writing at City College of New York. As a freelance writer, Jerry took on multiple writing projects, including editing a national health magazine. He worked on a play based on a book by Albert Camus presented in Santa Fe, NM. Thomas “Jerry” Delaney wrote essays on contemporary political topics. He lives in Santa Fe with his partner, Deon Hilger.