Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Branham’s Due by Richard Prosch, 2012

© www.richardprosch.com
In Branham’s Due, American writer Richard Prosch introduces the reader to Whit Branham, the bold and fearless deputy sheriff of Holt County, Nebraska, who sets out to bring in Johann Kramer, a notorious horse-thief and killer of Dakota Territory. The wanted man is holed up in old Iron Creek. Armed with his trusted shotgun, Branham approaches the “sod hovel” on foot and takes Kramer by surprise. The outlaw, a few years older than the lawman’s thirty-two, attempts a trick or two in a vain effort to overcome his captor. Branham helps Kramer get on his horse, Lubber, and the two men start back for O’Neill City.

As many western stories will tell you, bringing in a dangerous outlaw is never easy and Branham finds out the hard way when he is “ambushed” on the trail by “a big block of a woman” with a “big pumpkin face.” Her name is Darla and she is Kramer’s girlfriend. Years before, she and Whit grew up together. She was also his Sunday school teacher.


The twist in this 3,000-word story is in what happens next. Branham uses a ploy that could have cost him his life but he lives to take us on another adventure, in Holt County Law, a novella released in 2013.

Richard Prosch is not handicapped by the length of Branham’s Due. Within the confines of his short and crisp narrative, we are also told about the novelty of barbed wire fences and the lay of the land in Nebraska, where he was raised; Branham’s thoughtfulness in shielding Barney Kearns, his boss and Holt County sheriff, and setting out alone to hunt down the outlaw; and the pleasant conversation between old friends Branham and Darla in the middle of the ambush. These may seem like insignificant elements in the plot but they enrich the story and make it more interesting. Whit Branham is a strong protagonist even though his character begs adequate description. His is the sort of character that develops in your head as you read this fine western story.

I enjoyed Branham’s Due a lot and I’ll be reading Holt County Law soon. You can read more about Richard Prosch and his work at his website here.


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16 comments:

  1. I've read several of Richard's works that I've liked. a Bit of a different type of western. rich in character.

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    1. Charles, I agree with you. This is the only story by Richard Prosch I have read so far and I noticed the richness of character.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the link. I am no fan of American western stories and novels; however, you have persuaded me that Prosch deserves my attention.

    Here is one of the "by the way" questions: Have you ever seen the American west? Do you think your reading of such stories is influenced by American western films and TV shows? I am curious (and I hope I am not being offensive by asking) about the attraction of American western tales to people in other cultures and countries.

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    1. RTD, you're welcome. This was a good story.

      I'd be happy to respond to the second part of your comment. I have never seen the American west except through films and books. Western films, particularly, have influenced my reading of western fiction. But that came later. I started reading westerns after an uncle introduced me to the adventures of SUDDEN, the Texas outlaw, by British writer Oliver Strange who wrote his ten novels without once crossing the Atlantic. In many ways James Green alias Sudden, so known for his lightning draw, epitomised and glamourised the western cowboy for me. I like the various elements in a western, particularly the richly-drawn characters and the young cowboy on horseback; though, there are far too many elements to mention here. I enjoy reading stories set in and around ranches, native Indians, railroad, and mining towns.

      If I wasn't fond of reading in other genres, I'd have read only westerns.

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  3. Sounds like reading time well spent.

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  4. This author sounds very interesting, Prashant. I will try some of his stories.

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    1. Tracy, I have read just this one story by Richard Prosch but I can tell you that he won't disappoint you.

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  5. You make this sounds really great and I really do want to read more Westerns (modern or traditional) - thanks Prashant.

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    1. Sergio, you're welcome. I like reading traditional westerns, particularly those published at the turn of the last century.

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  6. Replies
    1. Patti, very few characters but great characterisation.

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  7. At 3,000 words, it's a short story. Somehow I expected a novel.

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    1. Richard, the cover gives the impression of a novel. I l look forward to reading Whit Branham's next adventure in the novella, HOLT COUNTY LAW.

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  8. I've enjoyed reading many a Rich Prosch tale and have had the pleasure to publish a few as well.

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    1. David, this definitely won't be my last story by the author. I'll look at the ones published by you.

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