Spur Award Winner Deals Another Winning Hand

Set in New Mexico in 1898, at the time of the Spanish-American War, this story by three-time Spur Award winner Johnny D. Boggs serves up the stuff Hollywood westerns are made of. On his website Mr. Boggs admits to being under the influence of his favorite western movie directors, Budd Boetticher and Anthony Mann. Fortunate for us though, is the fact that Boggs “can’t write just a traditional western.” Rio Chama takes some of the familiar characters from our favorite westerns – the consumptive but still deadly gambler- gunfighter, the foolish but fiery female redhead, a senator’s son gone bad – shuffles the cards and deals a surprising hand. There’s plenty of action – gunfights, double cross, escapes, Indians – but there’s also some depth.  A motley cast of characters comes alive under Boggs’ deft hand and the outcome is less than obvious right up to the bittersweet end. The descriptions of the New Mexico territory (where the author resides) also add a note of authenticity to this story. Let’s just hope if Hollywood does draw a bead on Rio Chama, they can resist the temptation to gussy it up too much and just tell it the way the author meant it to be told.  As for me, this is the first western I've lassoed by Mr. Boggs, but I don't believe it will be the last.