There is no knowing what lies in a man's heart. On a trip to buy ponies, Frank Ross is killed by one of his own workers. Tom Chaney shoots him down in the street for a horse, $150 cash, and two Californian gold pieces. Ross's unusually mature and single-minded fourteen-year-old daughter Mattie travels to claim his body, and finds that the authorities are doing nothing to find Chaney. Then she hears of Rooster - a man, she's told, who has grit - and convinces him to join her in a quest into dark, dangerous Indian territory to hunt Chaney down and avenge her father's murder.
People do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father's blood but it did not seem so strange then, although I will say it did ...
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"True Grit" by Charles Portis was one of the first Westerns that I ever read, it was also one of my favourites. The plot of bad man killing a good man and then someone who loves the victim getting help to track and take revenge on the perpetrator of the crime is an old one but a tried and trusted storyline. Charles Portis carries this storyline out brilliantly in this timeless novel. The book transferred brilliantly to the cinema screen in the movie of the same name. John Wayne, Kim Darby and Glen Campbell all played the major roles brilliantly. As soon as I read "True Grit" and when I began writing Western novels myself, I knew that I had to write something in the fashion of this magnificent book and so I ended up writing "Friends and Enemies". It may not hold a candle to Charles Portis' masterpiece, but if you enjoyed reading "True Grit" as much as I did, then I suggest you try reading "Friends and Enemies".