These are two audio adaptations of short stories by Louis L’Amour. They are performed by a full cast of voice actors and come complete with sound effects and background music. Both tales feature the exploits of Chick Bowdrie, a Texas Ranger who is the star of at least eighteen such stories by L’Amour.
The Main Body:
Too Tough to Brand is centered on the O Bar O Ranch. Bowdrie is summoned to investigate the disappearance of Bert Ramey, the ranch foreman. He vanished while carrying $15000 in cash resulting from a cattle sale. The ranch owner, Lee Karns is accusing Ramey of stealing the money, but his daughter Karen and several folks who knew him do not believe he is a thief.
It is said that Chick Bowdrie “could track a snake sliding across a smooth rock,” and the Ranger must use all of his skill as a tracker to figure out what has happened. Bowdrie uncovers evidence of foul play, and becomes suspicious that Karns is somehow involved. However, how would the rancher benefit from stealing his own money? The mystery deepens as Bowdrie interviews townspeople and follows clues that lead to a showdown.
South of Deadwood finds Bowdrie traveling from Dakota Territory back to Texas with a dangerous killer, Curly Starr, in custody. He meets a young woman on the stage that pleads for his help to clear her brother’s name. Bowdrie agrees to assist her, but he must also transport his prisoner safely while avoiding the members of Starr’s gang that are attempting to ambush the lawman and kill him.
The action is fast and furious as the Ranger protects the innocent and brings the guilty to justice. These two tales are some of L’Amour’s best and fans of mysteries and westerns alike will be pleased by the crisp storytelling. Bowdrie makes an appealing hero as he fights for justice in the American West of the 1800′s. His rugged individualism and intelligent crime solving make the Ranger a character worthy of respect.
Too Tough to Brand and South of Deadwood are professionally produced in the style of the old-time radio dramas of the 1930′s and 40s. The actors’ voices fit their roles perfectly, and the music and other sound effects add to the drama. While the gunplay may be a little frightening for very young listeners, I have fond memories of enjoying many of the dramatized stories in this series with my children when they were in upper elementary grades.
They were always drawn into the action of the story and could not wait to hear more. Hours spent in a car flew by as we listened to Chick Bowdrie tales and cheered for the “good guys” to come out on top.