Published in 1939 ,this is a sturdy Western from the prolific and reliable pulpster Frank Gruber who was proficient in both this genre and the crime novel.
It is set in the town of Broken Lance,Kansas and the eponymous character is John Bonnwell a feared lawbringer erroneously believed dead -gunned down by a gang in another Kansas town ,Haleyville.He is recuperating in a St Louis sanitarium where he is attracted to a young woman,Eleanor Summers who is about to leave for Broken Lance to stay with her uncle,Ollie Simmons.They set out for the township together .
The town is changing and is about to become a railhead and thus a magnet for troublsome ,trail weary cowboys and noted gunslinger /gambler Jeff Barrett and his financier brother Ferdinand are intent on using their advance knowledge of this to make a financvial killing.A conflict ensues between them and Bonnwell's friend Tom Waggoner and Olllie Simmons .
Bonnwell is drawn into the conflict in support of Waggoner and he becomes marshall of Broken Lance where events conspire to bring about a decisive confrontation between him and the Barrett brothers and their hired minions .
Gruber wrote solid workmanlike books and these adjectives are appropriate for this functional if routine Western.Recommended for genre lovers but does not have crossover appeal