When twelve-year-old Coady McIlvain and his dad are attacked by Indians, everything changes for him. His father is scalped and Coady is taken prisoner. Coady eventually escapes and ends up with a buffalo hunting, fifty caliber Sharps rifle packing, sharpshooter named Dylan Griffith.
Before coming West, young Coady has read a ton of dime westerns and his hero is the great Buffalo Bill Cody. The way the boy mixes up what he has in his mind from the books he's read, with the reality of what he runs into...if utterly fascinating at all times.
The Big Fifty has by far the very best portrayal of the buffalo hunters I've ever read...the endless killing, the piles of buffalo hides, the stinking, rotting carcasses, the seemingly limitless amount of bones and buffalo.
The buffalo hunter, Dylan Griffith, is an unusual hero too...he's a good guy, a printer by trade, better educated than most buffalo men, but not all good by any means, he kills thousands of buffalo, all the while knowing he's killing off a way of life that will never return. The Indians in this fabulously good read, they're all different, some are disgusting, mean, cruel, and others are decent, brave, considerate. The Big Fifty is a wild, rollicking tale, one that starts out with a bang, never ever lets the reader down for one moment, a book that keeps you turning the pages and reading long into the night. I just flat out loved The Big Fifty and I intend to get more books by Johnny D. Boggs and read them. Boggs is a wonderful writer and anyone who appreciates a western with lots of flavor and action, ought to really enjoy the Big Fifty. I highly recommend this terrific book! Sure to be a classic.