The Collected Bowdrie Dramatizations: Volume II, by Louis L'Amour
You do not have to be a Louis L'Amour fan to enjoy this collection of short stories. Each disc contains one of the six featured short stories: More Brains than Bullets, The Road to Casa Piedras, Bowdrie Passes Through, Where Buzzards Fly, South of Dreamland and Too Tough to Brand. The main character in each story is Texas Ranger Chick Bowdrie, a two-gun ranger who is known to have lived with the Apache Indians as a youngster. Unlike the heroes in most westerns, Chick Bowdrie wears a black hat. He also has the ability to find the trails that outlaws may have taken when no one else can. The various short stories plunge the listener into the excitement of bank robbery, cattle rustling and murder as well as attacks by hostile Indians.
What makes these short stories most interesting is that they are dramatized so well. They feature a number of actors and actresses who portray different characters, making the reading sound more like a play than a story. They also employ sound effects very effectively, adding to the stories' realism. Cowboy-boot footsteps, creaky doors opening and closing, slow hoof beats, fast galloping hoof beats, gun shots and animal cries all help to transport the listener to the American West of generations ago. An added treat on two of the discs are some historical recordings of Louis L'Amour discussing aspects of life on the frontier. He explains how the wild mustang differs from other horses, and he also discusses how the town of Deadwood got its name.
These stories are presented in such an entertaining way that it is easy to imagine that instead of riding in a car, listening to a story, you are really moseying along a trail, tracking outlaws. L'Amour is a master storyteller who has the ability to impart moral lessons while telling an engrossing story. Chick Bowdrie is the kind of storybook hero who inspires listeners to try harder, reach farther, be more patient and be a better person. Perhaps that's part of the magic of Louis L'Amour and what makes it so easy to recommend his stories.