Stillwater Smith is a type of story that I didn't think was ever going to reach the point of inevitability that most novels have. It is one of those that start out with more narrative than conversation and action. I was starting to get bored with it, but I couldn't stop reading about this man who had finally found a place where he could semi-retire you could say after the Civil War. But his peace and quiet was interrupted by a cattle baron wanting to use his water, since he controlled this stream that run through his property and on down to the valley. The cattleman needed it for the cattle he was bringing into the valley. And, further, there was the molestation or rape of a mentally deficient young girl that was a neighbor of Smith and fished with him on Sundays at his pond.
Stillwater Smith was an easy-going and peace-loving man, but events are working against him and the people of the town believe he is the one who molested the girl, because the guilty one had spread the rumor. Smith never went to town enough to hear the rumors, so he continued living his life as he always had. Smith and the cattleman couldn't seem to come to terms on the water and the cattle got into his oat field and was eating up the new crop. Smith was gradually building up his ire, especially when he caught the cattleman's nephew tearing his fence down to let the cattle into his field of oats. And he got beat up by a man and his two sons for the supposed atrocity he had committed against the girl. They called him a coward for not fighting back, and the cowboys used that to mock and tease him.
Well all this narrative builds up to a rip-roaring end and when the dust settled, people had greater respect for Smith and let him alone to live his life the way he saw fit. The girl's mother becomes entangled in his life, too, and how does that turn out? You will just have to pick up a copy and give it a read. I give it a solid four stars.
Frank Roderus was a newspaperman in Colorado and has the honor of taking home two Spur awards from the Western Writers of America, according to his bio, and has written several westerns in addition to short stores, etc..