Wednesday, June 1, 2011
THE SAGA OF HENRY STARR
This book, along with one of his other novels, made me a Robert J. Conley fan for life.
I first met Robert at the 1984 Western Writers of America Convention, but it wasn’t until the following year, in San Antonio, that we really had a chance to sit down and talk. Even then I hadn’t really read anything by Robert – that would come later.
I don’t recall the circumstances that led to it, but just Robert, the legendary Max Evans and I were enjoying some libations in either a hotel room or one of the smaller conference rooms. We sat and talked for a long time after a lengthy day of meetings and panels and such. When I referred to Max as “Mr. Evans”, he said, “I ain’t nobody but ol’ Max” and so “Max” it was from then on.
I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that Robert has a terrific sense of humor. At the Wyoming WWA convention in 1987, he was good sport enough to play provide the dialogue (each sentence usually started with the word “Ugh”) for Tonto in a demonstration of how weak and inaccurate portrayals were of American Indians both in the literature and movies/TV of the mid-20th century.
Anyway, in the intervening years, Robert has made quite a name for himself in the Western genre; he’s the premiere Native American writer of his generation.
THE SAGA OF HENRY STARR was the first Conley book I got a hold of. Found it at the library and it wasn’t until many years later that I was able to get my own hardbound edition of the novel. It was well worth the time it took to get it. Going to have to try to get it autographed one day.
Any Robert J. Conley book you can find is a good place to start, but if you are lucky enough to discover THE SAGA OF HENRY STARR or Robert’s other classic, NED CHRISTIE’S WAR, then you’ll be cookin’ with gas.