IN 1844 A TENACIOUS STREET KID WHOSE VIOLENT WAYS CARRIED HIM THROUGH YEARS OF DANGER IN THE CORRUPT CITY OF NEW YORK, IN 1859 HE GETS MARRIED, MOVES WEST, AND IS FORCED TO TEACH HIS BULLIED MUTE SON HIS SAME DEADLY, AND LETHAL SKILLS.
In 1859 on the Oregon trail at night, by a bright fire pit, there are four men. Brad Jamestown is one, the other three are drunken bullies drinking whisky, spitting, and belching. The drunks decide to start trouble with some soft singing pioneers close by. One boozer says, "Lets teach them singin how ta turn a toe." Another drunk states, "I ain't beat no one senseless fer a month. The biggest drunk says, " Lets go play with them stupids." Brad Jamestown says in a strong voice, " Find another place to play." The biggest bully yells, "Mind ya own damn bussines." Brad stands, "Play with someone who can beat you." The pissed off bully pulls his razor sharp Bowie from its sheath, and madly charges. "Ya bastard." Brad thrusts his hands up in front of the brutes face, at an angle to block the view of his foot. As hard as he can, Brad kicks the bully in his crotch. The screaming bully falls against the fire pit. Rocks fall into the fire pit sending flames, and a large spray of red hot sparks into the air. The bully is squirming on his stomach in agony. Brad quickly picks up the Bowie on the ground, grabs the bully's hair, and drives his knee hard into the pit of the bully's back. Brad quickly slices a long bloody cut across the brute's ass.
Later in the western adventure Brad's young mute son's draw, and marksmenship is better than most others in past western adventures. His abilities are logical. The mute can't speak, so his senses of sight, and touch are sharper. His father also has the son realize the importance of awareness, then more of his senses become stronger. When evil men in the untamed town of Shrike confront Sam he can’t speak, so all of his attention is on their body movements, and cruel attitudes. Audiences will be taken in when they see how his father teaches Sam unusual bone breaking fighting, and how to use weapons to kill.
A very tight wire of logic runs throughout the tale holding on to an audiences' belief. Even the unusual fighting methods are not made up. Each impressive, and violent movements are the same that the author used when he was involved in fights years ago. The same exact bone breaking movements are seen. The adventure always follows that tight wire of fact. All is not fantasy. The wire of logic keeps beliveability in the adventure to impress and continue the veiwers awe.
In the very beginning of the novel, when Brad was a young lad, his parents were murdered. When tied and helpless, their throats were slit. Brad then lived on the streets of New York City. The painful street beatings he received created a fanatical desire to learn how to street fight. Two tough, but decent men who owned a saloon, filled with thugs, and hooligans took the young boy in during a cold, bitter winters night. Jason was a dangerous fighting black man. He taught young Brad his vicious ways to fight. Yet, Jason told Brad, "If you’re going to fight every jackass you meet, be prepared to fight every day for the rest of your life."
To back up reality, little known historical facts are exposed throughout the adventure. When
Brad was a young reporter for the New York Times. His mentor told him, "Don't trust information. One writer convinced the New York Sun into printing an article. It stated immigrants were being brought to New York City from England by balloon. The writer's name, who created the true hoax was, Edgar Allan Poe."
The weatern adventure becomes a tale of constant intensity. The violence surprises the veiwers, and anticipation is always present. The tight wire does not give. When Brad goes west on the dangerous Oregon Trail. He meets his wife to be. Soon her father dies of cholera. As Ann and Brad walk away from the grave, she says,"You love someone, when they pass away, you realize you didn't say, you loved them enough."
Sam's personality falls between his parents. Brad gives instant justice. He is a justifiable killer, but still has a layer of compassion, that he learned from a dying child. Ann is a believer. During one of Sam's low moods she said, "I know what you're thinking, why did the LORD deny you? Maybe he's taking you through deep waters because your foes won't know how to swim."
Big school yard bullies pick fights with the mute, and some low life townsfolk humiliate him. All give Sam a natural inner streak of hate. When Brad becomes aware of Sam's burden he teaches the violence he mastered to his mute son. He says, "I'm going to teach you how to handle cowardly bully boys, and how to kill a man, if he has it coming. It won't be a like a card game, If you know a man is set on killing you cheat. Draw and kill the bastard." An instant look of wanting to learn appears in Sam's eyes like magic. As Sam's ability to shoot and fight became stronger his personality changes each day. Brad constantly works on Sam's physical and mental hablts. "Habit suceeds when your thinking fails." Brad once said to Sam, "Don't ever think you can't be the best. That's like being a bird kept in a cage, you'll never fly." Sam becomes more like his father daily.
Sam's loneliness ends when he meets, Marianna Martinez. These young ones need each other. Today's youth will relate to their troubles. Love has tenderness, but it should not include fear.
Brad didn't intend to live in a hell hole town like Shrike, California gold failures, and killers enjoy getting a man helpless, and then use a knife to learn where his gold was discovered. Harsh and ignorant men that think they are the best with their fists, and guns live, and travel through the wild town of Shrike. At this point in the yarn viewers see the results of Sam's violent learning. Close to his best he kills Mr. Bell's favorite son, in self-defense.
All kinds of bastards released from a near by prison, work at the wealthy Bell ranch. It's a heartless realm. Bell's three sons have nasty attitudes, as if they were ridden hard and put up wet. Bell's wife was killed by a wild, unbroken horse. She was kicked in the head. Bell had the horse tied to its stall and killed the horse with an axe. He also arranges a rape. The rotten actions of Bell, the son of a bitch, causes his mind to become twisted. With his over whelming need for revenge, he must kill Sam for killing his son. The failures of professional gunmen, who think they are unbeatable, is the last straw. Near the end of the violent tale Bell's crazed mind is like a broken shit house door hanging by one loose hinge.
When Bell and his sons kill Sam's parents, the tale leaps to an even higher level of intensity. Sam weeps when holding his dying mother. She said "Do what your father ....." Viewers will feel the mute's pain in their mind, as he kneels by the graves of his parents. The only sanity he has comes from the belief that he put on their cross. "No souls are buried here." The man kneeling is not the same man when he rises. Sam's hate becomes stronger than his father's teachings. He rides to Bell's ranch for a slaughter. Not enouggh killing takes place like Sam thought when he left. Bell hires professional guns. He knows only the meanest, and smartest can bring Sam to him. He can be shot up, but must be alive. Bell is loco, and wants to use his axe again.
There is not a musical score. The blend of the Sam's silence, and natural sounds, makes up for Sam's silence. The blend keeps the story moving fast, and tight. The audience has one more element to think about. Is a sound an indication that something will happen, or is it meaningless? The blend creates another element to keep the viewers from thinking ahead. What will come first, distraction or action.
This low budget, yet classic film shows how silence really is golden when mingled with natural sounds. This believable adventure will capture viewers attention at all ages. Tears, fights, death, love, and little known historical moments, adds to the tight wire.
The unforgettable ending, that might never have been seen in previous films, will stay in the minds of viewers for months. The director's artistic freedom is never ending. Actors will give their big toe to play the unyielding mute, or the tenacious father. The film is also character driven. Actually the reaction to sounds, truth, and the town of Shrike's unusual uniqueness, adds to the town's characters.Truth clings to the tight wire of the story. This adventure is alive!
Borden Davis, 805-777-7700 htt://www.silentbrand.com
Original copyright 2008
Only perchase the book"s fifth edition available in August 2018