The Concept –
Throughout history new generations have struggled to establish their position in relationship the old. This is true of children and their parents, it is true in the world of business and industry … it is even true in the war between lawlessness and crime. Set in the rapidly industrializing west at “The Turn of the Century” Louis L’Amour’s Son of a Wanted Man takes a unique look at the tension between one generation at the end of it’s era and another at the beginning of our own.
Though the last decade of the 19th century marked the closing of the frontier, the wild ways of the Old West were still present in outlaws like Butch Cassidy and lawmen like Wyatt Earp. Apaches still raided across the border from Mexico and vast tracts of wilderness were still uninhabited. Yet at the same time there was enormous growth in the western businesses of mining, agriculture, ranching and logging.
Civilization in all its positive and negative aspects was found in the west. Boise, Idaho was plumbed for geothermal heat, Oregon City and Telluride, Colorado began to use electric power. The world heavyweight boxing championship was fought in Goldfield, Nevada and so was a bloody labor war between miners and their bosses. In fact violent strikes, complete with bombings and shootings were common in towns like Leadville, Coeur d'Alene and Cripple Creek.
You could also place a call on any of a hundred thousand telephones, travel a mile a minute on streamlined railroad carriages, drive a motor car, collate data on a punch card tabulator or even go to the movies. It was the era of H.G. Wells, Jack London and Dashiell Hammett’s brutal “Continental Op;” the Wounded Knee massacre, the Oklahoma land rush and the great Chicago exposition; X-Rays, Ragtime and “Remember the Maine”.
In the rapidly growing mining town of Brandt’s Crossing, California, ex-outlaw Ben Curry and his adopted son Mike Santos struggle with their differences over Ben’s dark and violent past. They must try to keep Ben’s identity a secret from Mike’s new employer, a railroad that was once the victim of the old man’s thievery. And they must win the trust of the young ladies who form the rest of their unconventional family, Drucilla and Juliana, Ben’s attractive daughters.
But, most challenging, they must find some way of working together to confront a new sort of crime that, because of Ben’s forced retirement, has begun to spread to Brandt’s Crossing and the surrounding communities. The Blaxland Rushcutters, a violent gang emerging from the waterfronts of Australia, is making a bid to take over San Francisco and the Sacramento delta, organized like the Irish mob in the eastern United States they are a criminal enterprise the likes of which the West has never seen …