The Death of Jose - Book Review


The Death of Jose

Author: Everett Riggs
Genre: Fiction - Historical
Publisher: Ruby Valley Press
Date Published: October 2, 2022
ISBN-13: 979-8218084196


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Book Review of :  The Death of Jose


Everett Riggs, author of Death of Jose. A Western Frontier Story,  introduces the novella with a foreword. He states that the story is fiction, not based on factual Montana history but on oral tradition, folklore, or fables. The author portrays a fascinating tale of life in the West while dabbling in humor and the harsh realities of that time.

Riggs offers a rich and authentic account of the perils of living and traveling the major gold routes in the unforgiving land of the Wild West. Jose rambled into one of the many tiny mining towns that had sprung up in the mid-1860s in Idaho Territory, now the state of Montana. The town of Bannack was the end of the trail for Jose, who had drifted from the Texas-Mexico border north. The challenges of his travel will give the reader additional vicarious experiences of the “Old West.” Throughout this epic adventure, Riggs introduces unforgettable characters from all walks of life, some good and some bad.

 An easy-going young man, Jose noticed that most of the best spots for panning gold had already been claimed near Bannack, but he was willing to work for wages. Wichita Dan, an old acquaintance, was working a gold claim along the creek. Jose and Wichita reestablished their friendship and shared tall tales and whisky. Their thoughts and conversation turned to the topic of death. Both had experienced the deaths of friends and families. Each silently contemplated his own death.

Jose later worked for an old geezer named Dunphy, who is picturesquely described as filthy, with a vocabulary often “dirtier than his clothes” and smelling terrible. He probably never bathed but once a year. Dunphy left for Salt Lake City with gold dust to be deposited in a bank. He planned to ride along with freight wagons but never arrived. Later his remains were found with no gold.

Through a series of misadventures and legal mistakes, the law of the land was taken over by vigilantes trying to rid the area of robbers and murderers. The local sheriff and his deputies were accused of being leaders of a gang of outlaws and were hung without trial. Following unsubstantiated rumors and accusations, the vigilantes converged on Jose’s small cabin.

A gunfight left several lawmen dead, and Jose wounded. The Vigilance Committee even appeals to a judge to use a howitzer on Jose’s cabin. Thrilling and suspenseful, this book wonderfully showcases the lawless land of the Wild West. With a gripping storyline and fascinating characters, Death of Jose. A Western Frontier Story proves to be an emotional, moving, and inspiring tale.

Riggs has written a profoundly moving and captivating western saga.

Reviewed by: Carole

About Everett Riggs


I was born in El Paso, Texas. My birth father was from Juarez, Mexico, and my birth mother was from West Texas. I was given away at birth, adopted, and raised in the great state of Montana. I attended college at Montana State University and the University of Iowa, graduating with degrees in mathematics and law. I also served with the U.S. Army in the Persian Gulf War. I have always had an affinity for the history of the Old West, especially as it relates to Montana. I like to read, write, and enjoy various outdoor activities with my wife and son in my spare time.

Visit for more information on Everett Riggs


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