Take a jaunt through mid-19th-century Southern California with Louis L'Amour. He earned all five stars from this California girl for historical and geographical research and accuracy. The story follows orphan Johannes Verne from age seven through early manhood. He grows up with the territory, and always has to watch his backside because his wealthy Californio grandfather wants him dead. But he is Johannes Verne, and he is not afraid. There are some minor plot flaws, and the ending felt a little weak, but this is good old-fashioned FUN reading. Heroes and villains and stagecoach rides and Indians and wild horse round-ups and manhunts and shoot-outs and daring rescues and, oh, my, even cowboy philosophy! One of the nicest features of L'Amour's books is that his characters spout a lot of wisdom when they get down to philosophizin'.This book was comfort reading for me. It took me back to my teen years, when I used to stay up way too late on school nights devouring L'Amour's paperback westerns like popcorn. I especially loved them as a teen because all the female characters are smart, brave, and independent. I always tried to imagine myself as one of those dames---wearin' my six-shooter, ridin' my pony on a cattle drive. Oh, wait! That was Lonesome Dove, not Lonesome Gods. Well, I could be a Lonesome Goddess, anyway. I think I already am. My mom recommended this book to me. She is a Louis L'Amour *phreak*, and she says it's his very best. I'll take her word for it.