All the Western Stars is a memorable story, filled with universal fears and truths. A story of two men chasing a hurrying sundown.
Jake Baker, a seventy-three-year-old former construction worker who walked the high steel, suddenly finds himself ill and relegated to an old folks’ home by his insensitive niece. There he regains his health and meets Lucas Kraft, the shell of a famous novelist, a former National Book Award winner who is searching for the remnants of his talent and his life. Two men from vastly different backgrounds with a commonbond-they’re both on the run. Running from their pasts, from their mortality, from the fear of dying unfulfilled.
Jake and Lucas break out of the nursing home and head west. Like children, they want to be cowboys; like old men, they want to experience life, raw and thrilling, once more while they can. Lucas wants to find a range ware where he can prove his manhood: “I will become part of legend, and they will write songs about me, how I rode in from the East and became one of them so fast, how I helped rid them of the civil robber barons from town.” Jake wants proof that he’s still emotionally alive, and he finds it in the comforting arms of Betty Silver, a good-natured, foul-mouthed woman who is searching for her estranged daughter.
As broad as the western sky, as warm as a Texas summer night, All the Western Stars will hold you as surely as barbed wire, as gently as a hug.
Hardcover, Peachtree Publishers, 1988
Mass market softcover, Ballantine, 1989
German translation as Der Letzte Abenteur, Lubbe Verlag, 1993