Set in the Texas hill country just after the Civil War, A Ranger’s Trail follows the story of Buck Morgan and Leta Denning as they navigate the dicey circumstances of the hoodoo war in Mason County. Leta and her young son Ricky, along with Leta’s brother Andy, witnessed the revenge-killing of Leta’s husband, Derrick. The scars they bear are the same as those of the families of the German immigrants also caught in the crossfire of a German-Anglo feud based on misunderstanding and mistrust. A Ranger’s Trail exposes the emotions and actions created when lines are drawn between factions of any sort.
Author Darlene Franklin weaves historical facts into the story of her fictional characters in a believable way. The women and men are strong as most real Texans are, and they hold suitably strong convictions. The problem begins when the settlers take the law into their own hands. A Ranger’s Trail made it easy to see how battle lines can be drawn before the implications of those lines are fully realized. The story is well written and is a cautionary tale. It is easy to feel righteously justified in a position without fully taking into account the intricacies of the situation.
Does forgiveness or lack thereof create a ripple-effect? Can holding a grudge or releasing someone to the “ultimate Judge” change lives? Vengeance is God’s. We do well to remember that.