Set in the 1900s in Queensland, Australia, Cattleman follows the life of Ben McReady, a determined cattleman and horse rider. At a young age Ben leaves home and finds himself taken on by an older man Dan. Dan teaches Ben a lot about cattle work, in particular how to steal them from others’ properties.
As Ben learns to do this successfully and builds a large herd with Dan, he dreams of settling down and establishing his own herd, rather than his current nomadic existence of running from the law and selling stock as quickly as it is acquired.
Cattleman jumps between an older, gruff Ben reflecting on his life and how two world wars, a wife, children, money and the law have influenced his choices and the younger version who dreams of making it big from scratch, with the one animal he knows inside and out.
Although often on the wrong side of the law, argumentative and hard headed Ben McReady is a likeable character and his choices in life although incorrect at times, are explained well throughout the novel. In Cattleman, R.S. Porteous has written a highly believable story about a young man starting from scratch and making something of himself in the midst of war and the Great Depression. An entertaining and worthwhile read.
Author – R.S. Porteous
In my library? – that it is; a cheap find in an op shop!
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“On horseback you could ride through the cattle and they would pay no attention. But the minute you dismount, you become a threat.” – David J Myers