CLAY ALLISON: LEGEND OF CIMARRON
A Novel of the Old West
“This is a fictional biography of gunfighter Clay Allison that attributes much of his violence to a head injury suffered when he was a youngster. Whether or not one agrees with Truett’s assessment of the source of Allison’s violent nature, one can appreciate the sense of place in the novel. Anyone who has ever visited Cimarron and Lucien Maxwell’s grist mill can imagine the dusty little town as it was when Allison first rode in, his foot in agony from an accidentally inflicted gunshot.
“Truett traces Allison’s life from his childhood in Tennessee to his death in Pecos, Texas, just days before the birth of his first child. According to Truett, Allison was not the renegade pictured in his own legend, and many of his exploits cannot be verified. This is an interesting book about a much less deadly Clay Allison than the one the public has been led to expect. A more deadly portrait is that of Lucien Maxwell, whom we first meet as the owner of New Mexico’s most famous land grant is whipping a Mexican ranch hand. Truett’s view of Maxwell’s character may or may not be true to the facts, but in this book Maxwell plays a nasty role in the life of Clay Allison. So expect the novel to stir up controversy among those who study outlaws and lawmen of the Old West.”
—Doris R. Meredith, Amarillo News-Globe
“If not for the disruption of lives caused by the Civil War, Clay Allison might have lived out his life on a farm in Tennessee. However, Allison was just one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans, both Northerners and Southerners, who pulled up stakes and sought new beginnings in the West after the end of the war. Allison, accompanied by his brother John, saw the rough-and-tumble New Mexico Territory as the place to start over. The two young men journeyed to Cimarron, a wild boomtown in northern New Mexico. In defending himself from a pair of outlaws, Allison earned the reputation that made him one of the Old West’s most colorful—and deadly—gunfighters.
“However, unlike some of the other Old West gunmen, such as Billy the Kid, John Wesley Hardin and Doc Holliday, Allison was not a borderline psychopath. His defenders claim Allison never killed anyone who didn’t deserve to die, and some of his reputation resulted from his problems with alcohol. Allison was considered a peaceful man, a gentleman, until he imbibed. Then, he could not control his explosive temper, leading to confrontations, which his skill with weapons ended in his favor.
“Allison’s story is recounted in a fact-based novel by New Mexico author John Truett. His novel carries the stamp of authenticity as he captures the spirit of the Old West without the use of stereotypes, without merely regurgitating the old myths. Readers of Clay Allison: Legend of Cimarron will sense the feeling that Truett has for his subject and the Old West—the real West, not the ‘reel’ West. Truett, a resident of Roswell, served with the Army Air Corps in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He later received a bachelor’s degree from Woodbury University in Los Angeles and worked as a film editor/script supervisor in the motion picture industry. He is a member of the Western Writers of America and the National Outlaw and Lawman Association. He is also the author of two other books, To Die in Dinetah: The Dark Legacy of Kit Carson and Monument in the Storm, both published by Sunstone Press of Santa Fe, New Mexico.”
—Donald M. Cooper, The Hereford Brand