Friday, September 13, 2013


Title: Wild West Adventures in the Great African Bush
Author: David Robert Dalton
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
Publication Date: May 15, 2012
Genres: Memoir, Humor
Reviewed by: Margitte
Source: Received for Review
Margitte’s rating: 5/5


Set in the African bushveld in the late 1950s and early1960s, this side-splitting tale features a delightful array of wacky small-town characters. The three elder Dalton cowpokes are members of a gang dubbed the Messina Dalton Gang, after the infamous Wild West Dalton Gang. The youngest Dalton cowpoke, six year old, David, calls himself Gunslinger and his main ambition in life is to become a recognized member of the gang. Together with his African Pawnee sidekick- Tokoloshie-Two-Feathers, and his three-legged Jack Russell dog, Jock, Gunslinger tries hard to impress, but continually messes up. It is a wonderful, laugh-out-loud tale to the touch hearts of all ages!


Wild West Adventures in the Great African Bush - by David Robert Dalton

These memoirs of a life in the African bush do not need much explaining of any kind. The 'africanization' of the famous Dalton gang of Missouri, by the four Messina brothers, their dog and black little friend, has hilarious results. African animals are transformed into bobcats(baboons); Muledeer(waterbuck); desert bighorn sheep( sable antelope); elk(kudu), cougars(lions), panthers (leopards); wildcats(cheetahs), armadillos (rhinoceros) and all snakes would become rattlesnakes. The bushveld would become the Great Arizona Desert and the Baobab tree the Ponderosa Pine. 

It was serous business to Spud, HotDot and Bronson, with one associate Slobo, and side-kicks David(aka Gunslinger-Bar-one) our narrator, his African hombre friend, Tokoloshie-Two-Feathers, and Gunslinger's three-legged, stump-tailed doggy called Jock. Gunslinger wanted so dearly to become a full member of the famous gang, and even thought the moment has arrived when he graduated from riding his three-wheeler to his two-wheeler steed, but instead was totally ignored. So he remained a tag-along to his own chagrin! He was only six years old and the youngest of the four siblings.

"Now cowboy movies were our favourite movies - Roy Rogers, Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, the real Dalton \gang, and so on. My three elder brothers were known as Messina's 'Dalton Gang'. The gang, and its associate members and tag-alongs, was so heavily influenced by these Westerns shown at the bioscope once a week, on Friday nights, at the Messina Mine Rec Club, it would imitate the Western jargon. So, home was no ordinary home, but 'the ol' homestead' where the "gang" could rest up between its many escapades, and there was plenty of space at "the ol' paddock" (the garden) to "corral our steeds" ( be it the early three-wheeled tricycle variety, or the two-wheeler variety that came along later). "

Read it slowly, a few pages every night before bed, and fall asleep with a bright African smile right around your head. The adventures are numerous, the laughter constant. If you are not African by birth, learn how the children of this continent related to the American cowboys and crooks their own way. Those movies had all the kids just as mesmerized and inspired to impersonate them as their USA counterparts. Every adventure involving the wild animals as well as the desert town of Messina's eccentric inhabitants is so vivid and real. The memories are funny and endearing. The humor is sharp and constant. Never a dull moment. 

The book is very well written, reads easily and introduces the African bush, the wild life, the people, in detail through the eyes of a young boy. I suspect all South Africans would love this book and will be able to relate to it in its entirety. I recommend it to all of us who played cowboys and crooks and who would love to introduce our childhood to our children as well as grandchildren - the African way!

Five stars for fun, wit and lots of laughter! 


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