The fifth book for what should be referred to as the "Smoke Jensen" series. I think at this point the whole idea of "mountain man" is sort of lost by the author. This Colorado rancher is more just a skilled fast-draw gunfighter with the ability to ride, shoot straight and speak the truth. I think I would have liked this series to be more like the first book but based on the state of affairs here it doesn't seem like that will happen. As the books continue on and on and on...Smoke has become the larger than life six-shooting hero (?) that literally kills everything printed on the page. He's unstoppable and his name is Smoke. C'mon peeps...the badassery bar is set pretty damn high.
In "Journey of the Mountain Man" Smoke receives word that his cousin Fae, whom he has never met, is stuck in the middle of two range wars in Montana. One side is owned by a crooked rancher named Dooley Hanks (Tom's vile non-acting cousin), who borders on lunacy with his vile plans to own a huge chunk of Montana dirtpile. The other side is owned by a big land baron named McCorkle, who ends up to be a fairly nice guy who just wants to ranch like a good little rancher. Fae Jensen is stuck in the middle with portions of her land being infringed upon by Hanks' wranglers. She's on the verge of land rape and she's not gonna take anymore.
The whole "journey" bit is lost. Smoke really just rides over to his cousin's house and starts whippin' ass. Smoke soon finds himself with allies in both Fae and his cousin Parnell along with McCorkle and his hands. The enemy is a cookie-cutter one and Hanks does the normal house burning, cattle-steering and hiring of goons to harass both McCorkle and the Jensens. Obviously Smoke handles the issues with both barrels blazing and another chapter is written in this series.
Dooley Hanks is just cut-and-paste from prior villains in this series and honestly I can't even tell them apart at this point. Potter, Stratton, Richards, Hanks, Yosemite Freakin' Sammy...it's just all the same. However, it was interesting to read more about Smoke's family in Fae and Parnell. The Parnell addition added much needed humor to the tale and hopefully the character will appear again in the series. Overall this one was violent, gritty and action packed in true Johnstone style. One of the better ones of the first five books even when you consider the utter nonsense of it all.