I just received word that Joe Brown died; he was 90. I did not know him well, but I knew him and enjoyed him.
He was the often-unsung BEST of all the cowboy writers, certainly of the border writers. He could throw a rope and tell a story. He bought ranches on both sides of the Rio Grande – sometime in cash (gold coins!) He was down and out and sometimes got moving money. With the last, he once bought an airplane that he used to clip the radio mast off a whore house of a Madam, who had offended him, on the border.
When I first met him, he told me a long-winded story about he and old cowboy from Magdalena, Fred Martin, had paused at a whorehouse on the boarder, when they were smuggling cattle across in WWII. He said, the girls called him in, because “the old son-of-a-bitch wouldn’t take off his boots.” I told this story to his great granddaughter, she said, “that’s so grandpa, that’s so cute.”
He wrote the best boarder novel ever, “Forests of the Night”, about a cattle-killing jaguar, its English is fascinating, written entirely in Spanish syntax. It’s a chilling novel besides.
In my opinion he wrote the best working cowboy novel, “The Outfit.”
Jim Harrison said of him, “JPS Brown is the great restorer of the great American quest.”
That will stand.