It may be time for the return of the wide open Western. Don’t forget, in this 100th Anniversary year of suffrage, that women’s right to vote started out West, the first state being Wyoming, and only gradually and last reached the East Coast.
Richard Vadim’s Hot Shot is a fast, compelling Western read. The hot shot is a girl who calls herself Sam. Sam has to escape from home but chooses not to define herself as a victim; Sam is on the move, taking action to create her own future, even if there are times she chooses just to drift or doze with her horse for company. Sam explains in Hot Shot, when she looks for coaching and practice in shooting, “Well, seems to me, women are more likely to need guns than men.”
Sam meets a number of trustworthy adults, strong women and men, who aid her in her growing up away from her parents. She is respectful in accepting guidance and help from older people, while retaining her own decision making power and choice. She experiences romantic attachments with young men who respond to her pursuit, and fends off, with wit and violence, men who pursue her or hers with foul intention. She ultimately makes a life choice which was perhaps shocking for the time.
Typical of a Vadim work, the best storytelling is in the writer’s nailing of conversation, the old doc, the frontier marm, the hotelier, the youthful flirtations, the soldier, the lawman, the ranchers and the bad guys. Hot Shot is an appropriate, fun and unique coming-of-age story for young adults and a pleasurable read for adult Western lovers.
A girl called Sam is on the move, taking action to create her own future. Sam’s attachments include her horse Star, Brian a fishing buddy and soldier, the young man who coaches her in shooting, and a mysterious stranger with healing power. Sam fends off, with wit and violence, men who pursue with foul intention.