By John Q. Pickard
Cover art by Michael Codd
Herbert Jenkins, 1975
Originally published by Ward Lock and Company, 1964
The Medicine Pony is a wonderful golden stud owned by the brutal Comanche chief, Black Mouth. ‘Sun Bird’, as it is known far and wide, is held sacred by the Indians – their talisman and magic shield against loss and defeat.
To help the Confederate cause, Bart Gannon, a notorious gunman in those early Civil War days, holds up a gold consignment from the Golconda Syndicate in the North and makes his way through Indian territory to deliver the valuable metal to the hard-up forces in the South. Attacked by the Comanches, he kills Black Mouth, caches the gold and escapes on Sun Bird, taking with him to safety Jane Burnett, whose father has been killed by the Indians. But at Fort Jay there are outlaws after both the gold and Sun Bird . . .
Philip Antony John Borg wrote over 60 westerns under the names Jack Borg, Phil Bexar and John Q. Pickard. This is the first time I’ve read any of his books.
Borg’s hard-boiled prose makes for a fun read, his descriptions painting visual images of time, place and of the exciting action scenes, of which there are many. The plot moves forward swiftly as Gannon tries to outwit Comanches, outlaws and Union troops. The story contains some dramatic moments, the best to my mind being when Gannon comes face to face with some Comanches in the midst of a thunder and lightning storm.
Although the tale reads pretty much as you’d expect, it does contain a few surprises and has a neat twist that wrenches Gannon’s soul near the end.
Medicine Pony was an enjoyable read that will have me keeping an eye-out for more of Borg’s work.