John Lee Johnson in the Valley of the Sun is part of a series pitting John Lee Johnson, the powerfully strong and talented gunman against his nemesis, former Brigadier-General Frank McGrew, a very wealthy steel and railroad magnate. Their enmity goes back to the Civil War (just recently ended.)
McGrew has hired private assassins; has sent waves of gunman. He even lured the big Texan into a pit fight with the meanest man alive. When Johnson defeated the toughest man in Chihuahua in a wild and exciting slugfest, McGrew conceived the plan to entice Johnson to return to Chihuahua, Mexico to brace the fastest gunman known on the planet for $100,000 in Mexican gold.
The location is the Valley of the Sun...a desolate place of death. Beneath a cruel, inexorable sun constantly shining on nauseating yellow sand---surrounded by stark mountains that form a horseshoe shape valley lay the ruins of both a Christian mission and a sacrificial Aztec altar from centuries past.
The hauntingly beautiful Marilla Urmacher, once an enemy to John Lee Johnson, but now a faithful ally comes to his rescue. She sends California's best gunfighter to run interference for the man she secretly loves, John Lee Johnson.
The struggles on the journey and the list of strange characters that John Lee Johnson encounters make this an excellent read. It is a classic story of good versus bad. The reader may wonder if good will really win in the end.
This western is different. It is not just a melodrama. It pits the money and influence of a wealthy man against the strongest and most singular man in Texas. Their struggles against each other influences so many other singular individuals that are caught up in this eventual death struggle.