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The Gentleman Outlaw and Me: A Story of the Old West    by Mary Downing Hahn order for
Gentleman Outlaw and Me
by Mary Downing Hahn
Order:  USA  Can
Clarion, 2007 (1996)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

When her mother dies, twelve-year-old Eliza Yates is left at the mercy of her aunt and uncle. Teased by her cousins and made to do all of the chores, Eliza finally decides that the next time her uncle beats her she will run away. She doesn't have long to wait.

During the night she takes off to find her Papa, who left for Colorado seven years before in search of his fortune. The old dog Caesar follows her, and Eliza lets him come along since she is his only friend. She changes her appearance to keep her uncle from catching her, knowing he will be furious that she took her mother's gold pieces, even though he was only supposed to be keeping them safe for her.

Eliza and Caesar leave the town of Bartlett far behind and Eliza Yates becomes Elijah Bates. When she tries to buy a train ticket, the ticket agent accuses her of stealing her gold coin. She realizes that even as a boy, buying a train ticket is out of the question. Eliza snatches the coin back and takes off in case he calls the sheriff.

Finally the smell of cooking meat leads her to a campfire where she finds Calvin Featherstone, who has been shot by muggers. The partnership of this spunky heroine and fancy swindler turn the story into a screwball buddy comedy with humorous dialogue and cliffhanging action. In this story set in the Wild West of 1887, these partners-in-crime discover more than they bargained for about each other.

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