The Scarlet Riders series was seven paperbacks by Australian writer, Ian S. Anderson. Anderson achieved his childhood ambition of becoming a Mountie and working in Southern Alberta and the Rocky Mountains. I won’t repeat his whole bio since Brian Alan Burhoe did a complete job it at Civilized Bears.

I did not have the good luck to stumble onto Volume 1 in the series but the second piece, The Return of Cavannagh. Still, it wasn’t hard to catch up and I quite enjoyed the book. I will definitely be looking for the other six books.

John Tartleton Cavannagh is an American who has joined the N. W. M. P. at Fort Walsh near the Montana border. When he captures some whiskey traders he also finds they are caryying brand new idenitical Winchester repeaters, the same guns he saw Dutch Schultz try to sell to the Siuoux (in Book 1 I presime). Cavannagh thinks something is in the wind, especially after an Irishman named O’Shaughnessy pays $16,000 to bail out the whiskey traders.

To learn more, Cavannagh goes to Fort Benton in Montana. He tracks down Dutch Schultz at a farm owned by a friend, Cy Moore. Dutch tells Cavannagh how he was to sell the guns to the Sioux but Missouri men stole the guns before the deal happened. Now Dutch’s unknown, mysterious partner has gunmen looking for him.

Cloak and dagger on a paddle wheeler follows with Cavannagh learning the mysterious partner is a senator who along with a cabal of American and Canadian politicians and businessmen are financing O’Shaughnessy’s Finians to attack Fort Walsh and Fort Macleaod just before winter. This loss would cause the Northwest Territories (Alberta to Manitoba and the North) to be annexed by the US.

The finale has Cavannagh, Dutch Schultz and cavannagh’s two sidekicks, MacGregor and Jenkins, and a handful of men holding off the invaders, who plan to slip into Fort Walsh during parade duty and kill everyone. Afterward, armed with a cannon, the Mounties at Macleod would be lured out of their fort and cut to ribbons with a cannon. Cavannagh captures that cannon and Jenkins knows how to use it. The ending is exciting with the scalping madman Egg-Head taking on Dutch Schultz.

There is a small subplot about the beautiful blond Missionary worker who Cavannagh loves. She is moving to Fort Edmonton and the corporal hopes to see her again. I suspect this will be in Book 3, Beyond the Stone Heaps, the last of the Cavannagh books. The last four volumes in the series are about other Mounties.

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