The Man Who Forgot Christmas ★★★☆☆

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Title: The Man Who Forgot Christmas
Series: ———-
Author: Max Brand
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western
Pages: 83
Words: 22K


Two men break out of prison. One of them, a thief, rightly belongs there. The other, falsely accused of murder, doesn’t. They hold up a coach and steal money from the man who setup the murderer. The thief is shot and they barely make it to a house. The daughter of the house falls in love with the murderer and the thief falls in love with her.

The local sheriff knows the murderer, as he helped arrest him. But he also knows the charges were false. The thief, in a paroxysm of anger and jealousy, sends an anonymous note to another sheriff claiming the murderer is the one who did the hold up and stole the money. The thief has a change of heart on Christmas day and goes out in a blaze of gunfire with the sheriffs, taking all the blame on his shoulders so his friend can live happily ever after with the girl.

My Thoughts:

I think it is safe to say that Max Brand has a thing for love triangles that are doomed before they even start. What sets these apart from the love triangles in modern urban fantasy is that these are not female wish fulfillment but the grim fulfillment of male dominance. Much like the Rock’em Sock’em Robots, Brand’s love triangles are not about lust and fuzzy feelings but duty and kickass men duking it out until only one is left standing. We’re talking pure, distilled testosterone folks.

The title is taken from the thief forgetting that the day he gives his life for his friend is Christmas Day. He gets a stocking and it has some things that he remembers from his childhood and makes him change his mind and thus the book ends the way it does. It was actually pretty schmaltzy and filled with “the spirit of Christmas”. I could almost hear the Muppets singing in the background, sigh. I’ve never understood why people write about generic “christmas” when the very name tells you the reason for its being.

I don’t know how far along I am in this “Works of Max Brand” collection but while it’s better than nothing, I can say that Max Brand is not a western author that I’ll seek out more of when I done. Where’s my Indians and Cowboys and the Wild West? I want scalps and outlaws and sixguns. While a few of Brands books have had those, like Crossroads, that doesn’t seem to be the majority. Oh, I just checked and I’m only 22% done with this collection. So Brand has a lot of space to improve my opinion of him.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

38 thoughts on “The Man Who Forgot Christmas ★★★☆☆

    1. They could for sure. Miss Piggy could play the girl, Kermit the desperado who turns good. One of the sheriffs could be a muppet very easily. Throw in some dancing and singing vegetables and fruits and voila, you’re all set!

      And Sam the Eagle could moralize about how celebrating Christmas is “The American Way!” 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

        1. 2023. It’s going to be a double feature with John Hobo III: Ain’t Gonna Hobo No Mo’

          Chairman Xi has bought all the rights to both movies and is going to localize everything to Beijing. And it’s going to be his directorial debut. I guess he feels that nobody knows who he actually is….

          Liked by 2 people

            1. Back in my time traveling days I met him as a little boy. I stopped the moon from falling onto him and crushing him to paste.
              Next to wearing a checkered tie one Easter, that was probably the biggest mistake of my life.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to admit, it is really weird to me that I’m continuing on with this author even though he seems to thrive on love triangles. I don’t know if it’s because it’s from the mens perspective or what, but while I note it and roll my eyes, it doesn’t get me spluttering and frothing like some of the love triangles in urban fantasy…

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Glad this worked and at least is worth the pages or electronic screen it is printed on. On a serious note, I was named after a cowboy, so I can dig it too. Specifically the old western movie titled “Shane”. 😃

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Fck thats hot (and yes, I did let google tell me how much that is in Celcius). We have had rain for a month now 🙈 After months things can finally start opening again, but only outdoors. But with this weather that isnt helping any business.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Westerns, as a genre in both movies and books, seems to have had its time and now it’s past. You still get the occasional one, but it’s not a popular genre like SFF is now.

      and I think that the genre has been taken over by wokescolds, and who wants to read THAT?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. If I may chime in, I don’t know about books, but Western TV and movies continue to do well. There is the very nihilistic/horror Western The Hateful Eight. There are frontier survival stories like The Revenant. And there are at least two recent TV series: Yellowstone (also kind of nihilistic) and Longmire.

      Westerns can be so many things. They can be crime stories, love stories, nature stories, horror, or mystical. I personally really like the ones that get into Native American (or American Indian, if you like) culture, like Tony Hillerman’s cop stories set on the Navajo Reservation. Longmire has a lot with the Cheyenne rez and a bit less with the Crow.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I definitely agree that on the cinema front, there are still some excellent movies being produced here and then (loved both The Hateful Eight and The Revenant). A horror Western I was surprisingly impressed by was Bone Tomahawk (2015) and would recommend it if you’re a fan of the genre. It’s definitely the book side of things that remains a mystery for me but that’s mostly because I don’t look for them at all hahaah Most of my knowledge of Westerns is restricted to what Bookstooge shares on them. My own bookish experience is limited to Stephen King’s Gunslinger series too hahah

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Thanks for the recommendation! Maybe I will check out Bone Tomahawk. I didn’t think I liked Western horror, but the abovementioned movies are bringing me around. 😉

          In books, I can recommend Tony Hillerman’s series starring Navajo cops. And I understand that Longmire is based on a novel series, though I haven’t read it. And I haven’t read a lot of that Western great, Louis L’Amour, but the few I have read were terrific. He had one book about the Anasazi where the first chapter, in which an old miner describes getting disoriented among the box canyons, was worth the price of admission all by itself.

          My most recent book, The Strange Land, is sort of a Western. Landscapes are the same. And there’s bears. But it’s set in 10,000 BC, so there’s that.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. This actually sounds pretty good to me.

    As a woman, I’m always tempted to wonder why one, let alone two, guys would think a girl is something to die over. But then I remember, in the Wild West, there was a chronic shortage of women. Plus, there’s the whole Great Mystery thing …

    And, I can’t believe it never occurred to anyone before to compare a love triangle to Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. I mean, the comparison is just so apt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If it tickles your fancy, Amazon has this collection for 99cents. I used one of those “ship it slower and get a buck for digital stuff” to get it for nothing. also has 15+ of his stories for free too.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. My TBR is already a huge pile of slag on top of me, so I don’t think I’ll order anything else at this moment. But I will file Max Brand as an author I’ll pick up if I see him lying around somewhere …

        Liked by 1 person

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