Tom Harry runs Medicine Lodge, the best watering hole in Gros Venture, Montana. He doesn’t have a wife and doesn’t need a wife. He doesn’t even need his son, Rusty, though they get along well enough…until 1960. That’s when Proxy and Francine show up. Proxy is a taxi dancer from Tom’s past. Francine is her beatnik daughter. Old passions attempt to reignite in Tom, while Rusty discovers the world for the first time. Ivan Doig’s The Bartender’s Tale is a slow burn, character-driven novel on coming of age and the currents of small towns. Doig is a master at showing the fullness of everyday living in the wide open west.