The Ox-Bow Incident

The Ox-Bow Incident book coverWalter Van Tilburg Clark’s classic 1940 western The Ox-Bow Incident tells the story of two drifter cowboys who join a posse to find the murderer of a local man.  A mob mentality takes over the men in the posse and they become determined to lynch the suspected murderers when they find them, rather than defer to the rule of law and let the court system exact a punishment.  The characters in the book struggle with their own ideas of right and wrong and debate whether vigilante justice is the most effective means of policing the rugged and often lawless Old West, or whether vigilante justice is itself simply a form of  lawlessness.