The Boy Captives – J. Marvin Hunter – Book Review

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming for a read.  I bought this tome in a thrift store in Kerrville before I knew it’s the hottest piece of literature to be had in TimeWarpVille [Junction], Texas. 

I suppose that qualifies me to brag I have a nose for cool, an instinct for hot, to boast that I was also country when country wasn’t cool, same as the song said. 

Over in TimeWarpVille every business in town has a stack of these with a $10+ pricetag.  And customers standing in line to buy soft drinks, potato chips, deer corn, and steel fenceposts will each answer verbal quiz questions about it, when asked. 

They likes it.  They likes it real good.  They know the family heirs to the publishing history.  This I know to be true because I asked and was answered.

I’m reasonably comfortable some of the other parts of this non-fiction book are also true.  There’s a fair amount of documentation and affidavits from people alive at the time of the incidents certifying various parts of the story they had personal knowledge about.

I’d guess the older brother, Clinton’s part of the tale he’d possibly be able to pass a polygraph on 75-80%.  Maybe higher.  Most of the details he gives don’t conflict with anything clearly different and known under more verifiable circumstances elsewhere.

Brother Jeff’s part of the tale, however, has a somewhat different air about it, to my suspicious mind.  I ain’t going to say he wasn’t traded to the Apache, not going to say he wasn’t adopted by Geronimo.  But if I had to stake any money on the truth or fiction of it I’d put my large bills on most of his story being lost in the dust of history because it ain’t on these pages.

Not that it matters.  Fact is, the book is a hoot, an interesting read, a flashback to a time when Brother Comanche still rode southeast under a Comanche moon, killing, taking captives, stealing horses.   Good descriptions from a couple of kids of settlers before their capture about their lives, the family.

And both brothers succeed in spinning yarns Marvin Hunter could put on a printed page well enough to keep the reader turning them, not putting the book aside for something with more potential for holding the mind in place.

You Texas readers would almost certainly enjoy this tome, thinks I.

Old Jules

8 responses to “The Boy Captives – J. Marvin Hunter – Book Review

  1. I have had small parts of this book read to me as a child. It was my grandfather’s favorite boyhood book. I had long forgotten the title, but my memory was jogged by the title of your post. The fact that the first printing was when my grandfather would have been 6 or 7 makes me pretty certain. My grandfather’s been gone since ’04, but he was a neat, wonderful guy, and this post made me think of him. So thank you very much, Old Jules!

  2. “I’d put my large bills on most of his story being lost in the dust of history because it ain’t on these pages.” Great line, made me hoot!

  3. Always enjoy reading those true tales of the past, even if they are a little twisted at times. Makes for interesting reading under the shade of a tree.

  4. I’m familiar with this book. Bought it for my Dad at the Exxon just off I-10 in Junction. Silly me, I thought it was a first edition.

  5. Clint and Jeff Smith were my grandmother’s uncles. For a more in-depth review and a history of the book (the reason it is not widely distributed and is sold in convenience stores and small tourist shops in the Texas Hill Country) see

  6. Jed: Thanks for coming by for a read, even though you’re obviously just plugging the book. Not a bad read all in all. Good luck on continued sales. Jack

    • I have no reason to plug the book. It is part of the history of my family, but I don’t make a cent from any sales. There is a limited number of editions and they are not widely circulated. But the link I gave is for a review of the historical context of the book and its printing history. It is an interesting read and thought your readers might enjoy it.

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