Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

End of the Trail #1

End of the Trail

Rate this book
Will Connors is struggling to hold together a failing farm; his wife has died, his son has gone, he's not without enemies and he's dealing with the after-effects of a debilitating accident. It's a life of toil which doesn't allow for very much pleasure, and he's in danger of becoming embittered until a chance acquaintance wanders back into his life and everything begins to change. The problem, however, is that John Anderson has a price on his head - and, very soon, Will and John find themselves desperately concealing more than one dangerous secret.

The Devil in Dead Horse, sequel to End of the Trail, is now available! Click here for more details!

186 pages, ebook

First published May 1, 2010

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Jane Elliot

17 books33 followers
I am no longer on Goodreads. You can contact me at my gmail account, under the name janethunder.

Thanks for reading!

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
51 (21%)
4 stars
112 (46%)
3 stars
56 (23%)
2 stars
16 (6%)
1 star
4 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 71 reviews
Profile Image for Baba  .
859 reviews3,871 followers
February 26, 2015
3.5 stars. Review posted February 26, 2015

 photo oie_NiMw3eRV1bhA_zpswbrolosr.png
 photo oie_cEzB3hP4p0qQ_zpso9kmrcpp.gif

A new-to-me author who, for once, did work out for me.

I haven't much to say about this one, so I'm going to make it short. The End of the Trail is a nice, very quiet and rather "eventless" read that provides solid writing. I believe, however, the book could have benefitted from better editing/proofreading. Here are only two examples among (too many) others.

"I'm not sure about," he waved a hand back and forth between them, "but I know I don't want to you leave."

"(…)When they saw Molly, they decided they to have a little fun."

The premise of Will sheltering a notorious outlaw who had a penchant for creative building and who was finding redemption on a failing farm did appeal to me. Moreover, the slow-burning and rather tentative romance between the male leads was quite enjoyable. Also, there weren't any premature ILYs either. I really liked that. The scene at where Will is grieving over his late wife was very emotional and beautifully done. Non-intrusive, just a lovely example of show don't tell. What bugged me a bit, however, was how easy everything panned out in the end. It was just a bit too neat to be realistic, IMO. Also, considering Will's "enemies", I was actually waiting for something dramatic to happen but nothing particularly noteworthy occurred. Regardless, I really enjoyed it and was surprised that I didn't feel bored. I'll be giving the sequel The Devil in Dead Horse a shot.

Favorite quotes:

"I can't imagine why any of them would," Will said. "It doesn't seem like it'd be very pleasant."
John stared at him incredulously. "For most whores - hell, most women - there ain't nothing pleasant about taking a cock, no matter where it goes."


In an off-handed manner that somehow sounded forced, John added, "Of course, it's different for men."
Will's eyebrows shot up.


"I've done it a few times," John said, still with that tone of airy casualness. "More often the other way."
Will was outright gaping now. "You ain't no Mary."
John shrugged. "Ain't always a woman around." His eyes stayed on his plate as he added, "Stone's gang was all male."
Will stared at him some more.

Recommended read.

A heads up for those who don't like the 'f' in their m-m books
End of the Trail contains one m/f/m scene but also some m-m smexin'.
Profile Image for Ingie.
1,361 reviews168 followers
February 13, 2015
Written February 12, 2015

4 Huge Surprised Stars - What a charming gem.
I liked it so much. Just smiling now.

End of the Trail is a historical "western" M/M I got as a freebie a couple of weeks ago. ~ Lucky me!!

 photo 1sm237cowboy_zpsf02bcf37.gif  photo 1sm237cowboy_zpsf02bcf37.gif  photo 1sm237cowboy_zpsf02bcf37.gif  photo 1sm237cowboy_zpsf02bcf37.gif

Ahhhh this was a surprise!!
I'm so glad I choosed it today. End of the Trail started promising from the prologue and it lived up very good to that promise more or less all the way to the end. An unexpected love-story in an unusual environment. I maybe liked the first half best, but oh oh how cute and touching this western-tale was.

Give me just a simple romance and a good well thought out story, it is always successful reading in the end.


In old times somewhere in the Wild West

Will Connors is a young lonely widower, with a injured hurting leg and his son moved to relatives in the east. He is a man who is struggling every day to hold together his failing farm. A few years ago was his life completely different. He was a happy man with a sweet wife and a young nice son. Life was as good you could expect.

Will and his family once helped a stranger, a unknown man who had a gunshot wound. Later Will learned that the man, John Anderson was a wanted gun-man with a price on his head.
 photo image.jpg1_zpslbe2k9iw.jpg

‘On the poster board next to the post office was a new wanted poster, for "the notorious murderer and stage robber" John Anderson. A $500 reward was offered.’

Then one day, three years later, is John back at Will's cattle farm again. He ask for lodgings a couple of nights and Will is kind of glad to get company even for a few days. Here starts a touching romantic tale about two men struggling in the wild old west.
"'Course I liked it," Will said. "What's not to like?"
"Well, then," John said, reaching over to steal a piece of bacon off Will's plate. "Wanna do it again tonight?"
Will huffed out a small laugh, despite himself. "Maybe," he said, digging in to his food.
John just smirked in reply.’


When did I read something like this last?
This wasn't insta love (not from Will anyway). There was a gay-for-you topic here but it was also a nice and perfect slowly progressed romance. For sure we get some smexy steam and sweet romantic moments but it was never a feeling of disguised M/M erotica.

Much was about daily life on an isolated farm, hard and heavy commitments, and on top of that a gently believable growing attraction between these two men. ~ Unexpectedly sweet and wonderful!
 photo image_zps07edad5e.jpg

‘It was like mustard on a ham sandwich at first the taste was strange and pungent, but the additional flavor added a spark to the simple dish and while a plain sandwich was always still good, a sandwich with mustard was a treat.’

Wow! That quote says a lot about new "things" in life.

A big plus to this writer, Jane Elliot, that doesn't tell me what to feel. Everything isn't explained and everything isn't said. I'd to draw my own conclusions, and that is liberating good.


For my part, I'm pleased with where we left the men. Maybe I pick up a sequel if the urge takes me.

I LIKE - some gorgeous cowboys in an Wild West tale
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,883 reviews5,807 followers
March 8, 2016
This was, as I expected, a very lovely read. A beautiful, slow burn, western romance with some surprisingly hot scenes (including some M/M/F, for those curious). I don't have too much to say about this one because it was a fairly plot-less story. I mean, the guys did a few things here or there, but the main focus was on their gradual transition from companions to lovers.

That being said, I didn't know that this was the first in a series. The ending is pretty complete feeling so I guess their story will just be continued? I would love to read more about these two men and see how their lives evolve, so count me in!
Profile Image for * A Reader Obsessed *.
2,221 reviews454 followers
June 7, 2017
Perhaps as a warning, this was quite the sedate tale of how these two men come together.

Having helped John a few years back, Will now knows he aided a notorious outlaw. On the run with really nowhere to hide, John comes back several years later looking for a little reprieve. Not to excuse his past, but terrible circumstance made him into something he truly wasn’t, and there’s regret and pain and failed attempts at leading a straight, honest life - a life he attempts to do so with Will.

Not much happens except the slow unraveling of feels in and amongst daily living on a ranch. These two warily circle each other at first, and later accept that some company is better than none. Eventually mutual respect, affection, and lusty comfort develop, as they mesh their lives together, eking out a tough but satisfying existence.

This unfortunately is not overt - in the smex or the proclamations - and I could always go for more of that. However the life they build together and the future they want and work towards, was satisfying and good enough.
Profile Image for Heller.
974 reviews119 followers
September 22, 2012
I do love westerns and this is damn good one.

This is a very slow burn friends to lovers story. It starts out with a prologue. Will is a rancher with a wife and son and he takes in John, a man who has been shot and is wandering on the trail. John heals up and leaves the ranch after he saves the family from some bandits.

Fast forward a few years. Will has a permanently injured leg, his wife Molly is dead and his son is living with relatives back east. John reenters his life and they work the ranch together and they come to mean everything to each other.

It's just a great western love story that even has a potential range war brewing that gets resolved in a really surprising way. I enjoyed these characters and this story quite a bit. Lovely.
Profile Image for Mandapanda.
832 reviews270 followers
June 23, 2013
3.75 stars. Enjoyable Western m/m romance. I say 'Western' instead of 'Cowboy' deliberately. This book seems to be the same vintage as Little House On The Prairie and has a realistic feel in the way it describes the conditions and people of the time. It's still a nice light story though. Good romance, easy to read and reminds me a little of those dime-store western paperbacks you can still pick up from the newsagent even today. Straight on to book 2.
Profile Image for Heather C.
1,477 reviews215 followers
December 6, 2013
I really loved Will and John...a widowed rancher falling for an outlaw. Sweet friends-to-lovers and GFY story that really didn't have much conflict, but I couldn't put it down.
Profile Image for Kassa.
1,118 reviews109 followers
June 11, 2010
Manifold Press is off to a pretty impressive start with a few intelligent, exciting offerings. The press has just published four gay romance stories and one of those is End of the Trail by Jane Elliot. This undemanding cowboy story set in the historical west offers an authentic atmosphere, great characters, natural companionship, and an ease to the story telling that lets the pages fly by. There is a good progression and happy ending, but the slight possibility for more. Hopefully this is just the start and there is at least one more book about the infamous John Anderson and his partner Will Connors.

Set in the wild west, although no specific time frame is mentioned, the story follows Will Connors. He first encounters John when the man stumbles onto his land, shot and bleeding. Will and his family take the man in and nurse him to health, never realizing until after that John is actually a wanted man. When John returns to Will’s home three years later, circumstances for both men have radically changed. Will’s wife has died, prompting his son to return east with his wife’s family. Will himself has an injured leg and struggling to keep the ranch going without help. John steps in and the two form first a friendship, then later a much closer sexual relationship that lends to a solid companionship between the two men.

The progression and pace is very nice as the story is almost entirely character driven. There is action with daily chores, cattle drives, and so on but there is no big show down or evil character in the wings directing things. Instead the characters gradually form a friendship, which turns into something more. The easy pace and interesting storytelling keeps the pages turning, almost without notice. The writing is pretty good, although there are a few obvious editing errors with wrong words used, but these are minor and don’t detract from the reading experience. Instead the dialogue and internal thoughts are well crafted and fitting, incorporating the time frame and setting without long descriptions.

The characters are three dimensional and complicated men, yet not equally so. Since the story is told from Will’s third person perspective, we understand his motives much more than John. Will’s desires slowly come through as we learn that he’s not a rancher at heart but did so happily with his wife. He loved his wife and misses his son, yet is open minded about a relationship with John. Will is somewhat of a gay for you character but he also experiences no real angst or drama about getting with John. It takes him some time to reconcile his desires but he does so in a rather low key, yet absorbing manner.

John remains somewhat of a mystery and his choices are also not fully known. He’s seen through Will’s eyes, which is not always the most reliable. Yet John is a nice counterpoint to Will’s stubborn nature and he adds a bit of humor and excitement to the everyday life. John’s life as a railway robber and his tragic past comes through bit by bit and the markers that shaped his life offer more depth to the man. The two men are very complimentary in their actions and fit nicely, making the story undemanding but engaging.

One last thing to mention is the descriptions of the wild west. These tend to be worked into a scene very well where the characters, dialogue, and landscape offer the most information rather than lengthy internal descriptions. There are clues to the time frame and area but nothing is ever specifically said so there is also vagueness to the world building. I would have liked the story to be more specific about the location and time, especially considering the references to the east coast. The pacing can be somewhat slow at times but not necessarily to the story’s detriment. Overall the narrative is a solid offering with interesting characters that hopefully will make a second appearance.
Profile Image for AngelFire.
537 reviews37 followers
July 27, 2023
This story and its sequel have been made available by the author for free on AO3:

Part 1 - End Of The Trail
Part 2 - The Devil In Dead Horse

DNF @ 30%

This had so many things I love: a historical MM western, a badass outlaw who hides from the law by moving in with a rancher and developing a deep love for ranching, and a grumpy rancher who injured his leg and now walks with a limp and has chronic pain.

Unfortunately, nothing worked for me here. I adore historical westerns but this one might as well have taken place on a ranch in modern times because the MCs speech patterns were too modern. There were also blatant historical inaccuracies, like John teaching Will about French Toast with the excuse that 'the Frenchies' taught him at some point.

But my bigger problem was that I didn't like either MC and the relationship progression between them took place by telling instead of showing. Will was a boring character who spends too much time mourning for his deceased wife. Hilariously, the author uses a plot convenience at one point to move Will's young son far away from him which kept the kid out of the picture (I assume the author didn't want to bother dealing with a kid throughout the story) but had the side effect of making Will look like he didn't give a damn that his son was no longer living with him.

As for John - he's supposed to be a bad guy; an outlaw who has murdered and robbed countless people. But the author took the approach that I hate by going overboard trying to make John be a Good bad guy. Please grab your tiny violins and join me in creating an appropriately tragic soundtrack for the following Epic Tragedy:

+ John has an incredibly angsty backstory and he was abused and hurt by practically every single person he's ever met
+ He was forced into every single act of criminality that he's ever done by circumstances beyond his control
+ He may have risen through the ranks and become an outlaw leader but he's the kindest and fairest outlaw leader to ever exist
+ He spends his days lamenting over how evil he is and in a crowd of people condemning John for his actions, John's voice is always the loudest

And on and on and on. I hated every part of how John was portrayed. If you're going to have a bad guy MC then let him be a bad guy and give him a solid redemption arc. Not this stupid wishy-washy 'he's a bad guy but he's a Good bad guy' thing.

Not only did I not care about either MC but their romance was absurd. Will comes across a badly injured John on his land and he takes him in so he, his wife and his young son can help John recover. Okay, fine - that's how things were done back in the day. But then we're told that they all become one big happy family within a few days and Will, his wife and son all adore John and they're crushed when he leaves. We don't see any of it, we're just told and the whole thing was incredibly rushed. And THREE YEARS later, John suddenly shows back up and Will recognizes his voice before seeing his face, as if that's realistic. But then Will randomly allows John to move back in with him and from that point onwards, Will is oddly comfortable around John. It made no sense to me because Will knows that John is a criminal so there's no reason for Will to trust him. But even if you ignore John's criminal history, it was still unrealistic to have Will accept John in his life so easily.

Due to Will being lonely after his wife died and his son having been taken away, I could have believed the rushed pacing of Will allowing John into his life again but there's no chemistry between them and the majority of their interactions are done through telling instead of showing. I felt nothing for these MCs so I didn't believe in their relationship.

Then at 30%, the author randomly shoves a graphic MFM scene into the mix, which I don't care for anyway. But everybody involved lacked hygiene and I didn't care about any of the three, so I was so grossed out that I had to stop reading. But in any case, I wasn't a fan of what the author did with this premise anyway.
Profile Image for xbmbgrl.
96 reviews3 followers
March 20, 2011
4.5 stars

AA male/male romance set in the old west with tons of character development along with the building of a very satisfying relationship between Will and John.

Will is an earnest hardworking down to earth rancher trying to do it all on his own with no idea how lonely he has become since the death of his wife. John is a good man gone wrong several times over but with enough soul left to know how a life is supposed to be lived. Both men are drowning and have no idea that is so. By teaming up together their lives are enriched in so many ways it’s heartwarming to read.

The story is told from Will’s POV so we never do get to know why John came looking for Will again. We know he needed some downtime where he could get away from the wanted posters but why he seemed to need to come back to the Connor farm is left to us to decide.

Will was married when he first met John and shows no sexual interest in the man. When John finds Will widowed, he cleverly seduces him over time. Through initial contact via a threesome with a working girl to quick mutual hand jobs and then further into a full sexual relationship the men make a connection come alive. Will is along for the ride, mostly open minded all the way. An easy Gay For You slide into a partnership that seems destined to last forever.

We experience their adventures as these men live and bond together. They grow to care and trust each other almost from the first time they meet. It’s a refreshing and gratifying tale without half the angst I expected from the blurb. There were no wild shootouts or posses. No wicked bad guy standing around twisting his mustache and rubbing his hands together. No big, rich rancher threatening them all the time. Just two isolated men falling in love with each other despite their vastly different backgrounds. They are also smart, talented men making thoughtful, smart choices to stay safe.

There were some editing errors and at times the wording was uneven but overall the story was very well told. I can’t wait to read more about the infamous John Anderson and hope there is a follow up while they settle in together to live out ripe long lives
Profile Image for Meep.
2,119 reviews201 followers
January 14, 2023

Absolutely nothing happens. No confrontations of any kind, no angst, no drama, not even hot words. Not necessarily a problem but it fails as a character study, there's no chemistry. Will misses Jack when he's gone a week, but everything suggests he's lonely. In fact Jack hasn't really known friends himself.

The sex, there's m/f/m, then sudden cure to hypothermia wanking off, which leads to them exploring all possibities, mainly off page.

There's loss, a tough childhood, implied abuse, tragedies.. but nothing jumps from the page the tone barely changes.

Saddlebags full of misgotten gains cures all.

Will bakes a cake, it doesn't rise, the next day Will bakes another cake. Jack eats all the cakes. The end.

PS won't let me share highlights but there was this:
Will had always liked having John's fingers in him. It was like Mustard on a ham sandwich --
Profile Image for Emanuela ~plastic duck~.
805 reviews117 followers
November 7, 2012
What's wrong with me? This is an enjoyable read, with charming protagonists, with a setting I love because of my dad-made-me-watch-cowboys-on-tv upbringing and I am glad I read it, but I feel there's something missing.

The beginning is great: John is an outlaw and he's rescued by Will and his family, who discover John is wanted after he leaves. Three years later, John returns to Will's farm: Will is a widower, his son is East with his wife's family and Will's leg is pretty bad because of an accident. Will is managing the farm all by himself, and he's alone and lonely. He's also the target of his neighbor's scheming to make him sell the farm.

There was an immense potential to build angst and obstacles on the path to happiness of the protagonists. The author chose a sweeter approach and all the potential conflicts from the people around the guys - neighbor, nosy townspeople, law enforcement, ex members of John's band - just didn't happen, while I was waiting for them. The difficulties came from nature. The way the two men came sexually closer was handled in an interesting way (there's a bit of m/f/m to ease the way), and it was logical, I think, but Will was too accepting of this attraction. Ok, maybe it's because he is a very practical man, I don't know, but I was expecting a little more about that.

I really think what I was missing was a peek into John's mind. And also they no one really had to make a choice.

Anyway, even if I'm not rating it very high, I recommend it and I think I'll read the sequel. There could be something a little more menacing in their future.
Profile Image for K.
1,608 reviews71 followers
March 8, 2015
very good historical western story of an outlaw who 2 years before the main story is shot and rescused by a rancher and his family, when he returns everything hs changes for the rancher and the outlaw is looking to retire. Over around 8 months the pair get to know each other, become involved and decide to try for a new life. There is some M/F/M sex in this but before the men are together
Profile Image for Kelly L.
154 reviews7 followers
February 1, 2015
What a GEM of a book. One of the things that sets it apart from a lot of other books is not merely because it takes place in the old West. It is a different type of read for many reasons. While it is not an angsty drama or a complete smutfest it IS the beautifully told story of Will & John as a bond of genuine love, pure affection and caring evolves on each page.

Will is the widower who for the first time in his life develops physical and emotional affection for another man. I won't spoil it with how and why John comes to be at Will's small homestead/ranch but I believe he was clear from the beginning about his feelings for Will.

This is two men in very interesting setting and circumstances who fall in love, enjoy each others' company and share a heartwarming mutual respect. There's no manipulation by either man, there's no hidden agenda, there are no secrets either one is hiding from the other.

The scenes of sex & of touching intimacies don't require 70 pages of each man's inner dialogue afterwards. The reader is there as it is happening and fully aware of the experiences for the MCs.

This is a very solid and well-balanced piece of writing and of heart and of real feelings. I should make a shelf for "really-honest-love-story" - this book would have a place of honor. Loved it.
Profile Image for Sadie Forsythe.
Author 1 book272 followers
May 3, 2015
Wow, I can honestly say I did not expect to like this as much as I did. It's a wonderfully slow, angst free, subtle, Gay For You story and I very much enjoyed it. I liked the way it was situated in the time period. I liked the way Will still desperately loved his wife and missed his son. (Women are so often poorly presented in MM and that wasn't the case here.) I appreciated the way sex wasn't gratuitous, in either frequency or scope. These men didn't suddenly start going at it like rabbits just because they were snowed in together. They had to learn to work around Will's gimp leg, for example. I loved the way each man had his own personality and quirks. John and those chickens, for example. There was a lot to love in this book.

I did think the way John found to do good and contribute toward his redemption was a little sappy and unrealistic. I would have expected that sort of thing to take a year or more to set up, not a few weeks. Also, there wasn't any real excitement. Everything kind of plods along nicely, but anyone looking for an action-packed read would be disappointed.

All-in-all, it was a great feel-good read and I'll be looking for the sequel, as well as more of Jane Elliot's work.
Profile Image for ~ Lei ~ Reading Is An Adventure ~.
1,167 reviews242 followers
March 13, 2016
★★★☆☆ ~ 3 Stars
Just so you know, there are m/f scenes in this mostly m/m story. In case you don't like that type of thing in your m/m.

Anyway, Will and Molly are trying to take care of a ranch in the middle of nowhere and Will rescues John and is taken care of while he heals. One night John's past finds him and he leaves for two years. When he returns, he finds a lot has changed, Molly has died, Will's barely holding it together especially since his leg was injured and everything around the ranch is even more challenging.

Slowly, Will and John's attraction plays out in a sweet tale and they make some life changing decisions that work for both of them. A good story.
Profile Image for Joan.
2,196 reviews
January 2, 2015
I hadn't read the blurb when I started reading this book, and it was a bit of a surprise when it 'morphed' into m/m - not that I any objection to m/m! However, the story dragged for me and there were several points when I expected far more 'Western' action. Instead it was rather too bland with little conflict. It was ..okay.. Not a great m/m story and not a great Western either. It all just seemed too easy somehow.
Profile Image for Jordan Lombard.
Author 2 books52 followers
May 7, 2012
This was a cute, relaxing, and sweet romance novel.

My only issue was the fact that the "gun" that gets mentioned in Act I of a play is supposed to be used by the end, wasn't in the case of this book. There were a few things they did to prepare for a bad ending, and a few bad guys who didn't actually show up to cause more harm.

Otherwise, it was a good read.
Profile Image for R.J..
Author 264 books2,593 followers
May 6, 2010
I loved this book. It is the first MM historical *wild west* writing I have read and I couldn't put it down. I just can't wait for a sequel, I so want more of Will and John and their story as they move East...
Profile Image for k reads.
866 reviews20 followers
June 26, 2015
Not a whole lot of plot but a believable western romance that allows the relationship to build over time. I have a fondness for a good western. This was very enjoyable.
Profile Image for Elisa Rolle.
Author 53 books232 followers
December 12, 2010
Months ago a friend of mine complained that he doesn’t find enough western gay romance to read, and I thought, my friend, your research is an hard one; of all the hundreds and hundreds books I read, very few are truly western romance, a gender that was popular in the ’80 and ’90, but not so much now, and if you add the gay themed research, it becomes even more difficult.

End of the Trail is a perfect example of western romance, even in the reason why Will and John embark in a same-sex relationship, basically the lack of women around. When Will and John met the first time, Will is happily married with a good woman and they have a son; they both help John when he needs it, and John helps them back. There is no hint of sexual interest in Will for John, and maybe you can read some innuendos in John’s replies to Will, but nothing more. Three years later though the situation is changed, Will is a widower and John is back and this time there is no woman in the middle.

I like how the author dealt with Will and his mourning the dead wife: true, he is sad and he still loves his wife, but we also read that when Will went to town, he satisfied his urges in a bordello. So Will is able to distinct between love and sex, and he is no shamed by his body’s desires. In a way Will is neither ashamed by the body itself, even when he was not interested by John in a sexual way, he did look at the body and he did appreciate the beauty of it. I think that basically Will is a man that is true to himself and able to go beyond what society is asking or pretending. Another thing that is totally unrelated to Will’s attitude towards sex, but that for me it proves that he is a realistic man, is his attitude towards Tommy, his son: it’s clear that Will loves Tommy, and that he has never forgotten his son, but when his wife dies, Will is not able to take care of Tommy; his wife’s relatives come and they take Tommy away, and Will accepts that; even when he is planning to move back east, in a romance setting the first think in Will’s mind would have been to take back Tommy, and instead he decides to let him live with his aunt; someone can read it as selfishness, I read it as a realistic decision.

On the other hand John is a bit of a romance hero; he is an outlaw, he has killed plenty of men, and not always they were bad men; but John apparently has always an explanation, something that makes him the hero and not the villain; John is always the wronged one and as such, Will has to absolve him for all his sins. I think that, in the end, John is a wonderful scoundrel, and that is a typical romance hero indead. What makes him different from a romance stereotype is that John has really no shame, he is not repentant and basically he would do all again, after all he had what he wanted.

So even if End of the Trail is a classical western romance, it doesn’t play exactly according to the rules, and I think this is a good read for who wants an enough realistic historical fiction that has not lost the romance perspective (and of course the happily ever after).

Profile Image for Gerry Burnie.
Author 8 books28 followers
April 9, 2013
Gerry B's Book Reviews

4.0 bees

A brief overview of the books I’ve reviewed will reveal that I like westerns, especially those written in the classic style, and here’s another one: End of the Trail by Jane Elliot [Manifold Press, February 23, 2013].

I was first attracted to it by Robert Plotz’s cover image—two men riding hard with unfurled lariats in their hands. It is evocative of the old ‘penny westerns,’ with lots of action portrayed; however, the only problem being that it has little to do with the story except the western theme.

The story itself is set in the old west, although no specific time period is mentioned. The main character, Will Connors, is a lonely rancher: hard working; honest; and mildly handicapped (game leg). He is also a widower whose son has gone east, and so he is left to work the ranch on his own.

He first meets John Anderson three years prior when Anderson rides onto his property, wounded. Connors and his wife nurse him back to health, but it is only after he leaves that they learn that Anderson is an outlaw. In the meantime Connors’ wife dies, and John Anderson unexpectedly reappears looking for sanctuary. In need of both the help and company, Connors consents, and the two men form a friendship that ultimately evolves into a sexual relationship as well.

I like the pace the author uses to bring it about. These are mature men, after all, and Will is anything but impetuous, so there is no hopping into the sack at the clank of a belt buckle. Neither are there any moments of high drama: i.e. shootouts, stampedes, or murderous villains. There is one scheming neighbour who is trying to for Will into a sale, but no range war erupts. Which brings me around to the blurb.

Story blurbs are important because these help the shopper decide whether the plot is interesting enough to invest money into it. Consequently, the writer usually gives it their best shot with a handful of colourful adjectives and superlatives. However, one must also be careful not to over do it either unintentionally or intentionally. In this case, while the blurb was well written, I felt the story didn’t quite reach the dramatic level suggested by it.

Mind you, I hasten to add that I was quite satisfied with the story as it was.

All-in-all, I feel justified in recommending End of the Trail for your reading enjoyment. Four bees.
Profile Image for Elizabeth H..
896 reviews23 followers
October 31, 2014
4.5 rounding down to 4.0 just because I was driven batty by the parenthetical expressions. (See note at end of this review; I'm rounding up to 5 stars as of December 2010)

Thirty pages into this novel I thought it wasn't very good, but it really got going shortly thereafter. And I really enjoyed finishing it, turning pages in a rush.

There is a sort of delightful naivete about the story. There's almost no introspection, but that's appropriate from the third person narrator, Will. The course of the relationship seems inexorable in the sweetest way, and Will allows himself to be swept along in the tide. I can't say that there is a single "love" scene in the whole book; what love there is is understated. You certainly can't accuse this book of being too emotional. Usually I would complain about that, but within this setting, with this particular character, this approach works. Will is seduced almost without him recognizing it is happening.

The sex scenes are also understated and yet perfectly clear; the opening few sex scenes are actually the best and are quite inventive. I'm not usually into any sort of menage at all, but these two scenes with two different prostitutes work very well. For me, anyway.

I do think the author has set up this storyline for a sequel, and I've got to admit I'd buy it immediately.

About those words in parentheses within the narrative: hate, hate, hate them. I find that to be lazy writing that often leads to excessively long sentences -- or excessively long concepts not easily comprehended as the reader rushes along. Take out the parenthetical expression, and the sentence should stand on its own. Too often that doesn't happen. Sigh. I think I would have been tempted to give this little, sweet book a five if not for those....

Note added December 2010: I've re-read this book because I kept thinking about it. Any book that stays in my memory this clearly, and provides such good memories, definitely deserves to be rated with five stars. I'm really hoping for a sequel!
Profile Image for Blue Bayou . .
503 reviews17 followers
November 13, 2012
What a great read! 4.5 stars rounded up. I loved John and Will. I usually like a little angst however this story doesn't really have any and that was just fine. The story was great and the MC's were not overly described but enough that you could feel their attraction and love. Sometimes authors are so involved with getting the attraction fleshed out, as it were, that they miss the liking each other.
John obviously had a colorful and illegal back ground however Will did what I believe is wonderful, he took John as is from that day one. And even though we don't know what Will came back, we can be sure of why he stayed even though John never pointedly states why.
I loved this story and I think this is going to be one of my go to reads during slumps and for comfort... Cannot wait to read follow up story.
Profile Image for Mary Devereaux.
124 reviews4 followers
February 5, 2015
3.5 stars.... I enjoyed the story of Will and John, I really did. However, the editing was somewhat sloppy and I think the author missed the opportunity to show a bit more angst - or struggle - on Will's part. I can accept the seemingly always hetero man suddenly being gay well enough, but in reality it should've taken a bit more to get him there.
It was a great read, but I almost felt like a lot of the "good" parts were missing. For example, Will wants nothing to do with Johns fingers near his ass, but then at some point gives into letting him take him that way... How'd we get there? Or what about the "Don't shut me out" John when they're with the whore? Where'd that demanding, controlling man go?
The plot moved too fast, I was left wishing there had been just a bit ... More.
Profile Image for Meggie.
4,904 reviews
January 2, 2012
This was well written old western story, more or less I would say it was romantic adventure about two exceptional well developed characters. Will and John path crosses accidentally one day, when John runs for his life, with a shot wound he gotten by a members of his old gang. Will, being a good man, helps John out. He doesn't know how intervened his life will become with Johns, after saving his life. And their adventure starts. The story was interestingly plotted and for my piece of mind realistic enough.
Profile Image for Meka♥books.
506 reviews3 followers
February 3, 2015
Um... sounded promising but just didn't deliver. This was like placing a pot of water on the stove to boil on low heat just to find out you never turned on the stove. Sex scenes were meh and the characters didn't seem to have chemistry. Unless someone can recommend another book by this author that "delivers" in storyline, character chemistry, and sex scenes, End of the Trail and author Jane Elliot will be the end of the trail for me.
Profile Image for *Bohemian*.
299 reviews11 followers
January 2, 2015
Western kinda story. Not much talking, but enough was said. A very refreshing read after some more wordy stories I've gone through lately.

There wasn't much passion in this, but there was a gallon of curiosity, a fingerful of wonder and a pucket full of small gestures that showed romance and even love between the widowed and crippled Will and the outlaw John who came back for good.

A wonderful surprise for a free story (only for today!).

Profile Image for Kendra T.
2,443 reviews31 followers
February 17, 2015
This book started out pretty slow to the point that I thought it was a 3 star read, but it got more interesting and a lot better as the book went on. Will and John had such an easy chemistry between them, even when it felt like they shouldn't. There wasn't a lot of angst in this book and there were times I wondered how John managed to get away with being so hidden, but it worked for the book and I really ended up enjoying it. Glad I read this.
Profile Image for Tess.
1,920 reviews26 followers
February 3, 2016
Nice story.

This is a romance that takes place in the "wild west", between a cattle-ranching widow and an outlaw with wanted posters all across the west.

If I had any criticism, it would be that there were surprisingly few obstacles between these guys and their HEA. I mean, it's the 1800s, these are two men together and one will be hanged if he's ever identified, yet nothing ever comes close to threatening them!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 71 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.