Confessions of a Gunfighter

Fiction - Western
336 Pages
Reviewed on 03/11/2013
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Author Biography

Born in West Texas, Tell Cotten is a seventh generation Texan. He comes from a family with a ranching heritage and is a member of the Sons of the Republic of Texas. He is currently in the cattle business, and he resides in West Texas with his wife, Andi, and their two children.
Tell has enjoyed writing from an early age, and he also has a great love of the history of the west. CONFESSIONS OF A GUNFIGHTER is his first novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite

It's the old West, Texas specifically, in those years right after the Civil War and notorious gunfighter Rondo Landon, or Joe Lenders as he often calls himself, sits in a jail cell in Midway, Texas. His cousin, Texas lawman Lt. Yancy Landon, and Judge Parker listen to Rondo tell of his years as an outlaw and a killer. Rondo was born in eastern Louisiana in 1851 and his father Noley served with the Confederacy. Reconstructionists claim Noley Landon's farm for back taxes and Noley, Uncle Elliot and Rondo head out West to Texas where Noley has been promised a job working on a ranch. They buy a covered wagon and some horses and meet up with a wagon train headed West. Something in Rondo does not like the man called Mr. Jones who is in charge of the last wagon in this wagon train. Noley and Elliot are killed by Comancheros and their covered wagon is looted. All Rondo has left is a small amount of money he recovers from a hiding place in the wagon and a six-shooter his father took from a dead Union soldier. Grieving and enraged, Rondo mounts his horse and takes off, coming upon a man sleeping peacefully on his bedroll. What role will this man, Ben Kinrich, play in Rondo's future and who exactly is Ben Kinrich?

"Confessions of a Gunfighter" by Tell Cotten is a delightfully well-written novel of Texas and the Western territories in those years right after the Civil War. The plot-line moves believably with "come alive" dialogue between characters who are multi-faceted and very believable. Main characters Rondo, Ben Kinrich and Lee Mattingly, as well as all the major and minor players develop as human beings, authentic in their not always perfect ways. "Confession of a Gunfighter" should be on reading lists everywhere as it is a story that must not be missed. There are books written that are so good that no word on any page can be skipped. "Confessions of a Gunfighter" is one of those special works.

Trudi LoPreto

"Confessions of a Gunfighter" by Tell Cotton is the story of the Old West. It is set in 1871 Texas and tells the life story of Rondo Landon. The story begins as Rondo wakes up in jail and believes he will be put in prison for a very long time. Rondo believes it is time to tell his whole story to the judge and Lieutenant Yancy Landon, a distant cousin. He begins his story when he was a young boy traveling West with his Pa. After struggles and hardships Rondo finds himself alone and wandering through the Wild West and trying to avoid Indian attacks. He is found by Ben Kinrich, a fast-draw gunfighter. Ben takes Rondo under his wing and teaches him all he knows – how to rob banks, stagecoaches and horse and cow rustling. This is not the life Rondo really wanted and he rides off and leaves Kinrich and his gang behind at the first chance he gets. His reputation as a fast gun follows and so do his enemies. Rondo finally ends up working on a horse ranch, falling in love and trying to put the past that keeps following him behind.

"Confessions of a Gunfighter" is a great historical story of the days of Cowboys and Indians. Tell Cotten has written a very realistic descriptive story of the struggles that took place along the wagon train routes, the towns and the ranches of the people who were the early settlers of the West. This book is a page turner from beginning to end. The characters are well-developed and very real. This book would be perfect for the revival of some good old cowboy TV shows or a full length movie. I look forward to reading more of Tell Cotton books. This was a definite winner for the western genre fan.

Brenda Casto

Rondo Landon never wanted to become an outlaw, instead it had been his dream to work on a ranch breaking broncs. He grew up on a small farm in Louisiana with his father and uncle Elliot, who was more like a brother to him. His father always said he had a way with guns, and gifted him with an ivory handled six shooter. When the Landon's couldn't pay the taxes on their farm they decided to head to Texas and hooked up with a wagon train. When something happens that takes the life of his dad and uncle, Rondo finds himself seeking revenge and kills the wagon train leader. So at the age of fourteen he finds himself on the run with only his six-shooter and his horse Slim. When he meets up with Ben Kinrich, a notorious outlaw who offers to take him under his wing and teach him survival skills, he really has no choice. Soon Rondo finds himself working with Kinrich, and as his reputation grows he becomes one of the most wanted men in Texas!

"Confessions of a Gunfighter" is told in such a straightforward manner that I really felt I was hearing the voice of Rondo Landon. The author allowed me to experience the path that Rondo chose. When we meet Rondo, he is in jail, but then Tell Cotten takes us back to the beginning, giving me a unique glimpse of a young boy, with hopes and dreams, only to find that the road of an outlaw was his only choice. I kept thinking that Rondo was a gunfighter with a conscience. Along with the strong connection that I felt with the main character, I also found myself waffling back and forth where the character of Ben Kinrich was concerned. His dramatic mood swings, and it along with his twisted ideas seemed very realistic and it literally jumps off of the pages. I really couldn't decide whether he was actually Rondo's friend or not. Mr. Cotten also brings to life the feeling of a dangerous time in the west when Indian attacks were common, and figuring out who the bad guy is wasn't always easy! Mr. Cotten's telling of this story effortlessly pulled me back in time, allowing me a brief experience of how the West really was. The sign of a good book for me is hating to see it end, and though the author gives us a great ending, I was left missing Rondo and his adventures once the story ended! Tell Cotten certainly knows how to weave a story, and is an author who really knows his stuff when it comes to telling a western.

Jack Magnus

"Confessions of a Gunfighter" by Tell Cotten is the account of Rondo Landon, a young man who was raised on a farm in Eastern Louisiana by his father and uncle. The story takes place in the tumultuous times following the Civil War when many farmers and landholders in the South had their holdings confiscated by Northern soldiers and officials. Rondo's father loses his farm, and the three set out for the west in a Conestoga wagon. They are on their way to Texas where his father has a job offer on a ranch when tragedy strikes, and Rondo is left on his own in a hostile land. Starving and terrified, he meets up with Ben Kinrich, a notorious outlaw who befriends Rondo and becomes his mentor. Rondo does not want to be an outlaw but is reluctant to leave the man who has become like a second father to him.

"Confessions" is written as a first-hand account by Rondo, and the story had me hooked from the very first words. Cotten brings this time in American history to life and gives the reader an insight into the aftermath of the War. I enjoyed the interactions between Kinrich and Rondo, particularly while he is teaching Rondo how to shoot and survive in their hideout. Rondo both looks up to and fears Kinrich and, while he seems to enjoy the excitement of the jobs they pull, he is appalled by the violence and killing. "Confessions of a Gunfighter" is a grand tale of the American West. It is filled with excitement, adventure and discovery and it is definitely a fun read.

Maria Beltran

"Confessions of a Gunfighter" is set in Texas in the year 1871. Rondo Landon makes a confession as he faces a long prison term. He was born on a small farm in Louisiana ten years before the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1851. His mother died when he was very young and Rondo is raised by his father. He grows up surrounded by men. This is the wild west and as a young boy, he was given a Colt gun by his father. He learns to shoot well and soon becomes known for his Colt six shooter. He is also infamous for robbery, murder and stealing cows. Living the life of an outlaw, he was finally caught by his own cousin. This is his story.

Tell Cotten's "Confessions of a Gunfighter" is a historical fiction that happens during the turbulent years just before the Civil War in the United States of America. Told in the first person narrative mode, it is a touching tale of a boy whose life is shaped by the circumstances of the time. Straightforward and objective, his confession is devoid of emotion and rationalization. This makes the story completely believable. The development of Rondo Landon's character is done in such a way that he becomes a real person. The story is character and dialogue driven. As I turn the pages of the book, I feel myself being transplanted to this period. This is proof of the writer's gift in story telling. And as I turn the last page of "Confessions of a Gunfighter", I have to snap out and come back to the present time. Amazing read! I really like the author's writing style.


"Confessions of a Gunfighter" is an extremely well written, page turning, fictional western. The author weaves a story that keeps you hooked from beginning to end. A well thought out plot that envelops you into the very characters of the story. I highly recommend you take the time to read this great novel! It is a clean and highly entertaining western!


"Confessions of a Gunfighter" is a wonderful read! Well written with believable dialogue, "Confessions" takes you into the life of Rondo Landon and the choices that he makes. Told in first person, the reader feels Rondo's life struggle with his conscience as he seeks redemption. Long after the conclusion, I find myself thinking of his choices and the choices we judge today. "Confessions of a Gunfighter" is a gift to those who treasure well written western genre.


As a avid reader of western books, I would have to say that "Confessions of a Gunfighter" is one of the best books that I have read. From the beginning the reader is drawn in and captivated by the story. Rondo, the main character in the book, has a good conscience, and it bothers him when he has to do things that are wrong. His conscience guides him in many of the choices he makes throughout the book. As you read the story, you cannot help but to enter in to the thoughts of Rondo as he struggles to try to do what is right. The book is full of action, drama and suspense, but the story line is very realistic, and though it is fiction, it could have really happened. Tell Cotten, the author, obviously has a very good knowledge of the old west and writes with a very realistic view as to how things really were back then. Another point that scores high in my opinion is that the book is very clean. There is no bad language or unnecessary sexual overtones. That is rare today, and I find "Confessions of a Gunfighter" a very enjoyable read and because of that, I feel comfortable recommending it to anyone. "Confessions" would make a wonderful movie. Very well written; good writing style; good story; and good characters; I give "Confessions of a Gunfighter" five stars!

Ann Bailey

This is an amazing first novel. Told in the first person by the gunfighter
Rondo Landon, the reader is led through his adventures - some
dangerous, some amusing. The characters are so clearly defined that
they come to life for the reader. Tell Cotten's knowledge of horses,
cattle and ranching makes this story believable and very enjoyable.
I,for one, am looking forward to new novels from this author.

Robin Askew

Very enjoyable book, great story. I was hooked from the begining and couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen to Rondo. The writer really made it easy to picture the west and each character. I would really like for Rondo's story to continue,hopefully there will be another book.