Il'ja edited the summary of Cities of the Plain Monday, January 16, 2012.
It is New Mexico, 1952, and John Grady Cole (of "All the Pretty Horses") and Billy Parham ("The Crossing") are working as ranch hands. Camping out on trail drives and horse auctions and sitting around with the boys telling stories of the taming of this territory keep them busy, but not busy enough to stay out of trouble. In a ride south, John Grady falls in love with a beautiful, but ill, prostitute and determines to have her, to pay whatever price is demanded. Billy is initially against John Grady's desire to wed the girl, but loyal to his friend, agrees to help him spirit her away from the brutal life in the brothel to the isolated homestead John Grady has been preparing.
Only the unhinged affections of the girl's pimp stand in John Grady's way.
Tragedy of the highest mark and McCarthy's timeless prose leave us with an epic of the not-so-old American West.