The Last Ride (novel) by Thomas Edison 1995: A Comprehensive Review

Title: The Last Ride
Author: Thomas Eidson
Genre: Western Fiction, Historical Fiction
Published: 1995
Pages: Approximately 288

Synopsis: “The Last Ride” by Thomas Eidson is a gripping Western novel set against the backdrop of the American frontier in the late 19th century. The story follows the journey of Matthew Blocker, a retired Texas Ranger who embarks on a perilous mission to escort a prisoner across the treacherous terrain of New Mexico. As Blocker and his prisoner, Melquiades Estrada, traverse the rugged landscape, they confront both natural obstacles and human adversaries, leading to a harrowing and transformative journey for both men.

The narrative begins with Blocker reluctantly accepting the task of delivering Estrada to the authorities in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in exchange for a pardon for his own troubled past. As they navigate through desolate landscapes and face dangers lurking in the wilderness, Blocker and Estrada develop an unlikely bond forged through shared experiences and mutual survival.

Central to the novel is the exploration of themes such as redemption, justice, and the complexities of moral choices in a lawless frontier. Eidson portrays vivid characters and vividly depicts the harsh realities of life in the Old West, capturing the essence of a tumultuous era marked by violence, hardship, and the struggle for survival.


  • Redemption and Forgiveness: The novel examines Blocker’s quest for redemption and Estrada’s desire for justice, both grappling with their pasts and seeking a chance for a new beginning.
  • Friendship and Loyalty: Eidson explores the evolving relationship between Blocker and Estrada, highlighting themes of trust, loyalty, and camaraderie amidst adversity.
  • Morality and Justice: Through its characters and narrative, the novel raises questions about morality, duty, and the pursuit of justice in a frontier society governed by its own rules.

Narrative Style: “The Last Ride” is characterized by Eidson’s evocative and lyrical prose, which captures the rugged beauty of the American Southwest and the intensity of the characters’ emotional journeys. The novel’s pacing is deliberate, allowing for introspection and deepening of character development amidst the action-driven plot.

Critical Reception: The novel received acclaim for its richly drawn characters, atmospheric setting, and Eidson’s skillful blend of historical detail and gripping storytelling. Critics praised the novel’s authenticity and its exploration of universal themes within the framework of a classic Western tale.

About the Author: Thomas Eidson is an American author known for his contributions to Western fiction. With a background in literature and history, Eidson brings a depth of research and authenticity to his novels, capturing the spirit of the Old West and the resilience of its inhabitants.

Legacy: “The Last Ride” remains a standout work in Thomas Eidson’s body of work, celebrated for its memorable characters, poignant themes, and evocative portrayal of the American frontier. The novel continues to resonate with readers for its exploration of human nature and the enduring quest for meaning and justice.

Adaptation: In 2003, “The Last Ride” was adapted into a film titled “The Missing,” directed by Ron Howard and starring Tommy Lee Jones as the character similar to Blocker. While the film diverged from the novel in certain aspects, it retained the core themes of redemption, survival, and the bond between characters in the unforgiving landscape of the Old West.

Conclusion: “The Last Ride” by Thomas Eidson is a compelling Western novel that captivates readers with its vivid storytelling, richly drawn characters, and exploration of timeless themes. Through its portrayal of Matthew Blocker and Melquiades Estrada’s journey across the frontier, Eidson offers a poignant meditation on morality, redemption, and the enduring power of human connection. For fans of Western fiction and historical novels, “The Last Ride” stands as a testament to Eidson’s talent for creating immersive narratives that resonate long after the final page.

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