In The Best Man by Maggie Osborne (Warner, $5.50, 0446605271), three spoiled, contentious girls start on the cattle drive to Abilene. The Roark sisters, Frederick, Alexander, and Leslie, none man enough to suit their late father, must succeed in bringing 2,000 longhorns up from Texas, or see the ranch turned over to their father's fourth wife. They start out clumsy and prideful with misplaced loyalties and jealousies. Trail boss Dal Frisco has his own past life to do penance for, and he leads the journey across miles of treacherous landscape and into unexplored territory the nuances of the human heart.

Despite stampedes and thievery and villainy, the Roark sisters persevere. In the process, the daughters of Joe Roark discover bonds of loving, sisterhood, and courage beyond their imagining. Move over, L'Amour and McMurtry; these days, the best man in Western writing is Maggie Osborne.

Reviewed by Sandy Huseby.

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