Reviews for Hackamore 12 : Trade Secrets
Guest chapter 13 . 9/10/2016
The easy banner between brothers and Jaime, really captures the moment, and the focus of their attention.
Scott mistaking Wes for Wes Hardin. No, Scott, no.
Johnny's adjusting, or not, to having family, and all that goes with it, swings, yea to nay, like the pendulum on the grandfather clock in the great room. He is still torn between the love of family and the call of the wild. Half truths; past lies; shouting silences; still fuel his mercurial changes, from family to freedom.

This installment of the Hackamore Series, shows, Johnny's struggles and successes, in being pulled in two diverse directions. At times, the pull almost splits him, into again being two different people, Madrid ar Lancer.
Only, for now, Lancer may be winning the rope pull.
September 10, 2016.
Guest chapter 12 . 9/10/2016
Sorry to keep harping about this, but the televised episode of, "Blood Rock", could have so benefited from this fan fiction tag. They would have complimented each other, filled out the characters, and been the logical next phase after, E1. Oh well, grateful that it exists in, Lancer fan fiction.

Johnny's dessert was a chuckle. Continue to admire Cipriano. He is clever at reading Johnny.
Great description of the town and the building tension.

Scott, using action rather than words, proved he felt that Ben needed to meet Price. (Again understanding, how Ben felt).

Johnny remains, "the less said about fathers and sons, the better"
September 10, 2016.
Guest chapter 11 . 9/9/2016
Originally thought the televised episode of "Blood Rock", was just an ordinary story featuring mainly people outside the main cast. The story line concerning, Ben and his estranged father, Price. Yes there were some underlying currents, that mirrored some of the Lancer problems regarding Murdoch and his sons. For example, Ben asking questions about his father. Questions that Scott might have wondered about Murdoch. Questions that made Scott uncomfortable, because he understood Ben's POV.

But it wasn't until I read your tag, that I realized just how much more the televised episode could have done with the similarities. For example: Price bargging the Lancer dinner. Your tag fleshes out the deepening wedge, that this puts between Murdoch and Johnny. (Also, the similarities of Laura taking Ben, with her, when she left Price. Johnny is keenly aware of the repeat of same story regarding his mother). Price's debt money for Ben. Johnny associating that debt, with Murdoch's partnership deal etc.

With the information given in your tag, the main plot of the present, and the sub-plot of the past, this episode, taken together as a whole, could have been a major-pivotal, show case drama.
September 9, 2016.
Guest chapter 10 . 9/8/2016
Scott's greenhorn initiation was humorous (obviously, not for Scott). But surviving the serious side of the initiation, was a definite rite of passage. Scott did himself proud. He handled the breaking in process by, " standing the gaff like a man". The end reward: Scott passes from greenhorn to being a hand. Johnny's accolade: yeah, this brother of his would do to ride the river with.
Great depiction of round up life. In reference to Johnny, loved the line: "I'm astonished you've lived this long".
September 8, 2016.
Guest chapter 9 . 9/8/2016
Scott, is still the greenhorn dude from the east, but he is no longer pretending to being a ranch hand, he is giving it his all, in learning to be a ranch hand. Along the way, he is also learning how to be a part owner of the ranch. This chapter shows just how hard Scott is trying to adapt to his new life. Loved the bit about the nesting tins. Also loved the bit about the combination knife, fork, and spoon.
Johnny, is still being forced to take it easy. With time on his hands, he wonders if he will ever get used to being broken in. But the extra time, does allow him to practice his gunfighter skills.
The recurring theme that seem to dog Murdoch, Scott and Johnny, is the past. The past that never was over. The past that continues to hang over them like a deafening silence. Makes one want to shout: "Get it said".
September 8,2016.
Guest chapter 8 . 9/7/2016
Now we understand why Teresa was so jumpy, last chapter. Johnny is learning, by showing compassion, and trying to reassure Teresa. The dead Mrs. Wallace, from, "Blood Rock", is brought back to life in this nice tag. And we have a very sneaky Scott comically wrangling Murdoch.

A very special thank you for resurrecting the Land Pirates Plot. After it was introduced in E1, the the rest of the story was never televised. So many loose ends were never revealed. For example:
Exactly, who hired Pardee? What was the reason for attacking Lancer? What was the objective of the land pirates? Why didn't Pardee finish off Murdoch, the same time he killed Paul? (killing off everyone, at the same time, is Pardee's calling card. As in the murder of Senora Maria Luis Villaneuva Bocanegra and Gasper).
How did Murdoch get back to the ranch, after Pardee shot him? Why did Pardee let Murdoch recover and give him time to get reinforcements? After Pardee's death, is Lancer still in danger? The remaining other hired guns have fled. But who hired them and the identity of the land pirates is still in question. It is good that Scott and Johnny, in this chapter, are plotting to find out some answers.
September 7, 2016.
Guest chapter 7 . 9/6/2016
The art of breaking horses. The art of breaking Johnny. The wild horses and the wild Johnny being one and the same. Both having know freedom; both rebelling at attempts to break them; to make them useful. Only whose idea of usefulness. One way of life must die for the other way of life to be born. This piece shows Johnny laboring between the two. Still not sure that the loss of his personal freedom is worth the price of family.
The David and Goliath image, sending a young expendable child out to deal with legendary Longhorns,
Was chilling.
Good one, setting the Pinks on Murdoch. The sons should really do it. About the only way, they are going to get Murdoch to share the past with them. Murdoch being "closed-mounted", is an understatement.
"Living with people stuff", would be hard to learn, after being alone and on your own. People also falling into various categories. Hardest of all, people that are strangers, being family. No wonder that Johnny is longing for barns.
September 6, 2016.
Guest chapter 6 . 9/5/2016
Johnny being Johnny, being a smart - alec. And the Dr., not buying it. Tough to get around the Dr., especially since he knows his profession. And the Dr., is a keen read of human nature. When Johnny says, "I hear you".
Sam replies, "I'm sure of it. Listenening's another matter, though".. Johnny knows that Sam has his number.

Johnny being Johnny, being kind. Sending the money to the gentle priest. And now, we know, what he did with the guest money. Scott continues to look out for his gunfighter brother. Takes a table in the back of the room.
Good fleshing out of the bunkhouse and roundup crew.
( various ages and backgrounds; cowboy humor; mixed languages; testing of work knowledge; food; hands vs the owners; etc.).

Johnny being Johnny, as Madrid. Protecting greenhorn Scott, his big brother.
September 5, 2016.
Guest chapter 5 . 9/5/2016
Johnny is not the only one surprised that Murdoch didn't yell about the shootings lessons for Scott. Yet it would make sense for Scott to have the lessons, if he was going to give it a go in the west. The ranch would benefit from the different skills that both sons could offer. Better still, if brother taught brother, the other's skills, both would be equally skilled. The ranch and the brothers would benefit all the way around.

The details in the shooting lessons, was educational.(glad to learn,also, that there still could be future grandchildren).

Also appreciated the details regarding Johnny's Indian
Bracelets. Had figured that the story might be linked to an older Johnny, and a possible serious romantic interest. But the ladies loving a much younger Johnny, brought a smile, as well.

Nice tie in with the Crows that Scott saw on his train trip,
And the Chiricahua warriors that Johnny saw in Arizona.
Respectful and realistic about their plight.

While the brothers are getting it said and done, that cannot be said of Murdoch. If this is how it is going to be for him, maybe he should have just bought that dog, he mentioned to Teresa, instead. It is still two against one.
It would be unnerving to be under his sons, the strangers, constant scrutiny. Being dissected as both a father and a man. After all that waiting, for his family to be reunited, the Murdoch here, is still waiting.
September 5, 2016.
Guest chapter 4 . 9/4/2016
Back in Hackaore 10, I was carping about, that there should be a story about Johnny teaching Scott more about gunfighters, gun fighting, and gun fighting rigs.
Guess that this will teach one to be more patient. Because right here in chapter 4, my wish was granted.

Looks like Scott shares being observant with his brother.
Scott noticing Johnny's reluctance to part with his gun, and his subsequent actions, to protect Johnny, was very subtle, yet very intuitive.( In the last chapter, Scott did not use the gun tree. In this chapter, keeping his gun within Johnny's reach).

The visit to the gunsmiths and the barn shooting range, was educational and nicely researched. It had the right feel of how a gunfighter would check and know his ware (knowledge of guns, bullets, leather, etc).

Loved the banner from brother to brother. Scott's efforts to teach Johnny, and, yet, learn not to underestimate him. Loved too, Scott, no longer thinking of Boston, as home. Also glad that Scott was astute enough to take Johnny up on his offer of gunfighter lessons. Guess this will be two against Murdoch.
September 4, 2016.
Guest chapter 3 . 9/3/2016
Ah, Johnny being Johnny.
The analogy of Mr. Phipitt and the pipits.
Rainbow chandelier. The gun tree. Wild Bill's, gunfighter back to the wall, table. Still breaking palominos. Open towns.
Proding Scott into admitting that he is a deipnosophist and a perpilocutionist.
Goating Murdoch, with his offer to help Scott pick out a new gun rig.
Yup, Johnny being Johnny. Madrid, that is. Smile.
September, 3, 2016.
Guest chapter 2 . 9/3/2016
In chapter 2, "the tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife". Johnny inability to find his, port in a storm, regarding the legal double talk and the frustrations of the new family dynamics, was painfully funny. One really felt how awkward, this new life was for him.
One also felt for Scott. He showed his tension by handling the awkwardness with a touch of funeral humor. He also hid behind his manners and gift of small talk. Liked this observation: "Scott only ever talked about stuff that floated right at the top of things like leaves floating on the creek, and not about the secret stuff in the mud and sand at the bottom".

The only one truly above it all was Teresa. Normally, she is underutilized. And it was encouraging to see that her character would play a pivotal role in Johnny's quest to eventually, understand family. Here the sons are signing to obtain their legal inheritance. But for ward, Teresa, Johnny observed: " she wasn't getting anything out of this.."
He was puzzled that she was happy and excited for all, even demonstrative in displaying her feelings. For Johnny, this is a real lesson to be learned. Witnessing his " new sister's " altruism towards the entire family, will give him something to think about. A needed piece of the puzzle, to help figure out this new puzzling family.
September 3, 2016.
Guest chapter 1 . 9/2/2016
The evening atmosphere of chapter 1, is most beguiling. Johnny nesting in by the fire. Teresa knitting. Scott and Murdoch reading. Anejo tequila been sipped. Accommodations for anyone else's?

The old proverb, "still waters run deed", applies to Johnny as the watcher. This POV from Johnny, when he is still more Madrid, than Lancer, takes you far below the surface. Loved the line: " away from eyes that saw too much and eyes that didn't see enough". The similarities, that Johnny hid in the silences; while Scott hid in the conversations, was very thought provoking.

Wish Scott would have persuaded Johnny into further discussion regarding the corrida. (Just bought Ernest Hemingway's, "Death In The Afternoon". Would have been educational to get Johnny's thoughts on the cultural side of bullfighting).
September 2, 2016.
aquaesulis76 chapter 13 . 6/17/2011
Just discovered Lancer, (thanks to my aunt's dodgy, grainy DVDs) and just discovered your fics. I knew someone out there would be writing deep, thoughful, insightful stories about Scott & Johnny - and thank you for doing so & letting the rest of us have a read too! I started with this one, just because it developed exactly the area I wanted to read, how these two brothers, so miss-matched on the surface, became such close friends, as well as brothers. There's so much I could talk (well, type) about what I loved about the whole piece, but I'll restrain myself by saying every sentence was a delight, and completely captured the budding relationship I was trying to formulate in my head. Johnny calling Scott 'Boston' never got tired, and Scott's quiet anger at Johnny's lost childhood was brought over so well without calling attention to it.

One of the images from the series that kept coming into my head while I was reading this, was of Murdoch and Johnny with their arms around each other's shoulders, laughing. This fic really took Johnny to the beginning of that possibility - not calling him father yet, not calling the three of them a family yet, but to a place where he was ready to take that further step. (I'm now going to have to borrow the first DVD again, and watch the first episodes in a bit more detail!). Basically, I loved the whole thing, and I'm now going to plunge into all the rest of your Lancer work :) Thanks again! (and if you do want a much more detailed, over-the-top critique, just drop me a line. I'm enough of a feedback-whore that I'm willing to gratify someone else's craving)
Ecda chapter 8 . 11/29/2010
Love your story. It is interesting and the relationship between the brothers is just fun! Great job!
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