BOOKS: WILD WARRIORS

INDIANS WEAR THE WHITE HATS IN A ZANY WESTERN

Al Capp's long-gone hillbilly comic strip, Li'l Abner, wasn't elevated humor, but it was funny, and that's pretty much the case with Zeke and Ned (Simon & Schuster; 478 pages; $25), by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana. Advocates for Native American rights will be flummoxed to learn that, as the authors tell it, Cherokees endured the Trail of Tears to the Indian Territory only to end up in Capp's Dogpatch.

McMurtry and Ossana set their story in the Cherokee town of Tahlequah, but it's Dogpatch, all right. Early in the novel the two Cherokee heroes, the legendary gunfighter Ned Christie and...

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