The Searchers

[The Searchers]
Moral assessment: 
Type: Literature
Nothing inappropriate.
Some morally inappropriate content.
Contains significant sections contrary to faith or morals.
Contains some lurid passages, or presents a general ideological framework that could confuse those without much Christian formation.
Contains several lurid passages, or presents an ideological framework that is contrary or foreign to Christian values.
Explicitly contradicts Catholic faith or morals, or is directed against the Church and its institutions.

A group of Comanches attacks the Pauley ranch. Amos, brother of the owner, and Martin, an orphan who lives with the family,  discover that the Indians have abducted the two daughters of the family and killed the others. They begin a quest to find the girls.

"The Searchers" is the story of a quest that consumes both protagonists, becoming almost their obsession, even to the point of absurdity. Amos and Martin feel the responsibility to continue their efforts to find them. For Amos, the search helps give meaning to his life, which he had practically lost because of the death of his relatives. But Martin, with a whole life ahead of him, must accept the fact that his efforts will prevent him from achieving other plans for the future that he has forged. And he must do so, despite the knowledge that it will be, most likely, a fruitless search.

The author masterfully sets the stage in the era in which the action unfolds and the plot is very well situated in the historical context. The novel also masterfully portrays and depicts the main characters, to the point that the reader gets to know them better than they themselves do.

The book combines in a very intriguing way the strange sense of justice of the protagonists, their unwavering determination -which leads them, as often happens in the West, to impose their own morality of life on the frontier-, and the advice of those who realize that the search is somehow meaningless. On many occasions the reader will wonder why  the searchers continue their efforts, and the answer is not easy. It seems that both started it for justice, but, at least for Amos, the quest is perpetuated by revenge. For Martin it is about gratitude for the Pauley family, but he keeps on for fear of his partner. It helps one reflect on determination and perseverance in our own businesses and endeavors, and how only those purposes that are inspired by a noble ideal can ennoble the person.

This novel inspired the movie of J. Ford, also a classic Western, which faithfully takes to screen this relentless pursuit, portraying the anguish of a race that has no end. Obviously, as is often the case, the novel is better.

J.M.C. (Spain, 2015)