Historical research has found that African-Americans had a visible presence in nearly all walks of life, including cowboying, all over the West. Reading most western fiction, back to the turn of the last century, you would not know it. There was, however, no Gideon Miles on the payroll for the feds in the Wyoming and Montana of 1885. So Edward Grainger has had to invent one.
Thus there are the particular pleasures to be had in a Gideon Miles story. Miles embodies the fierce independence celebrated in the western hero who not only stands up to criminals. He must remain untouched by undisguised racial prejudice, and the color of his skin means he can trust no one--not even another law officer. Add to that another complication: as an armed lawman, he can fire only when fired upon.
Miles to Little Ridge articulates all this very nicely. Suspend your disbelief about black U.S. marshals on the frontier, and Heath Lowrance takes you on a journey that honors what you surely care about--eliminating hardened criminals and upholding the law, without making a single compromise. Not only that, Miles represents the saving importance of personal integrity. That's a value that has been celebrated by the western since the beginning. To the extent that we can learn such a thing from fiction, it's here to be learned and learned again.