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The Empty Land

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  884 ratings  ·  31 reviews
For thousands of years the lonely canyon knew only wind and rain, wild animals, and an occasional native hunter. Then a trapper found a chunk of gold, and everything changed overnight.

In six days a town called Confusion appeared . . . and on the seventh it could disappear, consumed by the flames of lawlessness and violence. On one side are those who understand only brute f
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Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Bantam (first published 1969)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,153)
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Elisabeth
I think The Empty Land just tries too much. For a fairly short book, there are too many characters—it feels like hundreds at times; even minor bystanders like a couple of stagecoach passengers who never appear again are given full first-and-last names. There are so many villains and gunmen that it's a task keeping straight who wants what and who's working for whom and with whom (made a little more complicated by some people switching sides). The result is that nobody really has enough time in th ...more
Mandi Ellsworth
What is it about L'Amour's stories? I have yet to read one I didn't like. In The Empty Land, it's a story of three men who find gold and a boom town springs up in the matter of days, but it's on the verge of destroying itself through its lawless citizens. Enter Matt Colburn. He's as tough a man as the West could make, ready to take on the outlaws and thieves to make a town worth living in.

I love the language L'Amour uses to describe people and places. It's like he lived in that time and is taki
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Amelia
This is my least favorite of all 20+ louis books I've read. I didn't like the way the characters developed.
Boomer calls me Sandy
Instead of The Empty Land, I'd call it - The Price for Confusion
John
Jan 16, 2013 John rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
a dissapointment. almost never happens with this author.
Larry Hostetler
For those who think Louis L'Amour is just another western author, I offer the opening to this book:

"In Europe, Pope Gregory the Great had died, in Ireland the Golden Age of scholarship was at its height, and on the continent the Merovingian kings ruled much of what is now Germany and France.

"In Southeast Asia the little kingdom of Champa, now called South Vietnam, was locked in a life-and-death struggle for its independence, with China and what is now North Vietnam.

"It was the seventh century,
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Craig
The Empty Land starts out with one of the best attention-grabbing "teasers" I have ever read to entice the reader on:

"In Europe Pope Gregory the Great had died. In Ireland the golden age of scholarship was at its height. And in the Continent the Merovingian Kings ruled much of what is now Germany and France. In Southeast Asia the little kingdom of Champa, now called South Viet Nam was locked in a life and death struggle for its independence with China and what is now North Viet Nam. It was the S
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Kris
This book has given me a crisis of identity. I'm no longer sure that I don't like westerns. Though, I think perhaps I just really like Louis L'Amour’s writing. The opening passage of “The Empty Land” is captivating and makes some bold claims about a coyote that would have been harder for a lesser writer to live up to:

“In Europe, Pope Gregory the Great had died, in Ireland the Golden Age of scholarship was at its height, and on the Continent the Merovingian kings ruled much of what is now Germany
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Bookworm Smith
A boom town springs up in the middle the wild west desert, full to bursting with miners, law abiding traders, and also the outlaws that smell the chance to make a quick buck. The opportunity to create a prosperous settlement is threatened by a gang of drifting thugs who do not think twice about using violence to get their way - killing a couple of Marshalls in the process.

There is only one man who can take them on - Matt Colburn. A good hearted, 'street' smart man with a lightning fast draw. The
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John Onoda
I read this old Western novel because actor Tom Selleck said in an interview that if he ever filmed another Louis L'Amour story, he thought The Empty Land would be a good choice. Having read the book, I agree.

L'Amour wrote very straightforward narratives. This tale is set in a fast-growing mining town that has hundreds of fortune-seekers pouring in before there are buildings or any government in place. Some of the new arrivals are criminals who act as swiftly and ruthlessly as a mongol horde, ki
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Alexander
May 06, 2013 Alexander rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Western Fans
Recommended to Alexander by: -
Imagine the pure luck of a man wandering the wilderness and just so happens to take a water break in the mountains only to discover a rich gold source. After the discovery Zeller went home to start a tavern and a family. Although tragic events result in their deaths he once again hits the wild frontier with a few foreign lads and goes to make a new life for himself. Unfortunately luck was not on Zeller’s side and he is ambushed by Native Americans along the way and dies in the attack. His friend ...more
Ryan Mishap
My dad loves all his books and I read over a hundred while staving off the night terrors when growing up.

It is a strange fact about the old west, Indians, and the genocidal take over of the land now called the United States that fiction writing about them is often taken for truth (see Ward Churchill's Fantasies of the Master Race). The back of almost every L'amour novel lauds his knowledge of "how it really was" and the fact that he could've been one of the tough, honorable, lonely fighting men
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Richard Ward
Disappointing tale of the creation of a fictional goldrush town (Confusion, Utah). Too many characters to keep up with in such a short book, many never developed at all, and none developed adequately. I was just never made to care at all about any of them, good guys or bad. As a result, the plot quickly grew tiresome, and I never cared whether the town succeeded or failed. Not recommended, not even for Louis L'Amour fans.
Ruth
I love that underneath the excitement of the plot runs a debate over the the ethics of killing. Whether an antagonist "has it coming" or not, regardless of whether or not the killing is in self-defense, as the central character struggles to clean up the lawless boomtown Confusion, he works to do what his job demands while still answering to his own conscience as well as the moral expectations of others. This is what I love about L'Amour (especially his later books): there's more to these slim li ...more
Melinda Ross
Louis L'Amour books are good to listen to on a drive. They move along nicely. This was no exception. If I could do halves I would make it 3 1/2 stars.
carolyn
I'm not a big fan of westerns so much but it was Allie's choice for book number 8 in our reading project. It was really what I expected it to be. Fist fights and shoot outs, a couple pretty ladies and a lawless mining town. I founds some of the characters to be just caricatures. Was Laurie Shannon really so put off by the killing of a murderous thief? It doesn't make any sense to me and doesn't seem rooted in reality. Matt Coburn is a bad ass and you know he'll win in the end. It all seemed pre- ...more
Noah Krueger
the book was about where Matt Coburn he was a character in the book and he had to clean up towns he knew what to do and how to do it he also knew who to kill and when to kill them but the odds were stacked up against him he was facing every kind of gunman knife artist drygulcher and tin horn there was and he was alone now he was sure of only one thing the gutters would run with blood before came to fonfusion
Ram
Aug 18, 2013 Ram rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: western
My first one by L'Amour and I have become a big fan of his writing. I have read about three other westerns but never before have I been thrilled while reading a western classic. L'Amour brings alive the characters and the towns in a beautifully classic way that makes you feel you want to live in such a town. Brilliant narrative the story just comes alive in a few pages. Rating 5/5
Pat Cunningham
Basic Louis L'Amour: the lonely drifter looking for his own spread, the bad guys out to raise hell and steal the gold, the townspeople looking for a marshal, the pretty girl who ends up with the right guy. It's formula, but formula can be fun if that's what you're in the mood for. I enjoyed this one.
Steven
This is my first Louis L'Amour novel. I really enjoyed it.
Trish Jackson
Whenever I feel like a dose of wonderful descriptive prose and strong verbs I read Louis L'Amour. He really is a fantastic writer and I have never read a book of his I didn't enjoy. His knowledge of the old west is unsurpassed and anyone who loves a good western will love this one.
Fredrick Danysh
A canyon that has not seen man except for a rare native hunter is the site of a gold strike. In this remote and dangerous location, a mining town springs up in just six days. Matt Corburn and Dick Fallon team up to risk their lives in an effort to strike it rich.
Rabbitoh
The only Western novel I've read. I enjoyed it, perhaps due to low expectations. Still, I busts a number of tiresome clichés. The most obvious that L'Amour constructs villains, not 'bad guys,' which keeps
this novel satisfying. I'd read this again.
Kris
I've read this book several times since it was assigned reading in an International Relations class I took in college. A quick read and a classic western that I enjoy every time. I'm a sucker for Louis L'Amour.
Jeff Dickison
Good western as gunslick must cleanup a rowdy mining town. Recommended to fans of westerns.
Greg
Wonderfully descriptive, century spanning introduction. The rest is vintage Louis L'Amour.
Mackay
For some reason, I really liked this one, although it's spotty and skips stuff, but... go figure.
Larry Holshu
As usual another well written western by Louis L'Amour.
Sharon
For an empty land, it's awfully violent.
Charles
Another very good one.
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Louis L'Amour was an American author. L'Amour's books, primarily Western fiction, remain enormously popular, and most have gone through multiple printings. At the time of his death all 101 of his works were in print (86 novels, 14 short-story collections and one full-length work of nonfiction) and he was considered "one of the world's most popular writers".
-Wikipedia
More about Louis L'Amour...
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