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The Empty Land

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  1,235 Ratings  ·  48 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
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Bantam (first published 1969)
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Boomer calls me Sandy
Instead of The Empty Land, I'd call it - The Price for Confusion
Feb 25, 2012 Elisabeth rated it it was ok
Shelves: western
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
Mar 13, 2013 Kris rated it really liked it
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
Ryan Mishap
Mar 08, 2009 Ryan Mishap rated it did not like it
Shelves: when-i-was-a-lad
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
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
Fredrick Danysh
Jul 13, 2016 Fredrick Danysh rated it really liked it
Shelves: westerns
To find gold, two unlikely allies must tame a Western town where some men's notion of law is a lynchman's rope. On the other side is a lawless element that wants the town wide open.
Robert Murphy
Dec 26, 2016 Robert Murphy rated it really liked it
I just love Louis L'Amour, his westerns are great at showing you things and not telling you. His characters always have strong passion, a moral compass that they hold to and plenty of action.

In this one a gunman who has always been on the right side of the law struggles with his identity. Wanting to leave the life of a known gunman and all its dangers behind he can't help but help clean up one last booming mine town. Will he be able to clean it up and if he does will he finally be able to escape
Feb 22, 2017 Teresa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was my first western novel; I selected it mainly because the reader is the late
great Edward Hermann, who does an excellent job as always. He even does an impressive
variety of voices (I think this book breaks the record for highest number of characters
in a relatively short novel!). The writing is fine, and L'Amour even brings up some thought-
provoking concepts regarding violence, morality, and human character. This isn't a genre
I'm "into," but I find that just about everything I read enriche
Apr 10, 2013 Alexander rated it really liked it
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
Clint Broderson
Dec 02, 2016 Clint Broderson rated it it was amazing
The book starts out talking about things of the past, such as old trappers and kings and such. Then it goes on to tell how an old trapper found a great mine full of gold. He had met up with three good men, Dick Felton, Dan Cohan, and Zeller, a Dutchman. The old trapper tells them about the mine and tells them where it is. Months later the three men found themselves at the mine, the old trapper had gotten shot by Utes and was no longer with them. They began mining and a couple days later they wer ...more
Nov 20, 2013 Craig rated it it was amazing
Shelves: westerns
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
Larry Hostetler
Apr 11, 2014 Larry Hostetler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
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,
Jul 08, 2012 George rated it really liked it
Shelves: western
Η άδεια γη

Πέμπτο βιβλίο του Λουίς Λ'Αμούρ που περνάει στην λίστα με τα διαβασμένα, ακόμα ένα καλό γουέστερν.

Πρόκειται για την ιστορία μιας νεότευκτης πόλης χρυσού, της Κονφούζιον. Η πόλη χτίστηκε στα γρήγορα δίπλα σε φλέβες χρυσού σε κάποια περιοχή των ΗΠΑ. Τα γνωστά. Βέβαια, από την πρώτη μέρα τα πράγματα δεν έδειχναν ενθαρρυντικά, όσον αφορά την εγκληματικότητα και την βία. Οι μισοί κάτοικοι της νέας αυτής πόλης ήταν φασαριόζοι, ληστές, κλέφτες, φονιάδες και δολοφόνοι. Οι ληστείες και οι φόνο
Bookworm Smith
Feb 27, 2013 Bookworm Smith rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 20, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it
Matt Coburn is a realistic town tamer. He knows that if he pins on the badge and brings order out of chaos in the boom town of Confusion the good people will want to forget his actions and get rid of him. He also knows that if he turns away, the lawless element will put the town to the torch.

Western - 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
Mar 30, 2015 David rated it it was amazing
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 force. On the other are men who want law and order but are ready to use a noose to achieve their ends. Between them stand Matt Coburn and Dick Felton: one a hardened realist, the other an idealist trying to dig a fortune from the muddy hillside. Outnumbered and outgunned, Felton and Coburn can’t afford to be ...more
Aug 19, 2012 Ruth rated it really liked it
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
Apr 12, 2011 carolyn rated it it was ok
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
Sep 06, 2016 Allen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The anti-violence types were a tad cardboard but still a good yarn. Always happy when more than one woman is involved, leaving the hero a choice.
Noah Krueger
Jan 10, 2013 Noah Krueger rated it it was amazing
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
Ashley Barrett
Jul 18, 2015 Ashley Barrett rated it really liked it
This is one of my husband's favorite books and he asked me to read it. This is not my typical genre so I was surprised by how much I was able to enjoy. I felt that the characters weren't as fully developed as I would have liked. But there were enough twists and turns to keep even me interested in the plot.
Aug 18, 2013 Ram rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 25, 2013 Pat Cunningham rated it liked it
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.
Tyler Hohenberger
I would highly recommend this book because it has a lot of suspense you never really know what is going to happen next. Whether the good guys were going to be able to clean up the town of confusion or would the rats of the town eventually wipe everyone out. Anyone who likes reading about the old west should take some time to read this book.
Sep 17, 2015 John rated it liked it
It was good. Louis L'Amour is always entertaining, but I did not think this was one of his best. The most interesting thing about it was seeing the struggle of the townspeople over wanting the crime in their town cleaned up and being willing to do what it takes to clean it up.
Apr 24, 2010 Rabbitoh rated it it was ok
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.
Feb 16, 2008 Kris rated it liked it
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.
Trish Jackson
Sep 20, 2012 Trish Jackson rated it really liked it
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
Jun 25, 2011 Fredrick Danysh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 18, 2010 Amelia rated it it was ok
This is my least favorite of all 20+ louis books I've read. I didn't like the way the characters developed.
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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".
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“If you’re going to have peace rather than violence, both sides have got to want it. One side alone can’t make peace.” 1 likes
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