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Six Bits a Day

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  194 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Hewey Calloway, one of the best-loved cowboys in all of Western fiction, returns in this novel of his younger years as he and his beloved brother Walter leave the family farm in 1889 to find work in the West Texas cow country.
The brothers are polar opposites. Walter pines for a sedate life as a farmer, with wife and children; Hewey is a fiddle-footed cowboy content to work
ebook, 256 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Forge Books (first published 2005)
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Richard Ward
May 21, 2015 Richard Ward rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Devoted fans of the western novel, only.
Two brothers leave home to seek their fortunes in late 1800's West Texas. They soon get in to it with the law and with a violent cattle rustler. After taking cowboy jobs earning six bits a day, they then find themselves involved in a battle between wealthy land owners. The brothers befriend a black cowboy (a retired Buffalo Soldier) and stick by him whenever he faces racism. One of the brothers falls for a rancher's daughter, while their friend finds a single black female that he likes, but the ...more
Jul 29, 2009 Rae rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: westerns
Two brothers hire on as cowhands and end up on a cattle drive from San Antonio to the Pecos River. Because one of the brothers is an impulsive, clever and lucky spendthrift, the journey is filled with lots of action and fun. A pleasant read.

"A man ain't poor for not havin' money. He's poor from wantin' too much."

"But he found that the longer he stood back and looked at a bad horse, the tougher the ride when it finally came."
Jeff Dickison
Nov 16, 2013 Jeff Dickison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good entry to the Hewey Calloway series this is a prequel to The Good Old Boys. All your favorites are here: Hewey, Walter, C.C. Tarpley, Fats Gervin, Eve and even Snort Yarnell. A fun read and probably much truer to life than most westerns. Enjoyably recommended.
B. Crocker
Oct 01, 2009 B. Crocker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a lot of fun to read. I enjoyed not only how Elmer Kelton portrayed the cowboy point of view but also the way of speaking. I've gotten all my family to read it. Elmer Kelton did it again with this one.
Dec 05, 2009 Rosemary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of cowboys and early Texas
Recommended to Rosemary by: from the San Antonio library
This first book of the Hewey Calloway series shows a typical cowboy and the Texas of 1889. Elmer Kelton truly paints a good picture of it.
Dec 10, 2016 sarg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Six Bits a Day Elmer Kelton
A western that is true to cowboy life. Hewey Calaway and his brother Walter leave their east Texas cotton farm and head west to become cowboys. Hired by an old rancher they are sent south to bring a heard back to the ranch. Kelton is my favorite western writer.
Rodney Haydon
Nov 28, 2015 Rodney Haydon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We had a power outage at our house today, which became a reminder of how reliant we are on electricity in the 21st century. I could remember when I was a kid, a power outage on a Saturday really wouldn’t have affected me much. Sure, I couldn’t watch tv or play console games, but we were usually outside anyway playing a pickup game of some sport, or “toughing it out” by playing a board game. Now, with so much of our entertainment tied to electricity and to the internet, it affects us greatly. Aft ...more
Mar 16, 2010 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed
So often, a western novel is an action-packed story about who is faster, getting vegeance, or good versus evil. This book was so very different that I enjoyed it very, very much.

Instead of trying to write an action-packed western, Kelton sat down and tells a number of cowboy stories that are interlaced with one another. Oh, there is some fighting and even some shooting, but the real story is about the dreary work of a cowboy, working with some nice fellows, some jerks, and a tight-fisted boss w
Jan 28, 2010 Waven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, western, humor
A prequel to Good Old Boys, this Kelton story gives us a better view of young Hewey and Walter, how they grew up and found their way to west Texas (and beyond), how C. C. and Frank "Fat" entered the picture, and how the Calloway boys always seemed to find their way into trouble armed only with good intentions. It isn't as good as Good Old Boys, but then that's a hard one to beat in this genre. It certainly has some good laughs in it and a lot of good characters. I would have given it three and a ...more
Dec 26, 2013 Glen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was a disappointing book. Only got a little ore halfway before I had to set it down out of sheer boredom. It fails to live up to the first two of the series, "The Good Old Boys" and "The Smiling Country."

As a prequel I expected a little disconnect into it. But the writing seemed forced and bored, as if Kelton had no desire to write it.

So, feel fee to get it but do not spend much on it and prepare to be disappointed.
This was my first "cowboy fiction" since I was about eleven. Elmer Kelton's books were on display at the library, so I thought, "why not try something different?" Although a simple plot and simple writing (I didn't have to look up any words in the dictionary), the characters are endearing and developed well. The dialog was believable and the morality and integrity demonstrated in the book was refreshing. I would definitely read another of his books.
Sandy Neal
Nov 03, 2012 Sandy Neal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I asked Elmer Kelton at a book signing for a book that did not have romance in it. He recommended this book.

This is mostly a tale of young men learning the ropes while working as ranchhands, punching cattle, following orders and such but it is also a book about how different the dreams of 2 brothers can be. It touches on the dangers inherent in living in Texas after the Indians were contained and land was open for the taking and buying.

I love the way Elmer Kelton told a story!
Vincent Aurelio
Jan 09, 2016 Vincent Aurelio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun yarn. Two brothers leave farm life in East Texas to seek adventure on the Pecos. Their initiation into cowboy life mixes them up with an outlaw, fueding rival ranch owners and resident characters of San Angelo and San Antonio. Kelton's style is easy to read and is peppered with humorous one-liners -- "A man ain't poor for not havin' money. He's poor from wantin' too much" was one of my favorites.
Peter Charleston
This is not a shoot them up western, it relates to the normal life of a cowboy in Texas. I felt Mr. Elmer Kelton provided a fine portrayal of the characters along with a nice plot. Hewey seems to find himself with problems while his brother Walter would like nothing better than to settle down. Overall an enjoyable reading adventure.
Kathy  Petersen
It's just a cowboy book, but boy, was it fun. The Calloway brothers join a cattle drive and get into various adventures. No attempt at great literature, but Kelton's writing is more than decent and his plot easy-going and absorbing.
Alyx Tschirhart
Dec 31, 2015 Alyx Tschirhart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book. Perfect to lead off and introduce characters that we will come to love in the two books that follow.

Again, if you're listening to this on Audible, George Guidall is quickly becoming my favorite narrator. I would highly recommend this.
Jim Jones
Jim Jones rated it it was amazing
Apr 14, 2013
Ann rated it really liked it
Nov 18, 2014
J.L. Day
J.L. Day rated it it was amazing
May 19, 2015
Gregory rated it really liked it
Aug 24, 2016
Andrew C
Andrew C rated it it was amazing
May 14, 2012
Amy rated it really liked it
Aug 03, 2013
Jeff rated it liked it
Sep 10, 2009
Joe Porciello
Joe Porciello rated it really liked it
Aug 13, 2015
Cairi rated it it was amazing
Apr 08, 2012
Frank Lott
Frank Lott rated it really liked it
Mar 31, 2015
Lazey rated it it was amazing
Dec 19, 2012
Keith rated it liked it
May 21, 2009
Emily rated it really liked it
Aug 23, 2012
Violet rated it it was amazing
Feb 12, 2014
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Elmer Kelton (1926-2009) was award-winning author of more than forty novels, including The Time It Never Rained, Other Men’s Horses, Texas Standoff and Hard Trail to Follow. He grew up on a ranch near Crane, Texas, and earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas. His first novel, Hot Iron, was published in 1956. Among his awards have been seven Spurs from Western Writers of America and ...more
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