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The Broken Gun

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  1,359 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Ninety years ago the Toomey brothers, along with twenty-five other men and four thousand head of cattle, vanished en route to Arizona. When writer and historian Dan Sheridan is invited to the missing brothers’ ranch by its current owner, he jumps at the chance. The visit fits right in with his plan to solve the century-old mystery—but it turns out that his host isn’t a fan ...more
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Published January 25th 2011 by Random House Audio (first published January 1966)
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Oh Louis L'amour...I used to always make fun of people that read Louis L'amour, but now I very proudly admit that I belong to that club. They are just fun, pure and simple fun. The writing is quick and the stories perfectly western. I suppose it's not that surprising that I like Louis L'amour, growing up with John Wayne had me primed and ready to fall in love with western reading.

This book was a little different then the others I've read. I it was set in "present times" which, for L'amour, was
This 1966 western is an unusual offering from author L'Amour being set in the present. An author finds a 90 year old diary fragment and investigates what happened to the diary author. This novel was very loosely made into a movie, Cancel My Reservation (1972) starring Bob Hope.

Western - Ninety years ago the Toomey brothers, along with twenty-five other men and four thousand head of cattle, vanished en route to Arizona. When writer and historian Dan Sheridan is invited to the missing brothers' ra
I tried to like this book, but I just didn't. I don't know if it's a personal issue - I'm not particularly a fan of Westerns so I am not well read in the genre. Or honestly it could just be a weak book. I'm leaning more towards the latter.

Broken Gun tells the story of writer/historian/Korean War veteran Dan Sheridan, who buys an old broken gun in a pawn shop and finds part of a ninety year old journal wrapped up and stuck inside the barrel. Curiosity piqued, Sheridan decides to investigate the j
Steve Chaput
This is a bit different from the usual Louis L'Amour, as it's a contemporary Western. Dan Sheridan is a writer and historian of the Old West. While visiting Arizona to research a possible new book he finds that a man who had wanted to meet with has been killed. Shortly thereafter he is invited by a local rancher to visit his home, which happens to be the last known whereabouts of the Toomey Bros., whose mysterious disappearance some ninety years before Sheridan was looking into. All too soon, th ...more
Rob Smith
I see a well illustrated old west themed cover to a Louis L'Amour book, the title 'The Broken Gun' and I plunge into a novel that instantly confuses me. It takes a few pages to realize when in time this novel falls. There is no mention of it. There is a mention of 90 years before...but, before what?

By the third page the Korean War is mentioned.

Involving stroytelling, time should be established in some way off the top if a story about different time periods is being unraveled. Instead L'Amour le
Laura Verret
Dan Sheridan could have been a cattleman or a ranch owner. Instead, he became a soldier, blasted his way through Vietnam, and returned home a writer and historian. A popular novelist, he is always looking for a fresh plot. When he stumbles across several pages from a ninety-year-old diary, he discovers just the plot he needs.

The Toomey brothers, who traveled west nearly a hundred years before, vanished as they passed through Arizona. It is a scrap from John Toomey’s journal – written before his
Rick Bavera
I am not a fan of westerns--movies or books--in part because of the stereotypes that tend to be found in them, in part because the stories seem to be told to a formula. And "formula" shouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, I guess....I read a lot of "popular" fiction, which is often "formula" too.

I will also admit that I have read only a few westerns over the years....because I am not crazy about the genre in general, in addition to the reasons stated above.

Saying that, I actually whizzed through
An Odd1
"The Broken Gun" by Louis L'Amour holds journal pages from John Toomey, whose brother Clyde, the best of 27 men, and 4K cattle vanished from 1870s Arizona. Ninety years later, the narrator, writer Dan Sheridan, is invited to the ranch of good-looking hard-hearted Colin and Doris Wells, whose hand Reese just killed Manuel Alvarez, before he could pass on vital information to Dan. Ignorant that Dan as an elite soldier repeatedly escaped with victim's brother Pio, the conspirators plot more deaths, ...more
David Williams
Dan Sheridan buys an old broken gun in a pawn shop and finds part of a ninety year old journal wrapped up and stuck inside the barrel. He is a writer and decides to look into the story of the Toomey brothers. The only trouble is that the people who own the land now have a secret, and it is a secret that they are prepared to kill for. Soon Dan finds himself on the run, hunted through what once once Apache country. Only his pursuers don't realize that he is no city boy. He was born and raised on a ...more
Larry Hostetler
Not sure whether to give this 2.5, 3, 3.5 or 4 stars. On the plus side, it is a unique Louis L'Amour western in that it is set in the 1950s with historical plot lines in the old west. As with all his books, the geographic setting (this one in the Yavapai County area near Prescott and in the Verde river valley) is well-researched and a dramatic background for the story. But unlike most of his writing, I felt the expression of a sense of danger from the protagonist was overstated, repetitive and d ...more
I suppose a Westerner "should" read at least one Louis L'Amour novel. It's sort of the Nancy Drew series of cowboy stories. The good guy beats the bad guys and gets the girl. (My Dad read Louis L'Amour novels in translation in Poland as a boy.)Not exactly great literature, but this was a fun, light read while I was traveling through the area nearby where the story took place.
Bruce Nordstrom
This book is a little different from other L'Amour westerns I've read. It is set in the twentith century, rather than the earlier west as is his usual habit. However, as is his habit, L'Amour writes with plenty of excitment, plot twists, and just plain guts. I read this one in one sitting, and will be reading it again.
This book felt a little different from the majority of L'amour's books that I have read. It was set in modern day, but was still part of a story from the past. Part western, part action/adventure, and part mystery... this book has a little something for a lot of people. I really enjoyed it and it was a fast read.
This is one of my favorite Louis L'Amour novels. I love the way he plants surprises for his characters and readers. I love how the men underestimate Sheridan and find him to be more of an opponent than they first suspect he is. Great read!
This is a re-read for me. I first read this story while living in Colorado and recently picked it up again. A unique detective story of the mid-20th century spurred by events of the late 19th and early 20th century.
Reading Reader
Wasn't expecting a modern-day story here, and I was a little disappointed at first when I realized this wouldn't be a 'classic' L'Amour western.

L'Amour manages to bring the past into the present, though, and in the end the Broken Gun doesn't really feel all that different from his other work.
Duce Escott
This is a good book for people that like action, and mystery books. This is a great book, read it.
Tristen Rhoden
It was a good old western book that had a little bit of mystery in it with some murders.
I forgot how enjoyable reading a Louis L'Amour book is. He is a great storyteller.
Interesting twist to have the western set in "modern" days (at least current through the year the book was written by the author). It gives Louis L'Amour a chance to plot a story about a western mystery being solved 90 years after the fact. There are 'Black hat' cowboys, beautiful women and of course there is a boxing scene -- L'Amour loves to intertwine boxing into each of his westerns.

This was a decent story and worth it for L'Amour fans or those with a little time on their hands.
Adam Shields
Short review: I grew up on westerns. I have read scores of them, scores of them just by L'Amour. It has been a long time since I read a western so this is a nostalgia book. It is fine, the hero wins, the guy gets the girl, the bad guys are either dead or in jail. All is right with the world again. I won't be returning to this genre soon. But it fed the desire for wholeness and for hero stories that I had as a teen.

My full review is on my blog at at
Unlike most of Louis L'Amour's novels, The Broken Gun is set in more modern times, though still on a ranch in the west. With the same sense of a good fireside tale, LL invites the reader into the experiences of a journalist caught unexpectedly in the midst of murder and theft. An old broken sixgun he finds provides some clues that first lead him deeper into danger, then to resolution. Not my favorite of LL's novels, but not bad. Of course, I have enjoyed most of his books!
I enjoyed Zane Grey so I wanted to read some Louis L'Amour.

I was disappointed with the emotional dryness of the book and the though the writer's skill was obvious, the book felt mechanical.

If you want good cowboy stuff I would recommend Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey. I should say that these great early writers of this genre were quite good and worthy of attention
Raymond Fleer
This book was good. There was a writer who was doing some research on the Toomey Brothers. He got invited out to the ranch of the Toomey Brothers. He got out there and there was trouble from the get go. They wanted to kill him because they did not want to lose their ranch. They tried everything to get rid of him and the girl of the other ranch to have more land.
A "modern" western, it tells the tale of a retired cowpoke/Korean War veteran-turned author doing some research on a will found rolled up in the barrel of a "broken gun". He shows up at a ranch to investigate the back story and the scenery and quickly finds himself fighting for his life to survive a cover-up that had been ongoing for more than 70-years.
This book was right on the level of Bendigo Shafter, a great western novel involving a writer who comes to Arizona to follow up on a note he found in a broken gun. His life is in danger as he tries to solve the mystery left behind. The suspense is sustained through the story, and I think this is one of L'Amour's better books.
This was set contemporarily for L'Amour (in the 50's) and I like the change of setting. In "Broken Gun", L'Amour show that the frontiersmen aren't a dead bread; a lot like the thinking behind "Last of the Breed". The protagonist is a western writer who, like L'Amour, is no desk jockey. It was fun.
Lee begged me to read one of his Louis L'amour books. I reluctantly decided to try one. I read it in about 3 days. Just a good ole gun slinging hiding out in the mountains from the bad guys He really has a way with words though. I guess there is a reason so many are die hard fans. :o)
One might always think of Louis L'Amour as just a cowboy/western writer. He shows that he is much more in the Broken Gun. My interest is is that area that He wrote about still desulit or has mordern society moved in.
Old stories still circulate and drive people to do crazy things.
A lot of older guys who come to the library still ask for the Louis L'Amour novels, so I thought I'd read one. The characters are pretty wooden, the dialogue stilted, but you can't deny the man's storytelling ability. I'm glad I read one of his novels, but I don't think I'd read another.
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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".
More about Louis L'Amour...
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