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Bendigo Shafter

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,016 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
At what point does a group of strangers become a community? When young Bendigo Shafter and a ragtag bunch of travelers settle in the rugged Wyoming mountains, they quickly come to depend on a toughness and wisdom many of them never knew they possessed. Led by the beautiful and resourceful widow Ruth Macken, the settlers battle harsh winters, renegade opportunists, and the ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published November 1st 1983 by Bantam (first published January 1979)
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Sherral As far as I know, that's the end. If you discover a sequel, please let me know! But I think L'Amour wanted to leave the story open ended. You kind of…moreAs far as I know, that's the end. If you discover a sequel, please let me know! But I think L'Amour wanted to leave the story open ended. You kind of know everyone's plans. You can sort of imagine what will happen in their futures. But you're still left wondering....(less)
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Aug 14, 2012 Matt rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone, even people who aren't fans of westerns. It's that good.
The title character is one of the best male role models in literature. He's the type of man you want to raise your son to be. He's not perfect, he's just an extremely believable rendition of a person that survived & even thrived during white people's exploration/settlement of the American West. When we're introduced to him, he's a young adult, physically strong through years of toil, used to being responsible for others' welfare, and skilled with weapons as was necessary for those who hunted ...more
Dec 28, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it
Not your typical good guy vs bad buy shoot 'em up western from L'Amour. This is a little more thoughtful & told in the first person, from our hero's POV. Bendigo journey's west with his older brother & his family. They set up a new town in the wilderness. L'Amour hits some of the high points of what that entails & makes you think a bit about how hard it was for them.

Bendigo is a little to good to be true (typical hero) but it's a fun read. There's plenty of action, but not a lot of s
I'm not sure why I fell in love with this book, but I did. It's deceptively simple writing. L'Amour's Bendigo Shafter is the human being we all wish we were, I think...and he kind of tells us how to become like him if we read the book.

"Few of us ever live in the present, we are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone, and this I do also. Yet it is my good fortune to feel, to see, to hear, to be aware.

"As much as I have read it has not turned me into one who lives only w
Celeste Batchelor
Oct 02, 2015 Celeste Batchelor rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book by Louis L'Amour thoroughly. It is ranked up in the top 5 of his books that I like. My favorite being the original 3 Sackett books, followed by Walking Drum and The Lonesome Gods.

I still find many of the characters "too good to be true". I doubt anybody was really as lucky or as true a shot as these characters seem to be, but they do make for good stories. I enjoy many of the insights into pioneer life being descendant from pioneer stock myself. My favorite part of this book
Angie Libert
Jul 16, 2015 Angie Libert rated it really liked it
Shelves: scholar
A great novel on the power of various types of teachers: nature, neighbors and books.
I loved this book so much! I am having a hard time even writing a worthy review. I will come back to this book at some time. This is a book I would love for my boys to read. A great book on becoming a man.
Some of my favorite quotes:

"To destroy is easy, to build is hard. To scoff is also easy, but to go on in the face of scoffing and to do what is right is the way of a man."

"I had been given certain flesh and certain brains susceptible of shaping, and the shaping was mine to do.....the shaping wa
Mar 30, 2012 Bendigo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Far and away my favorite of all Louis L'Amour books. Great story and it takes you through the life of Bendigo Shafter and his family. They have decided to build a town and young Bendigo has to learn how to be a man and help provide for this quickly formed community. He has some great examples starting with his brother Cain, as well as a familiar name in Sackett (Ethan) and a whole host of others in the town. It really shows how a young man can take the best or worst of people as he grows up. Do ...more
Sep 10, 2015 Sherral rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everybody in the whole world.
This book is amazing and everyone should drop what they're doing right now and go read it! Seriously, stop reading this review and just go read the book. :)

Bendigo Shafter is our protagonist. At 18 he moves West in a wagon train with his brother's family and his younger sister. With winter coming on and their supplies running low, some members of the wagon train decide to stop in Wyoming and begin to build a community. That's where the story starts. I don't think L'Amour ever gives us an exact y
Dec 01, 2012 Trace rated it really liked it
Loved it... another book that I want my son to read when he's older. A shining example of a young hero striving to better himself and to be a good man. Boys need more books with such heros...

Sooo glad to have discovered the awesome-ness of Louis L'Amour!
Oct 14, 2014 Carmelina rated it really liked it
Shelves: westerns
As always Louis L'Amour shares with us what it was like for these men and women who yearned for something more and went in search of it.

Through Bendigo's eyes we learn what it is like to establish a town in the west, the daily toil to keep them feed, warm, a roof over their heads and all the while keeping ever vigilant for outlaws and Indians. All this with no guarantee that their town would prosper or that in a few years they may have to move and start all over again.

Each character is well defi
Sep 29, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-challenges
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 20, 2012 Melinda rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-group-reads
This was my first L'Amour read, but the author has come highly recommended for as long as I can remember. While growing up, I recall my dad immersed in several of these renown westerns, always eager to begin another. I now understand what all of the hype is about; L'Amour is one engaging storyteller! Not only does he brilliantly capture the sentiment and scenery of frontier life, he portrays such vivid, breathable characters that make the story come alive and instantly captivate.
Bendigo Shafter
May 28, 2011 Peggy rated it really liked it
I was browsing in the library and found a shelf of L'Amour's books, and this experience brought back so many memories. He was my dad's favorite author, and even in my dad's last days, I could bring a smile to his face when I showed up at the house with another of his books. I have never really read much of th western genre, thinking I probably would not enjoy it, but I decided to give it a try. I remember Greg's review of this particular book, so I picked it up, and I was quite surprised at how ...more
Mar 21, 2013 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel so blessed that I live during this time of comfort and leisure. But this book helped me to see the sacrifices that many made to make our country what it is today. Back then in frontier days, life was so much simpler but at the same time so much harder. Quote from page 289, "The Indian, like the buffalo, would pass from the face of the land or become one with those who came, for they were all caught up with change, the inevitable change that comes to men and towns and nations. Men move acr ...more
Dec 18, 2014 Tom rated it really liked it
Kind of a slower paced L'Amour novel. Bendigo builds a town, heads a cattle drive - generally conquers the west and then travels to the big city. A few gun battles along the way. Some nice poetic language about the pull of the west.

L'Amour characters (the good guys anyway) show a kind of respect for American Indian way of life, even whilst gunning them down. Bendigo talks and philosophizes a heck of a lot more than your average western character. In this volume we get dialog on how young Indian
Andy Zeigert
Mar 24, 2011 Andy Zeigert rated it really liked it
Ben Shafter is a hero of the West of mythical proportions. L'Amour writes Shafter as an achingly flawless archetype of the True American Pioneer. Ben goes west to "make something of himself." Along the way he helps build a small town in the wilderness that serves as a stopping point along the wagon trail west. Eighteen at the beginning of the book, he's already an accomplished mountain man, and learns all he can from those he encounters.

His only flaw is that he's too perfect. He's an expert gun
I thoroughly enjoyed this book right up until the last third. Plenty of wisdom, adventure and hardship on the frontier. It really makes you appreciate how it was on the frontier. Reading it made me think of reading some kind of old John Wayne movie in print form, and I guess that figures since L'Amour wrote several that were later made into westerns. I would have given it a 5 star rating, but to me, the last third or so started to drag, and I didn't like it as much. But I would recommend it as a ...more
It's been a long time since I read Louis L'Amour (7th grade I think?). I'll just say, I was pleasantly surprised. It started better than it ended, but while I read it, I was transported, and that's really all that good fiction need do. It's great if it has a message, impresses the heck out of its reader with its depth and quality, but the story is the important thing. The one aspect I was impressed by was how, accurate or no, he captured the mind set of his characters. I felt like I understood t ...more
Jun 01, 2015 Jorgina rated it liked it
Shelves: history, nature, westerns
Loved the first part of this book because it is chock full of L'Amour's tidbits of philosophy and good characters of virtue, honor and hard work ethics. However the ending became repititious and more about how wonderful the main characer was. It would have been interesting except the main character was the narrator. So it came off more like boasting. But the end was well wrapped up; he got the girl, the money, the land , the bad guy,...
Jul 06, 2015 Apzmarshl rated it really liked it
Not my normal genre or interest, but L'Amour proves that as a man he was well read. His main character, Bendigo was a man's man. A bright, deep thinker that built with his hands, took pride in his work, had integrity, and a clear mind.
With ideals from the likes of Blackmore and Shakespeare, I found a lot to underline in this book.
Oct 27, 2015 Shaun rated it it was amazing
I've read 80+ books by Louis L'Amour and this was the very first. It gave me much inspiration as a 15-year-old and has rekindled the desire in my heart to continue my pursuit of growing, learning, and loving life as a man should some 22 years later. Highly recommended!
Feb 03, 2016 Jana rated it it was amazing
Bendigo Shafter is a "true American Hero" - such an awesome character. This is my first ever Louis L'Amour, and not my usual genre, but I can finally understand why he is such a renowned author- if not for his other 120+ books than this book alone.
Oct 05, 2015 Ron rated it it was amazing
This story of Ben was such a joy to read and follow his tough & idealistic life adventures.
He is too good to be true, but it makes you hope for a better understanding of life.
Jun 23, 2015 Aaron rated it really liked it
The writing is fine, but it jumps a little here and there. Good story of building in the west. Does not present whites or natives as good or bad, just tells the story.
Nov 21, 2015 Charlotte rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It's full of great thinking about life and questions to figure out. It's my first Louis L'Amour book and I'm glad I read it.
Jul 20, 2015 Sue rated it it was amazing
Louis L'Amour is turning out to be one of my favorite authors. Bendigo Shafter is full of adventure in the western frontier. He exemplifies the essence of a true hero/cowboy. The story of his journey and personal growth parallel our modern day journeys and the growth we all work to achieve if we are to carry out our personal missions and survive from day to day. L'Amour's understanding of history and why people do the things they do is thought provoking. This book kept me reading.
Mike Capanda
Jul 27, 2015 Mike Capanda rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read. It was one of the 1st Lamour books I read and had a big part in making him my Favorite author
Melissa Jacobson
I read a lot of westerns when I was 9-10 and I loved this book but I didn't really pay attention to it. After having re-read most of my western books I can say without a doubt that this is one of my favorites from the genre. This is a book about bravery, resilience, and a whole lot of small town politics. There is shooting and several fist fight scenes that keep the action rolling but they are far from being the focus of this tale. I love the feel of this book and Bendigo is a hero worth rooting ...more
Mar 11, 2012 Jan rated it it was amazing
I love Louis L'Amour books, and this is no exception. Every now and then, he makes a really good point. I'll have to dig up the actual quote that's gotten to me this time, but the gist of it is this: humans are natural civilization builders. But the drawback to this is that it can make us unprepared to survive. Natural disasters push us to the brink, and those most unprepared are those most likely to revert to savagery, especially savagery against other humans.

UPDATE: yeah, the whole book was th
May 24, 2015 Carol rated it it was amazing
This goes on the shelf for my son to read in a few years. This is a book every young man should read.
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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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