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The Quick and the Dead

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,848 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
When Duncan McKaskel decided to move his family west, he knew he would face dangers, and he was prepared for them. He knew about the exhausting terrain, and he was expecting the punishing elements. What he worried about was having to use violence against other men—men who would follow him and try to steal the riches that he didn’t even possess.

Yet bandits were only part of
Paperback, 208 pages
Published May 1st 1982 by Bantam (first published October 27th 1973)
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Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtryTrue Grit by Charles PortisBlood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthyBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownAll the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
Best Westerns
23rd out of 756 books — 959 voters
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest HemingwayThe Princess and the Pea by Janet StevensThe Prince and the Pauper by Mark TwainThe Professor and the Madman by Simon WinchesterThe Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
The Red and the Black
12th out of 87 books — 14 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 05, 2009 bookczuk rated it liked it
Shelves: bookcrossing
I picked this up to read as part of a release challenge. The "I DARE YOU; A Read-and-Release Challenge with a Twist" proposed by gnissorckoob. I've never read any western stuff. This seemed and appropriate way to take up the gauntlet. Yippie o ki yay!

The cover says" Con Vallian knew the best way to stay out of trouble was to mind his own business. Then he stopped for a cup of coffee at a stranger's campfire and found himself guiding a family of greenhorns across the prairie- fighting a pack of r
Mar 14, 2009 SheLove2Read rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2009
There isn't a better western author who ever lived than Louis L'amour and this book is one of his prime examples of gritty, action packed, make-you-think stories. L'amour writes with such eloquence that you find yourself taken back to the time and place the story is set in, and when you finish the book, wish you really did live in the era.
Jason Schneeberger
Mar 01, 2016 Jason Schneeberger rated it really liked it
Duncan McKaskel is an educated man, attempting to move his wife, Susanna, and his son, Tom, along with all of their personal possessions, from the east, to the west side of America in search of a new and promising life. They are untrained in the dangers of lawless criminals and potentially deadly Indians that they will meet along the way, but the mysterious frontiersmen, Con Vallian, shows up out of nowhere to help them along the way.

Louis L'Amour nails another one! This is my third or fourth b
Apr 01, 2010 Bitsy rated it it was ok
You’d think with a title like The Quick and The Dead I wouldn’t be surprised by all the dead. The Quick and The Dead was my very first “real” western. It was a nice short book and was supposed to be the proverbial toe in the pool. I came away feeling like someone had come up behind me and shoved me in. And, it wasn’t pleasant.

The Quick and The Dead is a novel about a small family making their first foray into the west, tenderfoots they are called. During all of this they meet up with the main ch
Mar 11, 2014 Emily rated it liked it
This was my first Louis L'Amour novel. It was exactly what I expected. It is a little like watching a TV show that you know will have just enough action and storyline to keep your interest. There was nothing powerful or terribly thought provoking about this book but it was something to do for those of us who don't have TV and would occasionally just like some diversion that is pretty clean.

The most thought it provoked was about the pioneers who came out and settled this land. It was humbling to
Gautama Siddartha
Dec 15, 2015 Gautama Siddartha rated it it was amazing
excellent book and excellent movie
Jan 23, 2016 Skjam! rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Western fans
Recommended to Skjam! by: Goodreads
When Duncan McKaskel and his wife Susanna decided to move out West with their young son Tom to homestead, they knew there would be dangers and difficulties. But after their wagon train falls to cholera and the family strikes out on its own, they learn that the pioneer trail has deadlier dangers than anyone ever told them. In particular, the family runs afoul of a gang of horse thieves. One of the thieves winds up dead, and the remainder pursue the family.

You’d think it was a stroke of good fortu
Another good book, even if Susanna drove me batty when she got mad at Vallain, the one man keeping her and her family alive. Lady, you're an idiot to worry about him one minute, then yell at him for doing something he knows better than you when he shows back up. Okay, tirade aside, I enjoyed this book, even as the ending proved slightly confusing.
Lu Demetter
Mar 07, 2013 Lu Demetter rated it really liked it
This is the first Western book I've read & I was surprised how much I liked it! I had been looking over the bookshelves at Goodwill and saw this baby. I picked it up because I knew my grandpa Jack enjoyed listening to Louis L'amour audio books when he could not see well enough to read. I think I'll go back for more.
Casey Wilkinson
Jan 14, 2011 Casey Wilkinson rated it really liked it
plowed through it, kept my attention straight through. The wording isn't flowery, there is defiantly an air of experience speaking in the description of the land, time period and survival skills. I think I'll be reading some more Louis L'Amour in the near future.
Mar 13, 2016 Carmen rated it it was amazing
Both men and women will like this western story as, most of Louis L'Amour stories, although about tough men, always had women in them - and they were strong women. Women with common sense who knew how to get things done. In the Quick and the Dead it was Susanna McKaskel. She is traveling by covered wagon with her husband and son to a new log cabin home in the wilderness. They had set off alone due to disease sweeping the wagon train. They are beset by a group of "bad guys" who follow them relent ...more
Fredrick Danysh
Apr 05, 2016 Fredrick Danysh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After moving west, Duncan McKaskel has his life saved by a stranger named Con Vallain to save his life. But how is Duncan's wife involved? Another good story from a master story teller.
J.L. Rallios
Sep 20, 2015 J.L. Rallios rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fast, entertaining western story in which a "greenhorn" family, seeking to set down roots in the Wild West, is helped by a traveling gun hand to survive Indians and a particularly ruthless and tenacious band of outlaws. It was a very short tale that was also short on depth of characterization and weak on explaining motivations, particularly what moves the gun hand (Con Villian) to go to such trouble as he did this for this family. Ironically, it was what I liked about the story: the h ...more
Apr 06, 2015 Viktor rated it really liked it
A quick, enjoyable, adventurous read. Everything that you could ask for from a western.
Mal Kelly
Aug 03, 2015 Mal Kelly rated it really liked it
As is usual for Louis L'Amour, this was a very enjoyable book. If you've seen the movie (the one with Sam Elliott, not Sharon Stone), this is so much better. Con Vallian is a great western hero and deftly handles each challenge that he is presented with. He hangs on the fringes of this story the McKaskel's knight in shining armor. Through Vallian's teachings the family eventually figures out that the west is not the glorified place that they had read about. Enjoy the story of the tenderfoots and ...more
Mar 13, 2015 George rated it really liked it
Shelves: western
Άγριοι σαν τον άνεμο

Όγδοο γουέστερν του Λουίς Λ'Αμούρ που διαβάζω και γι'ακόμη μια φορά ευχαριστήθηκα την αφηγητική του δεινότητα στο συγκεκριμένο είδος, στο οποίο θεωρείται ο καλύτερος.

Η ιστορία έχει να κάνει με τον Ντάνκαν Μακ Κάσκελ, που αποφάσισε να μετακομίσει με την οικογένεια του στην Άγρια Δύση για κάτι διαφορετικό. Ο Ντάνκαν είναι ένας μορφωμένος άνθρωπος που μισεί την βία, δεν είναι συνηθισμένος στην άγρια ζωή, αλλά δεν κωλώνει μπροστά στην σκληρή δουλειά και τις αντιξοότητες. Το θέμα
Sep 05, 2010 Doris rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who enjoy western stories.
Recommended to Doris by: No one
Shelves: fiction-western
A good book about a man name Con Vallian who is an experienced tracker and woodsman who comes across a couple and their son who are loading a heavy wagon full of belongings on their way to have a new start in the "old west". Con simply wants a cup of coffee, yet he finds the young couple to be extremely greenhorn in the ways of the wilderness and wilds, so lured by coffee and perhaps something from deep inside, Con travels in alignment with them. He teaches them and their son ways to survive. Bu ...more
Mar 15, 2011 Andrew rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 29, 2015 Carrie rated it liked it
2015 Reading Challenge

- A book that became a movie
- A book with antonyms in the title
- A book by an author you've never read before

This book only checked off one new category on my reading list and that's the only reason I even picked it up. This is the only phrase where the meaning of the word quick still means "alive". Although, it means "fast" in this case as well.

This was my first Louis L'Amour book. I'm not a huge fan of the western genre but this was still an exciting read. It hasn't conv
Ed Wyrd
Sep 18, 2014 Ed Wyrd rated it really liked it
Fast paced story about a family heading westward to find a place to call home in the mountains. They struck out on their own when the wagon train they were with had an outbreak of cholera. As if traveling alone with an overburdened wagon through Indian country isn't enough, they're dogged by desperate men who want their livestock as well as the Mrs. And is the stranger who appears out of nowhere to share coffee a friend or foe?
Mar 09, 2015 Tomas rated it really liked it
Shelves: western
Pure story. My first L'Amour, read to at least say I've done it. Don't expect literary fireworks of the message variety, but L'Amour's sparse narrative and language hook into one's mind and paint a picture of life on the frontier. Of note are his action sequences - quick, frantic, and real. L'Amour doesn't glamorize violence like the movies, but he also refuses to bemoan it. Life is real, life is violent. You just keep living. Great little book and a quick read.
David Hughes
Louis L'Lamour. Does it again!

what great title! Have you even said the Apostles' Creed? The title 3rd or 4th line in great old Methodist Consistory. it was refreshing to delve into one off L_L classics I feel PAUl Newman should've have produced and starred as COn Vallian in a great Western movie. We can always hope for the best.
Dec 07, 2014 Chuck rated it really liked it
This was my forty-second L'Amour western and this particular novel was as good as any. It is the story of a naive, but tough family crossing the prairie. When they find out that they have the wrong stock, have to deal with native americans and criminals, our hero decides to take them under his wing and escorts them to the mountains with much trauma during the journey. L'Amour's gift is to keep stories simple, concise, fast moving and formulary. He has a unique ability describing the beauty of th ...more
Royce Ratterman
Feb 23, 2016 Royce Ratterman rated it really liked it

Most books are rated related to their usefulness and contributions to my research.
Overall, a good book for the researcher and enthusiast.
Read for personal research
- found this book's contents helpful and inspiring - number rating relates to the book's contribution to my needs.
John P. Connors
Feb 10, 2015 John P. Connors rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great story line

This novel is a great read and a different twist which keeps your interest peaked at almost every page, Even though the outcome is somewhat expected the plot never allows you to be confident until the last pages.
Karen Bailey
Jan 24, 2016 Karen Bailey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
My first Louis L'Amour. I had read all the books that I had with me on our recent vacation. I found this book at the Bryce Canyon Lodge and enjoyed the read. Will probably pick up more of these books as they are classics.
Feb 25, 2015 Pushpita rated it really liked it
This is going to be my favourite Louis L'Amour for a long time to come. It's almost like watching a movie, the descriptions are so well written it's almost visual. Highly recommended. An awesome ride.
Andrew James
Apr 14, 2015 Andrew James rated it liked it
Not particularly well written, but the characters and story are exactly the sort of trope I expected. An easy read and satisfied my need for a western for the time being.
Feb 21, 2008 Mary rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I resisted liking this book. My father recommended it, and all his bookshelf has ever held was engine manuals, Louis L'Amour, and some Gor chronicles (and the occaisional Ann Coulter, I'm sorry to say). The book does start out very slow for an easy read of 150 pages. It seems predictable and cliche: silly East Coast family with their book learnin', thinkin they can make it in the West with all their heavy, sentimental belongings!

But somewhere about a third of the way through, events pick up spe
Oct 24, 2012 J.C. rated it really liked it
Shelves: western

My first real Western novel (Stephen King's The Gunslinger can hardly be considered an authentic western, don't ya think?), i was surprised by how pulled into the story i was by about a quarter of the way in. This style of writing is almost considered cliche now, but really here, in this story, it still works.
I love western films (particularly spaghetti westerns), and i think after reading this i might look around and check out some other westerns.

Honestly though, the book is not bad. Its a n
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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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“I wonder why it is the man who pleads for mercy never gives it.” 19 likes
“Out here you better have a gun, and a gun in the wagon ain't good for nothin'. I believe what the old Quaker said, 'Trust in the Lord, but keep your powder dry.” 13 likes
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