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Horseman, Pass By

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  1,512 ratings  ·  115 reviews
When Larry McMurtry's classic novel of the post-World War II era was originally published in 1961, it created a sensation in Texas literary circles. Never before had a writer portrayed the contemporary West in conflict with the Old West in such stark, realistic, unsentimental ways.

Horseman, Pass By, on which the film Hud is based, tells the story of Homer Bannon, an old-ti
ebook, 192 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1961)
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Laura Leaney
Maybe the reason I love McMurtry is the powerful way he evokes the emotional truth of a place through its disparate physical details: the way a man slaps his gloves against his leg or “two young dog coyotes trotting along the edge of a ridge” or “a big freezerful of peach ice cream, rich as Jersey milk.”

In the foreground of this story is the narrator, Lonnie, whose heart is an adolescent reservoir of sexual and spiritual longing. He is the stoic poet, a boy who spends many a night beneath the b
This was Larry McMurtry's first novel, published in 1961, long before "Lonesome Dove." It's also his first of several books set in and around the small Texas town of Thalia. The story was quickly transformed into a Paul Newman film "Hud" in 1963, which is the version of the story most people know. In spirit, the two stories are similar - they are both anti-westerns, in which code of the West is subverted and corrupted by failure of moral character.

But McMurtry's novel tells a story with a darker
Having read the ‘Lonesome Dove’ cycle and loved the McMurtry style I decided to go back to the beginning of his career and tackled this, his first published novel.

This is in many respects a quite different read although there are themes in common. This novel has an altogether bleaker view of a particular rural ‘western’ life style than is found in the ‘Lonesome Dove’ series, or in ‘Hud’, the movie version of this book. It depicts rural post WWII Texas and contrasts the ethics and attitudes of t
Kim Serene
Devastating. I couldn't put this book down and read it in a day (rare for me). Never having read anything by Larry McMurtry I thought it would be wise to begin with his first novel. If the next twenty-some novels are anything like 'Horseman, Pass By' I know who's books I'll be reading for the next few years! I loved McMurtry's descriptions of the spaces and places of young Lonnie's life on a ranch in Texas in the late 1950's - the sweet shade of the sycamore tree outside the kitchen door, the su ...more

I've read Larry McMurtry over the years, mostly the famous ones, and have always liked his romantic cowboys and quirky females. Horseman, Pass By was his first published novel. Two years later it was adapted into the movie Hud starring Paul Newman. I remember that movie but it changed the book in a couple radical ways.

Horseman, Pass By, at 179 pages, is just barely a novel. Lonnie Bannon, raised by his grandfather on a West Texas cattle ranch, is coming of age. Hud is his stepbrother, son of the
I keep buying used books originating from the shelves of someone, someone who writes grammatical corrections in BLUE INK, even when it is OBVIOUS the novel is written in a certain idiom, in this case that of a SIXTEEN YEAR OLD IN WEST TEXAS. And even moral indictments written beside circled portions of text? What compels people to do such things? Do they achieve some satisfaction from pointing to the words of a widely published book, and saying "WRONG" "SINFUL" "EVIL"? What a miserable, contrary ...more
I was immediately swept away by McMurtry's eloquent writing. His style is so mesmerizing, seductive and fluid. The reader is drawn into this story from the onset, devouring every page with a thirst for more. I felt the sweltering heat of Texas, the dirt gritty on my skin, yes, his writing is that detailed.

The characters represent the past, present and future, as well as a scapegoat for one despicable man's anger and hate. I have never in my life loathed a character as much as I loathed Hud. Hud
There was something so bittersweet about this book and I still haven't really decided what I think of it. I agree that the characters seemed so real, the setting just as I imagined. However, the story left me a bit unsatisified - but then again, so was Lonnie at the end and it was his story. The fate of the cows really did touch a nerve - still have too fresh memories of a few years ago and the way it hit our way of life round here. I suppose that's why I wanted something good to happen.
Larry McMurtry is really good at making me fall in love with Texas over and over again. The opening exposition is unspeakably beautiful in it's description of what it feels and looks like as dusk is falling in rural Texas. The novel is so very different from the movie HUD, which I haven't seen in a long time. Of course, I prefer the book. Texas has such a vast and varied history and the tales of ranchers is fascinating if not sad and tragic at times. I cried a few times while reading this book a ...more
Enjoyed it. The differences between it and Hud, the movie based on this book, make for an interesting contrast. Must read the book and see the movie. Both are worth the time.
A classic Larry McMurtry story. This is a cowboy story that takes place in 1954. Lonnie, who is 19 years old, lives on a ranch near Thalia, Texas with his Granddad, Grandma (Granddad's second wife), and Hud (a veteran of WWII). Halmea is the cook plus there are two ranch hands. Granddad is getting old, and to Hud, he's also going senile. Then, they discovered the cattle have hoof and mouth disease so the entire herd of cattle have to be killed. No new cattle can graze on their land for a year. T ...more
Carol Storm
Amazingly great modern western -- feels like an epic but it's so short you can read it in a single night!
A beautiful story, as much about growing old as it is about growing up.
Christian Schwoerke
I had read his Lonesome Dove in 1990 or so, but it was only this past week, in 2013, that I read his first novel, published in 1961. My interest in the book was initially a recollection of Paul Newman’s performance as Hud, which I saw as a youth, in 1963. This memory of Hud, as a callow, abusive man who mistreated women came to me as I read Rabbit, Run. I wondered at that time, if misogyny was something in the air (an unspoken essential element of the 50s), so, after finishing the Rabbit tetralo ...more
Stark. Desolate. Unpleasant. Genius.
Birdie Tracy
Becoming A Man

Larry McMurtry has been one of my favorite writers for a very long time now. He has always had a knack for bringing out emotions in me. He has made me laugh out loud hysterically in the night and weep at how pitiless the world can be. He has shown how achingly beautiful love can be and how terribly sad loss is. I can only think of a couple of other writers who have had this effect on me.

This is the first time I've read this book. While the movie starring Paul Newman centered around
I've seen the movie Hud so many times that it probably colored my perception of this book too much while I was reading it, and I'm sure I would have enjoyed Horseman, Pass By more if I had never seen the movie which was adapted from it; that said, I still enjoyed it a great deal. McMurtry's a terrific writer and his concise yet often aridly poetic prose captures the feel of coming of age in a small western town in the mid-20th century perfectly.

Those who come to the book after having seen the mo
McMurtry has been one of my favorite authors ever since I read some of his early novels back in the 1970s including Leaving Cheyenne and The Last Picture Show. Horseman, Pass By has been on my shelf for several years and I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. It was a wonderful novel told from the perspective of a young boy, Lonnie, who grew up on a Texas cattle ranch in the 1950s. It really shows the realities of ranch life including the loneliness, hard work, and bad luck. It also detail ...more
This book is McMurtry's first novel and a memorable start to a career of putting the reader in the hip pocket of, on the saddle with, and in the life and times of the characters he portrays with aching accuracy.

I wasn't aware this was the book on which the screen-play for the Paul Newman movie "Hud" was based until I recently read McMurtry's "In A Narrow Grave", a collection of essays. The first essay in the Narrow Grave book is about his experience with the making of that movie. I saw the movi
very good coming of age novel told from the perspective of lonny, a 17 year old boy living on a cattle ranch in west texas. there is some beautiful writing about work and the lonesome quality of the land, which in turn reveals lonny's own state of isolation. this book is a fair amount different from the movie "hud", which i really like. but each stands on their own strengths. in the movie hud is really the center of attention,and i think the audience stands in with lonny learning whether hud rea ...more
Peter Elkind
Horseman, Pass By (renamed Hud) is a western novel that tells the story of a young cowboy and his family over the course of a troubling summer. The main character, Lonnie struggles with loneliness at times as he is stuck on the ranch with only several family members and is bored by the small town that sits miles away. He seems to respect Hud but is also scared by him and his actions. Although Hud is not the main character, his personality is perhaps the most complicated of them all. It is diffic ...more
Horseman, Pass By is about Lonnie, a teenager who yearns to leave home, the ranch that his 80 year-old grandfather has built from nothing. He lives on that ranch with his forceful but deteriorating grandpa, an African-American servant Halmea (whom he has the hots for), a couple of kindly ranch hands, and Hud, his grandfather’s hedonistic and downright mean stepson. The novel recounts the tale of one summer, in which Lonnie’s safe world seems to deteriorate around him, tossing him out into that w ...more
Might be one of the best books I've ever read, an amazing accomplishment considering how much I hate Westerns.

This contains the classic romantic elements of the Old West, yet at the same time it's infused with a bracing reality of the real world and its brutality.

McMurtry's writing is dreamy and evocative. Take this passage at the end of one chapter:

“The old cows bawling in the horse pasture kept me awake till nearly morning, and I lay in bed with my eyes open, thinking about all the girls I kne
Randy Wise
Set in fictional Thalia, Texas in 1953, McMurtry's first novel shines like the Texas sun. McMurtry tells the story through the eyes of Lonnie, the young nephew of old rancher Homer. Unlike Hud, the rancher's son, Lonnie is sincere about life. Lonnie sits atop the windmill platform and looks off to the distant lights of Wichita Falls. He longs to escape to escape the ranch and the rottenness of Hud and the pain of the relationship between Hud and his father. McMurtry's portrayal of post-war Texas ...more
Larry McMurtry’s “Horseman, Pass By” is a western and a coming-of-age story set in Texas at a specific time: July 1954. Lonnie, a seventeen year-old, lives with his grand-father and step-grand-mother, and much older step-brother, Hud, on a large ranch. His grand-father is eighty-six and still actively working. He’s a cattleman of the old west: a man of great integrity and past. Hud is wild and grasping: a man whose behaviour presages an ominous future. Lonnie finds himself pulled between these t ...more
Matthew Collins
I liked this book, it was well written, and it wasn't hard to read, but nothing from it stuck with me. I am told (by my Lit of the American West teacher) that his other novels are MUCH better, which makes sense since this is his first. I guess also that this book owes some of its acclaim to the movie, Hud. Either way, I enjoyed the book, and it got me interested in McMurtry and gave me more incentive to read Lonesome Dove, which I have wanted to read for a while. From what I know, it is a fairly ...more
Before reading this book I didn't notice that the movie Hud is based on this book. I haven't seen the movie in ages, but want to give it another go. I have savored every book of Larry McMurtry's that I have read, which is most of them. This one is no exception. Of late, my mind has been kinda stuck in the 20's, 30's and 40's United States, actually the first half of the twentieth century. I easily walked my head into this book. My favorite element of all of Larry McMurtry's writing is that he ne ...more
This is only the second Larry McMurtry book I've read and I didn't care for The Last Picture Show. For me, the film was better. I like this one though, that the film Hud is based on. And I think in this case, both are good. It takes place over a few months, late spring and early summer, on a ranch in a small town in Texas. I think it really captures the teenage boy's lonliness, restlessness, and anticipation of what his own life will be as he regards the few men around him. It is sad and there i ...more
I gather that Larry McMurtry is well known for being uneven as a writer, and I can verify that from my own experience - before this one, I'd only read two books by him, and while "Lonesome Dove" was great, "Anything for Billy" was lousy. So I really didn't know what to expect going into this, his first novel. But I was delighted to find that this is definitely one of his good ones. It has a great feel for the time and place (small town and rural Texas in 1954) and being seventeen, on the edge of ...more
Well written and interesting themes to ponder. The characters and choices that had to be made were interesting but in the end I'm not that interested in cowboys.
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Among many other accolades he was the co-winner of an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Brokeback Mountain in 2006.

Larry McMurty was born in Wichita Falls Texas in 1936. His first published book Horseman, Pass By was adapted into the film "Hud".

McMurty went on to publish many more novels, a number of which went on to become movies as well as a TV mini-series.
More about Larry McMurtry...
Lonesome Dove Terms of Endearment The Last Picture Show Streets of Laredo Comanche Moon

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“There would be a trial, of course. But I had watched a few trials in Thalia, and I had seen people a lot dumber than Hud get away with a lot worse than what he did.” 3 likes
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