This is my favorite Louis L'Amour western novel (out of over 75 read). It's probably because I like Tyrell Sackett so much as a POV character but I alThis is my favorite Louis L'Amour western novel (out of over 75 read). It's probably because I like Tyrell Sackett so much as a POV character but I also love the Sacketts overall, especially the three brothers depicted here. Along with that, it is one of the first L'Amour books I had read back when I was in my 20s so I suppose some nostaligia effects my judgement. I've even watched "The Sacketts" movie a few times which depicts this story along with "Sackett" simultaneously....more
This book is a sequel but, I believe, firmly stands on it own merits. But for those who are expecting it to be a second Little Wolf novel, don't. LittThis book is a sequel but, I believe, firmly stands on it own merits. But for those who are expecting it to be a second Little Wolf novel, don't. Little Wolf finally makes his appearance with only 50 pages to go. But no matter, his brother is very capable of providing enough adventure for readers of Westerns. In fact our protagonist goes from one situation to another, almost like one short story to another, which is tied up neatly at the end, bringing the whole novel together. The only reason I didn't give this one more stars is because some of the characters were quite cliched and there really was nothing new here. This was my first Charles West novel and I may well read more....more
I have read more than 30 Louis L'Amour books and I rank this one in the top 5. It is a bit more involved than most, combining the western story with aI have read more than 30 Louis L'Amour books and I rank this one in the top 5. It is a bit more involved than most, combining the western story with a mystery plot. And as always, I love to read the descriptions of the landscape and the people of the South West. Life is full of choices but you could do worse than chosing to spend an evening with "Passin' Through"...more
This one was sitting on my shelf for a couple of years while I kept reaching for other, more glamorous titles. Finally, I picked it up and, WOW, it tuThis one was sitting on my shelf for a couple of years while I kept reaching for other, more glamorous titles. Finally, I picked it up and, WOW, it turned out to be a great read. There is plenty of action, intrigue, and suspense despite it's historical characters. Most of the book deals with Bill Tilghman's chase of Bill Doolan, a notorius outlaw and leader of the Wild Bunch of Oklahoma Territory. There's even some romance and soft-heartedness thrown in. I confess this is my first book by Matt Braun but will not be my last!...more
Having Read Lonesome Dove and Streets of Laredo, I found this book to be also quite good. I enjoyed the story line and the characters. The style is viHaving Read Lonesome Dove and Streets of Laredo, I found this book to be also quite good. I enjoyed the story line and the characters. The style is vintage McMurtry except for the one weekness I saw. The plot seems to be a bit disjointed, with the characters going from one difficulty to the next without ever really wrapping up anything. It leaves you with an unfullfilled feeling at the end. I guess I just wasn't satisfied. It seems a little too obvious that McMurtry is simply setting us up for another prequel....more
Do you ever get tired of the world we live in today? With all the stress of day-to-day life compounded with news of how bad the economy is, no end inDo you ever get tired of the world we live in today? With all the stress of day-to-day life compounded with news of how bad the economy is, no end in sight, terrorism, crisis after crisis, etc. don't you just want to hide in a little cubby hole and not come out until it's over? Well if that sort of day ever comes your way then I heartily suggest a good western novel by Louis L'Amour. I've just completed Cherokee Trail and it took me to another place and time that somehow made our current predicaments fade away, at least for a while. I've probably read 40-50 of L'Amour's novels now, interspersing them throughout all of my other reading and I just never get tired of them.
Cherokee Trail is about a widow who takes over the management of a stagecoach stop in northern Colorado during the years of the Civil War back east. She is a very strong female character and it is a pleasure to see how she copes with the wildness of the times in a man's world and succeeds with her business. Now these novels will not win a Pulitzer prize, of course, but I don't read them for their literary merit. But I am impressed with L'Amour's knowledge of western life and I think he gets short shrift by historical purists who often discard his research and consequently his novels as "typical westerns." Yes, there are some cliched characters, the gun fighters, the ranchers, the stage operators, etc. but his protagonist displays the same sense of honor and courage that we find in all of his novels. And that's why I read them. I can always count on them to be what they are. I don't expect more or less than a good ol' fashioned western. ...more
Thanks to a holiday off work yesterday, I was able to finish up Louis L'Amour's Callaghen. This is another one of the books I picked up during my lastThanks to a holiday off work yesterday, I was able to finish up Louis L'Amour's Callaghen. This is another one of the books I picked up during my last visit to the local library. I like to peruse the store they have there and hunt for my "collections." My Louis L'Amour collection is one of those; I don't think I've purchased a L'Amour book at full retail price since the first one back in the 1970's sometime, when I was a kid. Now I'm up to over 50 of his books, mostly read, but since he was such a prolific author, it's still pretty easy to find some of his books that I don't have yet.
Callaghen is one of those books that came along at just the right time for me. I was due to read a western anyhow, but I had a bit of a bad day on Tuesday (don't worry, nothing all that serious). Nevertheless, it was one of those instances where somebody close to me got the raw end of the deal through no fault of their own...and was punished for it. The world ain't black and white but your typical Louis L'Amour western novel usually is. I really liked being able to escape into this world where you know who the good guys and the bad guys are. And you can be pretty comfortably assured that the bad guys will get what's coming to them in the end. This one was no exception. The main character, Callaghen, is an army sergeant with years of experience in both US, just after the Civil War, as well as in foreign services. He has an intriguing past, having held the rank of Major before being busted down several times. Now he is eligible for discharge but doesn't really know what to do with his life. Soldiering is all he knows.
Fortunately, Callaghen has one last bit of work to do for the US Army, namely serving with a unit to protect the Government road to Vegas Springs and Las Vegas. Right through Indian country. Callaghen's vast experience with desert survival serves him and his companions well as they run into all sorts of Indian trouble, stage coach protection, and of course the political snakes within their own camp. We spend a lot of time seeing the countryside through Callaghen's eyes, an especially vivid portrait of the desert landscapes. L'Amour does a better job than anybody I've read on describing the thirst his characters encounter when they run short of water. Coupling that with the action of the gun battles as well as the intrigue that develops among the members of the Army unit makes for a fine story. I'd rate it a top 20% of all of L'Amour's works....more
"Radigan" is the 66th Louis L'Amour book I've read, my number one author if you count by number of books read but only number 6 if you count by the nu"Radigan" is the 66th Louis L'Amour book I've read, my number one author if you count by number of books read but only number 6 if you count by the number of pages read. This is another fairly average length L'Amour paperback novel, coming in at 154 pages. Obviously, you can tell I like this author and I read his novels periodically but this time I chose to read one because they serve as great "comfort" reads for me. I received some bad news yesterday and was feeling pretty low. I didn't want to do any of my normal hobbies and I didn't even want to read. That's certainly a rare occurrence for me. But I had to do something to fill the hours so I gave reading a try and L'Amour was just the ticket.
I've remarked before about how I read these novels for the fun of them. Not for any great literary accomplishments or for what anybody else may think of them. There's a certain honesty about them and it sure beats listening to the radio which is constantly playing campaign ads right now.
Tom Radigan is a former ranger and now owns a small cattle ranch in northern New Mexico territory. Along comes Angelina Foley with an outfit of gunfighters, 3000 head of cattle and what she claims is a deed to Radigan's land. Radigan knows the deed is phony but despite his attempts to tell her so, a full-on range war begins. Now you might expect some sort of boiler-plate western plot to take over with Radigan falling for the girl and living happily ever after but that is just not the case. I won't spoil it for you but this is a fine western story with gunfights, fist fights, wilderness survival (in deep winter snows), and more. The ending came abruptly and I would have liked to have a little more filled out with the final moments of the plot but overall, this was a great one.
And yes, I do feel better now, thanks for asking. ...more
This is a marvelous collection of western short stories by the immortal Louis L'Amour. As an example of the stories you'll find here, "Bluff Creek StaThis is a marvelous collection of western short stories by the immortal Louis L'Amour. As an example of the stories you'll find here, "Bluff Creek Station" is one of the shortest of the stories in the entire collection and yet it is one of the most inspiring. It begins with the main character knowing he is soon to die, shot through the spine by Indians raiding the stage coach station. His only purpose in living at this point is to warn the stage that is due in to the station shortly, striving to live just long enough to fire off his shotgun as a warning that Indians still lay in ambush. His thoughts while he waits and as numbness sets in throughout his limbs are poignant indeed. This is excellent writing and definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat for the few minutes it takes to reach the end.
I've said before that Louis L'Amour has two reputations: one as a hack western formula writer who churned out short book after short book for years and so was obviously a "bad" writer. I know personally of some people who dismiss him as a horrible writer simply because there are so many of his books on the book store shelves. Obviously he can't be any good. Of course, they have never tried a single one; they choose to let their elitism keep them from enjoying a good reading experience. Others have said that his writing is "authentic" and allows the readers of today a glimpse into the real west of the later 1800s. I probably fall somewhere in between but I've read enough to know that he isn't just a western writer, having written all sorts of adventure books from the WWII era all the way back to the stoneage. He puts a lot of real history in his stories. His biography makes it clear that even though he was a self-taught man he did an enormous amount of research for his stories; walking the hills and valleys where they take place.
While I don't pretend to say he is a "great" writer, he certainly fits the description of an enjoyable writer. And when all is said and done, that's a pretty good epitaph.
"Cripple Creek" by Douglas Hirt is billed as a "Western" but now that I've read it I tend to see it more as an historical novel. I suppose all western"Cripple Creek" by Douglas Hirt is billed as a "Western" but now that I've read it I tend to see it more as an historical novel. I suppose all westerns are, in essence, historical novels but in my mind they tend to be more or less confined to the years immediately after the Civil War and on up to the end of the 1880s or so. And they tend to be about cattle drives, the Indian wars, frontier justice and the like, usually with one main hero. "Cripple Creek" is not really about any of those things but rather about the birth and first six years of the boomtown of Cripple Creek, Colorado.
My family has lived in Colorado Springs off and on for about 17 years, depending on where my military assignments have led us and we've decided to make it our home now that I've retired from my military career. I've known the town of Cripple Creek, nestled up in the mountains to the west, as one of several historic towns in Colorado to be allowed limited gambling. I've always known it had begun as a silver mining town but didn't know the real history of the place. So when I saw this book at the used bookstore I just had to grab it.
The novel itself is an easy read but is a very good novelization of the area in the early 1890s. There are several main characters but chief among them is Casey Daniels, a mining engineer who runs afoul of one of the prominent mine owners of the region. There are quite a few story lines that interact among the many characters, lending a bit of a soap opera feel to the story but what I enjoyed the most was the large numbers of real historical figures. Some play major roles in the novel, including Winfield Scott Stratton, the "Three Jims", and of course, Bob Womack, the first man to discover the riches underneath the mountain. Many historical novels would stop there but in this one every major mine owner, hotel operator, saloon proprietor and whore house madam that plays a role in the story is a genuine historical figure. It was fun to see their names as well as the landmarks and relate them to some of the prominent street names and public buildings that exist today in Colorado Springs.
It occurs to me that while all of these familiar character names makes this a fun novel for me to read, it may have the opposite effect on those who do not live here or know the surrounding area. I noticed several times where we meet people for very brief moments and who have very little impact on the story, almost as if the author just wanted to make sure they made an appearance. That could be a problem for some. But overall I thought it was a nice story, albeit somewhat predictable. The characters were also a bit two dimensional and seemed to come straight out of central casting but something about this novel drew me to it and I definitely wanted to keep on reading, even past my bedtime. ...more
No Matter how many times I read a Louis L'Amour book from my "to be read" pile (or shelves in my case) I seem to still have about 5 left to read. I'mNo Matter how many times I read a Louis L'Amour book from my "to be read" pile (or shelves in my case) I seem to still have about 5 left to read. I'm beginning to think they are breeding. Nevertheless, I always seem to enjoy them and really tend to use them as breaks between larger novels. With over a hundred novels and short story collections published I am constantly amazed when I read one of his books and discover a whole new actual story and not just a repetition of something he's done before.
Hanging Woman Creek, is yet again an original western story. This is one of his shorter ones, coming in at exactly 150 pages in my copy. It's the story of Baranbus "Pronto" Pike who, for a change, is no gun fighter and not really much of a fist fighter either although he has found himself in many such scraps over the years. He meets up with Edie, a boxer, who also happens to be black, and together they look to survive a rugged Montana winter while making plans to start their own horse/cattle ranch. Edie teaches Pike the finer arts of boxing which come in handy at the end of the story. But they come across an old friend of Pike's who apparently, has gotten mixed up with the bad side of the law and before you know it, Pike and Edie are in the fight of their lives. As always with a L'Amour book, good triumphs over evil and there is a happy ending.
Pike is an unusual protagonist for L'Amour in that he is not the quiet, reserved gunfighter that we often see. The story is told from the first person perspective and it becomes obvious very soon in the story that Pike is not cut from the normal hero mold of so many westerns. That's probably what I like most about this book. The way in which the author weaves historical elements of life between the Little Big Horn and the Powder Rivers in 1885 with the action of cattle rustling, bar fights and, of course, a blossoming romance, makes for a great western read. ...more
It's been a while since I read my last western novel so I chose The High Graders by Louis L'Amour, my 64th book by this author. In fact, with the compIt's been a while since I read my last western novel so I chose The High Graders by Louis L'Amour, my 64th book by this author. In fact, with the completion of this book, I have now read more Louis L'Amour books than books by any other author. Number 2 only has 63...
A "High Grader" for those that are not aware, is somebody who steals the high quality, rich ore from a mine. This book is quite a bit different from the usual L'Amour novel in that it features quite a few major characters as well as a rather complicated plot. I felt a bit like I was watching a chess match as the various players jockeyed about the pages. Even though this is a typically short western novel (184 paperback pages in my copy) there were times when it seemed to drag. Probably because there were too many characters to get to really know any of them, I rank this one in the bottom half of L'Amour's work. ...more
Fallon is the 4th book written by Louis L'Amour that I have read this year. Normally, that's about my max for L'Amour each year because I have other wFallon is the 4th book written by Louis L'Amour that I have read this year. Normally, that's about my max for L'Amour each year because I have other westerns on my “To Be Read” shelf by other authors. But I'm plum out (that's a little western expression there) and only have L'Amour books there now. That's OK though if they're as good as Fallon.
This book is the 65th L'Amour book I've read. That tells me I read a lot of books, or else I'm just getting old. A little of both I suspect. Ever since I fell in love with the Sackett family in my teen years, I’ve been reading L’Amour westerns (as well as a few of his non-western adventure stories). Fallon was first published in 1963 and tells the tale of a drifter who is part con artist, part fraud, but mostly a good guy. It is shortly after the Civil War is over and he cons his way into establishing the new town of Red Horse, based on rumors of a gold strike nearby (rumors started by Fallon, himself, of course). Instead of skedaddling to San Francisco like he planned, using the money from a dry claim he sold to an unsuspecting fellow, he finds himself coming to care about the little town and its people who, in turn, rely on him for leadership against the roughnecks in the neighborhood. This is a fine story, with a few unexpected plot twists to keep it interesting. The ending is satisfying and even humorous. Yet again, I am happy to see a "formula" western by L'Amour not be so formula-driven after all. I would rank this one in his top 10...and if you don't count the Sackett novels it would be in his top five. ...more
This was a pretty quick read due to its easy flowing style and first person narrative technique. Marie Antoinette "Nellie" Courtright narrates her ownThis was a pretty quick read due to its easy flowing style and first person narrative technique. Marie Antoinette "Nellie" Courtright narrates her own life story, most of it taking place in her 20's. Now, I've read "Lonesome Dove" as well as the three companion volumes to that novel and this book is no "Lonesome Dove". But that is not necessarily a bad thing. "Lonesome Dove" won the pulitzer prize for literature, presumably for the quality of the writing. My feeling is that it won for the sheer audacity of it. After all, it took the "Western" style of fiction away from the predictable cowboys and indian structure of Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour and steered it towards something completely new and different. Well, here we have another type of western novel that is different.
This novel seems to be purposefully over-the-top. By that I mean, Mr McMurtry cares little for realism this time around and focuses instead on the impossible-to-believe. Here we have a 22-year old young lady living at the end of the "Wild West" days that manages to meet, interact with, influence, and sleep with virtually all of the famous folk of the day. This includes Wild Bill Hickock, General Custer, Buffalo Bill Cody, Wyatt Earp and all of his brothers. Her journey (in just one book mind you) takes her from her western home in Rita Blanca (present day Oklahoma panhandle), to Dodge City, Nebraska, and finally on to Arizona, where she witnessed the shootout at the OK Corral. She is vitally important to Buffalo Bill's Wild West show getting off the ground and she becomes a bestselling author of dime novels of the era. Unlikely? Yes. Enjoyable entertainment? Absolutely! ...more