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Heller with a Gun

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,732 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Tom Healy was in trouble. His theatrical troupe needed to get to Alder Gulch, Montana, and the weather was turning. Andy Barker promised Tom he could get them there safely, but Tom was reluctant to trust him: he had the lives of three actresses to consider, and his personal feelings for Janice further heightened his concern. Then King Mabry showed up. Although Tom didn’t l ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 1st 1998 by Bantam (first published January 1st 1955)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,732 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Jeff Dickison
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a typical L'Amour western. Gunfighter protects a group of eastern actors from a bunch of baddies. There is a twist ending: the problem is I could see the twist coming from a mile away. A good quick read for western fans.
I actually found this book in a dumpster, and so first assumed it was there for a reason other being slightly damaged and old. But as a library worker I decided I should give westerns a try so I could help suggest them to interested readers. I had heard of Louis L'Amour and knew he was a popular author in the genre, and the book was quite short, so I went for it.

It was surprising to me how engaging this book was. I am not typically interested in western stories, (but I do like a good spaghetti w
Jonathan Rolfe
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric Fredricksen
Apr 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Actually pretty good by LL standards, in terms of some small mystery in the course of the plot. Pretty sure he picks titles out of a hat.
Vicks 009er
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: westerns
“Heller with a Gun” is one of Louis L’Amour’s earlier novels and I thought it was solid. Nothing to complain about and hard to put down. The premise is unique and really cool: Five actors hire a guy and his buddies to get them through the Wyoming Territory in the dead of winter. King Mabry is a rough and rugged loner that doesn’t trust the newly hired dodgy guides so he decides to follow the group’s trail to make sure the actors are safe. Blizzards, bullets, Indians, murders, thieves, and Mabry’ ...more
Jay Wright
There is no one named Heller in the book. King Mabry is a gunman that runs into a troupe of actors in a remote inn. He likes one of the troupe, but she is put off by his brute use of force. It is winter and the troupe is guided by some bad men that intend to rob, rape and kill. Mabry saves them. They fight desperadoes and Indians. The ending is not his usual.
Tyler Cole
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
Another well written book by Louis L'Amour. The plot is typical for L'Amour, but non the less, a fine enjoyable read and one that I never get tired of reading. Smooth dialog and wonderful narration with a somewhat believable story.

"Wind knifed at his exposed cheek. He drew deeply on his cigarette. Whoever followed him had the same problem. Find shelter or die. The wind was a moving wall of snow and the evening was filled with vast sound."
Fredrick Danysh
Nov 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: westerns
Its always a pleasure to find a Louis L'Amour book that I haven't read before. In Heller With a Gun, King Marby is being hunted because he turned down a gunfighter job. He stumbles across a troop of entertainers in the wilderness who have a secret of their own. The troop is being targeted for rape and murder by a member of the old Plummer gang and King attempts to save them. For the romantic, two women in the troop develop feeling for King.
Jan 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: westerns
Another interesting take on the old west. Yes, still good guys and bad guys, but add in a theatrical troupe working their way through the west. These are mostly eastern folks, out of their element and just trying to make a living, when they get into trouble. This seventh book by L'Amour does contain an interesting twist at the end, but I don't want to spoil it by putting it here.
G. Connor Salter
I've never read Louis L'Amour before, and after this I'm sorry about that. This is a short book, not a novel either in length or complexity (which was a little disappointing) but the fascinating characterizations and descriptions of the setting make more up for that. I will be coming back to L'Amour's books in the future.
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am sitting on our backyard deck shaded by a leaf canopy provided by Maple, Cherry, and Sassafras trees. It is a sunny day and there's is a gentle breeze. All in all, the perfect setting to read a L'Amour story. By the way, if you are a L'Amour fan the story is typical and a quick read. Analogous to comfort food for the brain.
Matthew Hurley
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I persist in my unfashionable appreciation of Louis L'Amour. The dialog was a trifle contrived at times, but L'Amour nonetheless merits his reputation as master storyteller with his evocative, genuine descriptions. I also think this plot particularly good.
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: westerns
This is the fourth Louis L'Amour book I've read and I cannot wait to read more. The characters, plot, locations all played their part in an enjoyable, satisfying read and it ended just as I hoped it would.
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another great western! Just had a need to read a couple of these. Quick read, but L'Amour never ceases to impress.

Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This one ends with a twist, and that was refreshing!
Steven Freeman
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: western
Good story - engaging characters, nice geographic detail of Wyoming in the winter.
Nov 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Louis L'Amour fans
Recommended to Skjam! by: title
King Mabry has a reputation. Some of it’s earned. He indeed is a fearsome man when holding a gun, having killed eleven men “not counting Indians.” But he’s at pains to point out that those men were all armed and facing him at the time. Mabry’s also not keen on being hired for his gunfighting skills, when his preferred skill set is riding herd. The men he killed in the Civil War was because it was war, and the men he’s killed since came looking for violence. In fact, right now he’s riding to tell ...more
Jimmy Lee
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Picked this up because it's the basis for "Heller in Pink Tights," one of the 35+ movies based on L'Amour novels. Haven't seen the movie, but rest assured, when I spot it - a western directed by George Cukor and with reputedly stunning colorful costumes by Edith Head - I'll be watching. But the novel is interesting all by itself.

King Mabry is a dead shot, and that's a burden. He's got a delivery to make, but he's got men on his trail; gunmen are always stalked by other gunmen wanting to make a n
Ward G
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: western
King Mabry was good with a gun.
Yet he would not hire out as a killer.

After refusing to join, a questionable job.
The would be employer sending men to kill him out of spite.
Mabry meets up with a small theater troupe, in town.

The troupe heading west, to late in the season.
The man hired to lead them, not seeming to be trust worthy.

Mabry soon finding himself, joined with them on the trail.
As the wagon leader and his men.
Prove ready to kill them all, for their money.
As winter begins to settle in.

May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read! One of the best Louis L'Amour books that I've read in recent years. The protagonist was believable, the characters well developed, the story itself was believable enough, and the ending...well, yeah, you could pretty much see it coming from a mile away, but still fun. Overall, one of the best of L'Amour's novels that I've read. Good enough that I wish Louis had based more stories on the lead character; he was that interesting. Not another "superhero wearing a ten-gallon hat" like som ...more
Joe Bruno
Ok, so I have read a couple of Louis Lamour yarns in my time. I knew what to expect, a simple story, dangerous men who don't say much, guns, indians, horses, and g-rated love stories. These books are every cheap made for TV western you ever saw. Simple entertainment, not need to look to critically at them.

This does not fail to live up to that ideal and was a good enough way to spend an evening. I found a copy for $2 at the local Goodwill and it will return there in my next donation. There were a
Zachariah Lewis
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I only started getting into the Western genre this year - but this book made me glad I did.

This was my first L'Amour book and it was brilliant. I've heard it said that his writing is simple and bare-bones stuff, not anything that you're going to find any good quotes for reflecting on. That wasn't the case with this book.

It was action-packed, gritty, quotable and had a plot that made every page seem to fly by.
Kara Mealer
May 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
so many cliches
Terry Yaceyko
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed this.
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book.
Sep 19, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-new
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You know a good story when you lose sleep because you stayed up to finish the book. I would say Louis l’amour’s earlier writings are his best and this is one of them
Mitchell Visser
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Westerns are for fags but it was pretty goodn
This was my first ever Louis L'Amour book, and I liked it really well! Which is a good thing, as I've got something like 15 more of his books on my TBR. See, we were having a yard sale this summer, and my grandpa had a big box just chock full of L'Amour books, so when the sale was over, I took a bunch of 'em home with me. My grandma said to just bring 'em back when I was done and we'd stick 'em in the next sale, but I'm not gonna do that, no way. This is going in my collection. Part of the attra ...more
Mar 06, 2012 added it
I was at Square Books in Oxford with Beth when the Western section caught my eye. I decided I wanted to read one, but I didn't know which one. "Clearly I should read a Louis L'Amour book. He's apparently the entire genre, though. How do I pick one?" She suggested that I pick the one with the most exciting picture on the cover.

And so here we are.

When I started reading this, I thought that it was my first western novel. It turns out that it's not - while I wouldn't say they're exactly the same kin
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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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