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The Cowboy and the Cossack

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  1,747 ratings  ·  241 reviews
On a cold spring day in 1880, fifteen American cowboys sail into Vladivostock with a herd of 500 cattle for delivery to a famine stricken town deep in Siberia. Assigned to accompany them is a band of Cossacks, Russia’s elite horsemen and warriors. From the first day, distrust between the two groups disrupts the cattle drive. But as they overcome hardships and trials along ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 300 pages
Published February 1st 1996 by Buccaneer Books (first published 1973)
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Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtryTrue Grit by Charles PortisBlood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthyAll the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthyNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  1,747 ratings  ·  241 reviews


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David Putnam
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow!! Couldn’t put this book down. What a wonderful novel. I can thank my Goodreads friend, Still for turning me onto Claire Huffaker. He recommended The Guns of Rio Conchos. I read it and immediately picked up the rest of Huffaker’s books. The Cowboy and the Cossacks was one of those and is going down as the best western I’ve read this year and probably for the last five years. What a great read. From the title you might think this was a cowboys and Indians kind of tale, but it’s not. This is m ...more
Kiran
Dec 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Frankly, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this read. This was my first foray into the western genre and while it encompassed many of the traits one would expect from the genre such as cowboys and the herd, it was truly unusual and a bit over the top. I would recommend this book to any person, man or woman, who wants a really fantastic story with compelling, well thought out characters. I couldn't help but feel a bit sad when it all came to an end. Also worth noting are the fantastic illustr ...more
Marquise
A very unique Western with unique setting and premise, cattle-driving across 1880s Russia, that should be turned into a film were the genre ever to come back. The clash of cultures and personalities is handled with large bucketfuls of humour, and the action and adventures are really hysterical, but at the same time, there's deeper themes at play: loyalty, honour, team spirit, sticking to one's word, fighting for your people and their freedom, etc. Quite recommendable even for those who don't enj ...more
David
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've read in a while. Deserves to be considered a classic. Really! ...more
Daniel Villines
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The opening chapters of The Cowboy and the Cossack promise a look into the effects of cross-cultural immersion. A small group of cowboys from the United States finds themselves in eastern Russia, moving a herd cattle to a village in Siberia while being escorted by a group of Russian cossacks. While in transit, the many differences between the two cultures makes the story interesting and the occasional points in common make the story universal.

The story then enters its middle half with a transit
...more
Lillian
In 1880 fifteen Montana Cowboys are commissioned to take five hundred Texas longhorns across a thousand miles of Siberia. They are escorted by the same number of Russian Cossacks. When these rough Americans meet Russian warriors, the clash of cultures inevitably follows, but the universal language here is cowboy, one of courage, loyalty, steadfastness and love.

Told with humor and pathos, I cannot tell you how many times I laughed out loud, then wept uncontrollably.

Cowboys are naturally laconic.
...more
Laura
Cowboys and renegade Cossacks learn important lessons about humanity together. Also there are cows.
Sridhar Reddy
Feb 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-prose
Being unfamiliar with Western novels, my knowledge of the code of the cowboy - the credo - has come from cinema. If there was one steadfast pillar of the credo which I learned from John Ford's My Darling Clementine and The Searchers, from Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West and Don Siegel's The Shootist, it was the iron commitment of the cowboy's word.

The word of the cowboy was not too different from that of the soldier, the samurai, or the alpha animal of a pack, and it was a commitment
...more
Candice
Dec 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful book! I heard about it from Fiction_L, an online group, and was encouraged to read it. It's as much more than just a western as The Sparrow is more than just science fiction. First of all, the setting - Russia in the 1880s - with cossacks, Tartars, humongous wolves, tigers, and the Siberian weather. Then the characters. These are what made the book for me. They were cowboys and cossacks, but they were so fully developed you felt like you knew them. Rivalries turn into friendship ...more
Richda Mcnutt
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My love for this book grew page by page. One of Nancy Pearl's "Book Lust Rediscoveries," the combination of cowboy and Cossack cultures clashing and communing was irresistible. I won't recount the summary of the story (it's better-stated in other reviews) - I will give my impressions of why I love the book. First of all, how can you resist the combination of cowboys and Cossacks? There is mutual distrust at the beginning of their long journey through the Russian terrain, but shared hardships, da ...more
Misfit
Jan 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
"In chess, every piece can be killed and taken from the board, except the king.........And it is so in life. A man who is truly a king never dies."

Written in 1973, Huffaker's tale is told from the viewpoint of nineteen year old Levi Dougherty as in 1880 he and a group of Montana cowboys from the Slash-Diamond ranch arrive at Vladivostok, Siberia prepared to drive a herd of longhorns to their new owners in Bakaskaya. After a very creative way of avoiding the bureaucracy and red-tape denying them
...more
Keith
Dec 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the many books I have recently discovered at the fascinating
Neglected Books page. Even for those who are not fans of Western novels, this tale of a band of cowboys hired to wrangle a herd of cows from Montana to Siberia should be of interest to anyone who enjoys a rousing tale of heroism, getting by, and culture clash. There's Cossacks, stampedes, great scenery, Tartar attacks and more. Sadly, out of print in all but an expensive library edition. Clair Huffaker wrote a number of western
...more
David
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book about the meeting of representatives of two cultures, American Cowboys and Russian Cossacks, on a cattle drive deep into Siberia. There is also the clash of two strong, stubborn men, the Cossack Chief and the cowboy trail boss. As the miles pile up and dangers are faced and overcome, the two groups learn to respect each other, then appreciate each other's skills as they become more like brothers than rivals. ...more
Nadine
May 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, epic
One of the all-time greatest adventure stories ever.
Teri Pre
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-reads
Not one boring bit in the whole book!
Diane
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
I was a little disappointed in this book because it received such high ratings and was recommended by the author of Booklust. The story line was good, about a group of Montana cowboys delivering cattle to a group of "free" Cossacks in Russia in 1880. I found the description of the clash between cultures (cowboys, Cossacks), between the free Cossacks and the Tsar's Cossacks, and between the TarTars and everyone very interesting. But the book was a "Western," written for young adults in the 1970s. ...more
Darryl Mexic
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very good western tale that takes place, not in the U.S. west, but in the east of Russia - Siberia. A group of cow hands from a Montana ranch are fullfilling a contract to deliver a herd of longhorn cattle to a " free " town in czarist Russia. They are met at the port of Vladivostok by an equal sized contingent of free (anti czarist) Cossacks from the destination town, whose task it is to see that the cowboys and more importantly, the longhorns, reach their destination safely. A safe journey a ...more
Margot
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Weirdly enough, it wasn't until I finished this novel that I discovered it was originally published in 1976 and was rediscovered by this woman Nancy Pearl who has put together a series of novels she thinks are worthy of bringing back to life. I have always been a big fan of westerns and was intrigued by the storyline of this novel where some Montana cowboys bring a herd of 500 head of cattle across the Pacific ocean to eastern Russia, meet up with some rebel Cossacks who help them drive this her ...more
Rainbowblu
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shad and Rostov, a cowboy and a Cossack, two men, two countries, one destiny. A crazy drive of 500 longhorns across Eastern Siberia in 1880, bring these two great men together. At first it seems that their differences are too great for them to understand each other. Yet time, difficulties and dangers will bind them closer than brothers. East and West clashing then joining unfolds with great drama and good humor. A captivating story of unparalleled courage and leadership made me not want to put t ...more
Jan
The premise sounded really fun, no matter how improbable. The execution, however, leaves much to be desired. Too many details about things that make no difference to the story, lots of repetition, and characters that just don't ring true. The narration was fine, but the cowboy and Russian accents got old fast. Didn't finish but got past the half-way point. ...more
Lostinanovel
Jun 07, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cathy
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Quite interesting! It was recommended by a former teacher who recommended it to high school boys. I can see where it would appeal to them - action, swearing, adventure. It appealed to me for the same reasons as well althought the philosophical aspect seems a little old fashioned and maybe too introspective for todays teen boys. I cared about all the characters and would love to revisit them. It also made me curious about the author and what else she might have written.

It reminded me of one of my
...more
Ronald Wise
This novel turned out to be enjoyable and touching, once I got past my initial perceptions of an implausible scenario with stupid cowboy dialog. In it we join a group of cowboys taking a herd of longhorns to Russia and teaming up with a group of Cossacks to deliver them to a break-away region of Tsarist Russia.

It's told through the eyes of a young cowboy, and his limited vocabulary ends up being the charming aspect of the book as he tries to express observations and feelings that are damnere phi
...more
Diane Barnes
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book gets one of my highest accolades: It was a hell of a good read. I don't normally read westerns, and this is a western that takes place in Russia! But I love Nancy Pearl's Book Lust series, and this is one of her newly launched (with Amazon) rediscovery books. These are books that have been out of print for years, but that need to be read and enjoyed by new generations. I decided to give this one a try, and boy am I glad I did. The growing love and respect between men of different natio ...more
Karl
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nancy Pearl, Goddess of Librarians, resurrected this as part of her series of excellent-but-went-out-of-print series. Similar to McMurtry's Lonesome Dove in that there's an epic cattle drive and there's an important mentor/mentee cowboy relationship, but darker (and less rich, admittedly). Still, an amazing read, if for no other reason to learn about the cossacks and about the Tartars who were still, apparently, marauding around central Asia, killing ethnic Russians in the 1860s. What a harsh wo ...more
Jan
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Originally published in 1973, this coming-of-age Western is back in print as part of librarian Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Rediscovery series. It's follows a group of American cowboys who have to work with some Cossacks to take a herd across Siberia in 1880. Lots of manly virtues on display, related in laconic fashion by the youngest cowboy, so the writing feels flat--but still a different and interesting read. ...more
Barbara
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am not particularly a fan of Western novels, but I read this for a book club and was so glad I did! From the beginning it held my attention with the interesting and exciting plot. The characters and their relationships were richly developed and helped draw me into the plot even more. This was a terrific read!
Darydar
Oct 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It's a wonderful book. Full of characters that you will fall in love with. Infact I didn't want the book to end because these men became like friends to me. I hope you will take the time to enjoy the journey that Clair Huffaker's takes you on. ...more
Vicki
Dec 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really unusual twist on Westerns, which I usually don't read but now might start. A little formulaic, but very engaging characters in Levi, Rostov, and Shad, and funny secondary characters, good scenery, and suspense. Nice read. ...more
Paula
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club-reads
I enjoyed this book except for the filthy language. But I am sure that is how Cowboys talked out on the range so it was more realistic. A very good story of American Cowboys and Russian Cossacks. So very different, yet so very similar no matter what country.
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Clair Huffaker was a U.S. author of westerns and other fiction, many of which were turned into films. His screenplays included such films as "Flaming Star" (1960), "The Commancheros" (1961), "Rio Conchos" (1964), and "The War Wagon" (1967). His TV scripts showed up on "The Virginian", "Lawman" and "Bonanza". Clair wrote screenplays for 3 Euro-westerns, "100 Rifles" (1969), "The Deserter" (1971), " ...more

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