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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  10,058 ratings  ·  838 reviews
A stranger rode out of the heart of the great glowing West, into the small Wyoming valley in the summer of 1889.
It was Shane, who appeared on the horizon and became a friend and guardian to the Starrett family at a time when homesteaders and cattle rangers battled for territory and survival. Jack Schaefer’s classic novel illuminates the spirit of the West through the eyes
Hardcover, 135 pages
Published October 29th 2001 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1949)
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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 McCarthyBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
Best Westerns
1,083 books — 1,312 voters
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtryBlood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthyTrue Grit by Charles PortisThe Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWittAll the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
Literary Westerns
213 books — 336 voters

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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,058 ratings  ·  838 reviews

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Start your review of Shane
Fantastic storytelling. A great classic Western. All the elements needed:

- A dark and mysterious stranger
- A passionate narrator
- The oppression of the little people
- The evil cattle Baron
- Gunslingers
- Clever one liners
- Riding off into the sunset

Even if you don't like westerns, if you enjoy a good, well-written story I think you will enjoy this one. (also, it isn't very long so it is a nice quick read)
Jay Schutt
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Was just reminded of reading this one in school all those years ago. Great story and really enjoyed it.
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of great stories
Shelves: beach-read, western
A classic that is more than a western. It's also a story about one of the myths of the United States - the heroic Lone Hero on the Frontier. Shane is the embodiment of the Lone Hero; the man who shares the values of civilized society, but has the destructive skills of the outlaw.He rides out of the wilderness to aid the band of pioneers and take on the land-grabbing cattle barons in a violent but satisfying bloodletting. In 2012 this is a cliche, but ,as I have pointed out in the past when revie ...more
Edward Lorn
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shane was my father's favorite movie. I remember watching it with him on many occasions. The film remains one of the only positive memories I have of my old man. I was never a fan of westerns, but as a kid who desperately wanted his father's approval (approval that, I might add, would never come; he's been dead since 2011), I'd force myself to consume the things he liked in the hopes that I might become one of those things.

And then I grew up and realized my father wasn't someone whose approval I
Charles  van Buren
A deceptively simple tale

Review of Kindle edition
Publication date: May 14, 2017
Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
Language: English
ASIN: B0725P6KR2

A great piece of American literature which happens to be a western but is much more than just a well written western story. Even if you have seen the 1953 released movie with Alan Ladd, and maybe even more so if you have, the tension builds as you read until the explosive, but expected, climax is reached.

Shane is a man attempting to escape the
Mike (the Paladin)
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
Good book. This is another where the movie will probably forever more be better known than the novel itself. In this case it's also a good happens now and then you know. As they say even a blind hog finds an acorn occasionally.

Anyway...Shane. The book opens with the (almost stereotypical) dark rider riding through and meeting a family whom he befriends. But if you think about it...this is one or the characters that established the stereotype. So he (Shane) becomes almost a part of said
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in high school in Sophomore English class. The teacher I had was wonderful,and she was out 8 weeks due to surgery. Thank God she was with us when we read,and discussed this book. I don't really remember the discussion in class much, but I did remember that I loved this book when I was a kid.....then after reading it the first time in 1976....I wondered why she had it on our class roster of novels to I am 2012,and I downloaded it onto my NOOK. I was prepared ...more
Ben Loory
Aug 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
jesus christ, what a beautiful book. i'm tempted to call it holy. there's a part of me that wants to read it every day from now until the end of my life.

Where was Shane? I hurried toward the barn. I was almost to it when I saw him out by the pasture. He was staring over it and the grazing steers at the great lonely mountains tipped with the gold of the sun now rushing down behind them. As I watched, he stretched his arms up, the fingers reaching to their utmost limits, grasping and grasping, it
robin friedman
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shane For Independence Day

Each year for the Fourth of July, I try to review a book that captures something of the spirit of the day and of our country. This year, I chose Jack Schaefer's 1949 book, "Shane" his first novel and the source of the famous 1953 film of the same name, directed by George Stevens, starring Alan Ladd, and with a screenplay by the Western novelist, A.B. Guthrie. I chose this book for Independence Day because of the sense of promise it shows for the United States and becaus
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There's no living with a killing. There's no going back from it. Right or wrong, it's a brand, a brand that sticks. There's no going back. Now you run on home to your mother and tell her, tell her everything's alright, and there aren't any more guns in the valley.

Watched Shane for the 3rd or 4th time over the Christmas (the first time I've seen it since seeing Logan over the summer which referenced extensively) so I thought I'd drop one of my iconic not-read-the-book reviews.

Shane is best re
I unashamedly loved this. To my mind the quintessential western. Wouldn't be too many readers I suspect who haven't heard of Shane. The story of a lone gunman who comes to the rescue of the Sharratt family and against unbeatable odds takes on the "bad guys" and triumphs.

A simple style of writing that suited the story. Found this one to be a bit of a "tear jerker" actually. Not a lengthy read by any means. The author managed to convey much with a minimum of fuss. Loved it to bits. Time and money
Splendid little novella, one of the very few told from a child's first person POV that managed to convey the plot with the adequate doses of childish hero-worshipping while still staying realistic, to pull at heart's strings and yet manage to end satisfyingly. Memorable character, too. Why don't they write Westerns like this anymore?
Alan Cotterell
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2020
When I was a lot younger the film of this book was always on TV, and I used to love it. For a change the film is a fairly good representation of the book.
I highly recommend this even if you are not a big fan of Westerns, read this classic story. It is a very well written story of good over evil, morals, mysterious dark strangers, even the cliche of riding off into the sunset.
Jeremiah Boydstun
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: westerns
Contains minor spoilers

Loved this book from beginning to end for two primary reasons:

First, Schaefer has an elegant and simple style that is, much like the story itself, quintessentially American: relatively short declarative sentences, the sparing and precise use of modifiers, and the brief and intense focus on those aspects of characterization and setting that highlight common themes and images in American fiction (but themes that are also timeless and universal). Some of these themes include
William Johnson
My first Western! And what a way to start ...

I suddenly was compelled to read and watch Westerns, something I had only brief knowledge or experience in. I'm not sure why, exactly, the genre left me behind because I grew up watching Star Trek which is essentially, as Gene Roddenberry explained, "Wagon Train to the Stars". A lot of the same concepts and ideas in Trek apply to Western tropes as well. So I had some of the ideas ingrained in me but just never took the official plunge into the subjec
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic story! I read it years ago & remembered liking it & the movie a lot, but so many books are disappointing on a reread decades later. This is NOT one. Like To Kill a Mockingbird, reading it from two entirely different age perspectives just made it even better.

Yes, it's a western & the type of story has been done to death, but this 1949 book is one of the trend setters. It's so concise & well written, too. Highly recommended. This time around, I listened to it & Grover Gardner did
Apr 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
This is the book I grew up with, having it read to me as a boy. It is an American classic and considered one of the great Westerns in league only with Lonesome Dove.

This is THE novel from which the wester movie genre was created. The dark hero with a mixed and unstated past, the western town with a struggle raging between migrant farmers and cattle ranchers, the hired guns and dark saloons all comprise elements of this short story. This is THE story that gave birth to the image of the laconic co
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a fan of Westerns as a genre, yet I loved this book back in 1968 when I first read it as a sophomore in high school. Since then, I've seen the movie multiple times, and it was time to re-read the book (especially after I recommended it to a young man who isn't a big reader). As an adult, I was drawn to the descriptions of Shane as he wrestles with his demons and angels. I still love the book, although now, in my mind's eye, I see Van Heflin as Joe Starrett, Jean Arthur as Marian, Brandon ...more
Robin Hatcher
A recent discussion with friends about the classic movie version of Shane made me decide it was time to read the book. I'm glad I did. The writing and the story is strong. Next time I watch the movie, I'm going to see it through fresh eyes.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, western
The granddaddy of the "A dark stranger rides into town" Western, which became something of a genre itself.

This is a classic, and for good reason. Love, friendship, gunplay, and good vs. evil are all here. It's all you could want from any story.
Ms. Yingling
Feb 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Not a fan of westerns, never seen the movie with Alan Ladd, and had my doubts as to whether this 1949 title should be kept.

It should.

I haven't decided on a reader for it yet, because the first half of the book is a lyrical character study of a drifter who arrives at a farm in Wyoming in 1889. While the family is happy, trouble is brewing. The father hires Shane to help with the work, and ends up getting more help than he bargains from the enigmatic stranger whose every move whispers "danger".

Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: westerns

A simple story of good and evil in a Wild West setting. I first read *Shane* 20 years ago while doing a week-long substitute teaching assignment in a junior high school English class, and expected to hate it. I ended up loving it and have reread it twice since then. It's one of those small books that has pretty much everything: An unforgettable title character, a thought-provoking plot, several exciting action scenes, and an ending that will break your heart. Put down that bloated yet hollow pos
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
A dark stranger rides in to town and captures the heart and soul of a family and they will forever be changed. A quick(100 pg) YA read with good vs evil theme and a real cowboy feel.
Shell The Belle
three to four stars - read this in High School when I was about 14 - loved it then - cant remember much about it now to give a proper review, but I remember liking it!!
This small little book packed a punch! I haven't read a western book in a long time... but now that I think about it, I don't think I have ever read a western... or maybe I have and just can't remember. Either way, I loved this book! There were many parts I reread just to ponder over what message Schaefer was trying to convey. He imparts wisdom, wise advice, and the character of a man throughout this book. One of my favorite quotes is when Shane is telling Bob that a gun is just a tool:
"Listen B
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Bettie, Wanda
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bob Mayer
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A classic tale. I always preferred the gunman on the book cover over the buckskins in the movie. Doesn't seem like a gun slinger would be wearing buckskins, but maybe that's just me.

A lot of subtext between Shane and the mother-- did he really walk/ride away because you can't live with a killing or because of her?

Ultimately, this book touches on our fascination with guns, a timely topic. It falls in with the mantra that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. While th
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
Much better than I figured. Would have been five stars if it were a bit longer and written with a little more adult content. The writing style was smooth, the story was interesting - I'll have to check out the movie.
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I never saw the movie but after reading this I got to see it.
Sharone Powell
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book about what it means to be a real man.

(Spoiler Alert!!!)
Alas, Shane's figure is a tragic one. He can recognize the greatness in Joe Starrett and what he has with his family so much so that he defends it with his life, but he himself can never have it. How sad.
Also, he rides away with a bloody gut with no treatment or shelter in sight, leaving us wondering if he's going to survive. I think the point Jack Schaefer was making was that Shane was the last - and the finest - of a dyin
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Fiction Fanatics: September 2013 - Shane 10 49 Feb 28, 2017 07:26AM  

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Schaefer was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of an attorney. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1929 with a major in English. He attended graduate school at Columbia University from 1929-30, but left without completing his Master of Arts degree. He then went to work for the United Press. In his long career as a journalist, he would hold editorial positions at many eastern publications.


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  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
20 likes · 36 comments
“Then the hand around the gun whitened and the fingers slowly opened and the gun fell to the ground. The hand sank to his side, stiff and awkward. He raised his head and the mouth was a bitter gash in his face. His eyes were fastened on the mountains climbing in the distance. “Shane! Shane! What’s the matter?” He did not hear me. He was back somewhere along the dark trail of the past. He took a deep breath, and I could see the effort run through him as he dragged himself into the present and a realization of a boy staring at him.” 1 likes
“Listen, Bob. A gun is just a tool. No better and no worse than any other tool, a shovel—or an axe or a saddle or a stove or anything. Think of it always that way. A gun is as good—and as bad—as the man who carries it. Remember that.” 0 likes
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