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The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,818 ratings  ·  148 reviews
Enjoyed by millions since its first publication in 1958 The Travels Of Jaimie McPheeters is the lively story of a 13-year-old boy's adventures on a journey across America in 1849. This million-copy Pulitzer Prize-winning classic details the journey of Jaimie and his father from Kentucky to gold-rush California.
Paperback, 544 pages
Published December 1st 1992 by Main Street Books (first published 1958)
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3.94  · 
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 ·  2,818 ratings  ·  148 reviews


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Henry Avila
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dr. Sardius McPheeters, is a dreamer always chasing the elusive beautiful rainbow, but never quite fully grasping it in his hands, the gambler and imbiber of strong drinks, is a capable physician in Louisville, Kentucky, his family suffers though, but his creditors want their money...The time, during California's gold rush, the '49ers from all over the world are descending to the new territory, acquired by the recent war with Mexico, saying goodbye to practical wife Melissa, who very reluctantly ...more
Jeanette
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, I finally finished this epic. It's three books, IMHO. The first is leaving Louieville and commencing the trip. The second everything that occurs with Jaimie and also his Dad before they get to Salt Lake City. And the third book is Salt Lake City, the journey to the gold fields and the subsequent years in San Francisco and ultimate locations for all the principals.

And are there numerous CHARACTERS in this complex, brutal, jarring, and continent heaving novel! There are at least 30 character
...more
Hana
Jamie and his ner-do-well father grew on me and by the end I found myself unexpectedly touched when I had thought I would just be amused and diverted. What is so clever is that Jamie and his father are both (at least at the start) unreliable narrators so the reader is left to wonder in bemusement how much of the tall-tale telling reflects reality. The list of sources shows that Taylor did a tremendous amount of research, with many story lines and descriptions drawn from the diaries of actual pio ...more
Lesle
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of RLT, follows Jaimie and his (Dr) father who has creditors after him, he is a bit of a gambler and prone to drink. The Dr's solution is to strike it rich in the gold rush by the way of a long journey across barren mountains. plains, canyons and deserts. The wagon-train was lead by a guide book that led them through, sometimes they would get lucky and it was right on, other times though there were setbacks, that seem to be lying in wait behind the next corner. ...more
Scott Axsom
Oct 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I’m still not quite sure what to make of Robert Lewis Taylor’s The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters. I found the first half of the book exasperating due to the seemingly overblown exploits of the title character. Too, I found his father’s pie-in-the-sky outlook equally vexing. However, I came to the book with an awareness of its Pulitzer and, as a result, assumed a certain degree of artifice on the author’s part. So, I was patient, and figured I just hadn't yet divined the author’s tricks. That pati ...more
Lynn Buschhoff
Jun 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because its title was the same as a televison show from my childhood. What a surprise! What a good book. This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1956 and it's still a quality read today. If you like Mark Twain or Larry McMurtry sagas, this is a book for you. The author's use of a first person narrative by an adolescent boy was inspired. A writing teacher who wants to give her students examples of how a character reveals himself would be smart to look at this book. Because of th ...more
Misfit
Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Imagine Twain sending Huck Finn to California via Wagon Train. What fun! But also exciting, poignant and heartbreaking at the same time. This is the story of Jaimie McPheeters and his father Sardius (a doctor), who is a bit of a gambler and prone to drink. Sardius has run afoul of his creditors and decides it's best to strike out with Jaimie to the California Gold fields to make their fortune and the adventure is on.

The story is told both in the first person view of Jaimie and by Sardius via le
...more
Scheherazade
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An unexpectedly captivating story told masterfully. Enjoyed every page. Strongly recommend (it's available on Kindle too).
Judy
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of American historical fiction
I really didn't feel the need for another novel about the Gold Rush, but I was surprised and impressed by the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of 1959. It is full of the usual hardships and pitfalls of westward travel in the 1800s: Indians, lawless villains, weather and death. Unique for this sort of tale is the humor.

Jaimie McPheeters is the son of a reluctant medical doctor from Louisville, Kentucky; a man who would rather gamble and dream of great adventures. The story is told from Jaimie's 14 ye
...more
Anna Gabur
Apr 12, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was compared to Lonesome Dove and I blame my disappointment on this statement. While this novel does involve a long journey, all similarities end there. The style, although funny at first, grew repetitive and boring quickly. The characters were mostly cardboard flat, undergoing little to no development. Events mostly rely on unlikely coincidences and cartoon-like situations where every weak-looking man ends up being the strongest in a fight, and the like. Very disappointing, sarcastic ...more
Jimmy
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: pulitzers-read
This was an entertaining read. I enjoyed it and thought the writing was pretty good. The subtle sarcastic humor was well-done and cleverly written. The characters were suitably well-developed. I didn’t think it had a really profound message. In fact, its value is almost exclusively as entertainment. I found it to be a bit unbelievable and the coincidences of characters re-emerging halfway across the country to be actually too coincidental. But it made for good storytelling. Worthy of the Pulitze ...more
Tracy Towley
Aug 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: pulitzer
Within a few pages of starting The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters I thought I was in for a treat. It immediately reminded me of a more humorous version of Lonesome Dove, which also won the Pulitzer and was also on a topic I didn’t think I cared about.

The story was that of a father and son who left their comfortable lives in Louisville to strike it rich in the gold rush of 1849. I think we all know how the gold rush worked out for most folks, and the folks in this book were no exception. They did g
...more
Anthony
Sep 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Great book! I stumbled upon this book. A little bit of Lonesome Dove and Huck Finn. A great book for a young boy around 11 and up. There were some complaints about the Indians in other reviews but it really is the PC police bitching and moaning. The book is from the ignorant point of view of a 13 -14 year old boy. Hello! This might be a ignorant view point! What did the PC police expect?
It was a book I couldn't put down. It dragged a little bit when they spent the winter with the Mormons in Sal
...more
Dan
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pulitzer-fiction
The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters is a novel written by Robert Lewis Taylor that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1959 for fiction.

The book is primarily about 13 year old Jaimie and his father as they journey from Louisville to the gold fields near Sacramento. The narrative is periodically broken up with letters written by the father to Jaimie's mother and the relatives who stayed behind in Kentucky.

The writing is quite fluid and written in a style that is somewhat reminiscent of Life on the Mississipp
...more
Tim
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1959. It is about a young boy and his father traveling West to California from Louisville in the mid 1800's to search for gold. It reminds me of a Huck Finn adventure. The many struggles chronicled along the way by the boy and his father are entertaining. The book was a bit long, but had a happy ending. I give this book 4 stars.
Alan
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I shall say, in a way I imagine Dr. McPheeters might have put it, a splendid book, although he would have expounded extensively on the subject!
Sherry (sethurner)
I just finished a second reading of The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters, as always a little afraid that I wouldn't like it as well as I remembered. The novel begins this way: "On the day when I first learned of my father's journey, I had come back with two companions from a satisfactory afternoon in the weeds near Kay's Bell Foundry, shooting a slingshot at the new bells, which were lying out in the year and strung up on rafters." Jaimie narrates the story, and the journey is as much his as his fat ...more
CQM
Sep 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american, adventure
Where are those damned half stars when you need them?
This is most definitely a three and a half stars book rather than three. It's an enjoyable, eminently readable page turner in the vein of Mark Twain.
It's not a major book but I'm beginning to realise that Pulitzer Prizes don't always mean a book is important.
It's the story of Jaimie McPheeters a 13 years old Louisville resident lumbered with a Father, Sardius, who dreams of opportunity and riches. Sardius is a wonderful character, a drinker
...more
Realini
The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor


This Pulitzer Prize winner is perfect - when thinking about flaws, one may think of some details that at times may seem more than sufficient, regarding some diseases for instance, but even there, the masterful, genius author is as humorous as Mark Twain - the hero, Jaimie McPheeters resembles Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.

The Travels is the quintessential chef d'oeuvre, seeing as it exemplifies the vital role of the glorious novel, taking
...more
Jeff
Containing elements that reminded me of Larry McMurtry as well as Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, this novel chronicles the journey of 13 year old Jaimie McPheeters and his father from Kentucky to California in 1849. I wanted to like this novel much more than I actually did and have vacillated between 3 and 4 stars. The subject has long interested me and the story is well told, but not as outstanding as a one might expect a Pulitzer winner to be. The only novel I can remember reading that has a ...more
Khris Sellin
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
It took me awhile to get into this one, but I slowly came to love all the characters involved in this big old-time road trip.
Young Jaimie gets roped into setting out for the California gold mines with his dad, Dr. Sardius McPheeters, from Louisville, Kentucky. Hilarity ensues, along with murder and mayhem.
His father is a hopeless, hapless dreamer, naive and too trusting of others, which gets them into trouble time and time again, much to Jaimie's frustration. But he also befriends some truly g
...more
Nomi
Mar 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is an old-fashioned "good yarn" with beginning,
middle, and end. At one level it is a coming-of-age book for the protagonist, Jaimie; at another level it is the story of westward expansion and gold rush fever in the mid-19th century. In his introduction to this edition, John Jakes compares this book to Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, and notes both won Pulitzers in their first years of publication. McMurtry's tale is also an "on-the-trail"
story, although in that instance north-south, ra
...more
Debbie
When I was a kid, there was a television show with a very cute Kurt Russell playing a kid who traveled around all over the west. It was a Western, but not a traditional one. The title of the show was The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters. Little did I know the idea for the show came from a novel, and a Pulitzer winner at that!

Jaimie goes with his father, Dr. Sardius McPheeters, heading west lured by the dreams of striking it rich in the gold fields of California. Leaving Louisville, Kentucky suddenly
...more
John  Royce
May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Great adventure tale, plus it's a slice of Americana ... tells the story from the point of view of a boy (Jaimie) who travels West with his father to seek fortune in the Gold Rush.

The writing is imaginative with a wonderful storytelling rhythm. Colorful characters weave in and out of Jaimie's tale, which has the amusing twist of being told from a young boy's pov, even as the reader 'knows more' and can decipher the actual meaning.

To me, the character most finely drawn is the father, who is a we
...more
Marie
Oct 27, 2012 rated it liked it
THE TRAVELS OF JAMIE MAC PHEETERS - this book has been compared to "Lonesome Dove". That being said, I could only give 3 stars as my rating. While the story was interesting, it rambled and stumbled at times to where I had to put it down.

It is about a very ambitious doctor who has wild dreams or fantasies about setting out to California with his son Jamie, to cash in on the Gold Rush". The book takes us on wild adventures with Jamie and his Dad which are Interesting but never quite held my inter
...more
 Barb Bailey
The Travels of Jamie McPheeters was a pretty ordinary westward ho book. Jamie's father, a doctor had a problem with the cards and the drink and was an extraordinary dreamer and optimist. Jamie about 13 yrs old , in the 1st half of the book got himself into and out of an inordinate amount of troubles including being captured by the Indians and being held hostage by a gang of outlaws. The book was interesting but a bit long . I found myself wanting to just skim over some chapters. Maybe I just rea ...more
Tom
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: award, 20th, american
Starting out with a considerable debt to Mark Twain, it proceeds to entertain very well, and remains in debt to Twain. I think it is forgotten these days but it won the Pultizer Prize in 1959. Not surprisingly, in that era of TV westerns this one is much like a long CBS series (Kurt Russell actually did star in a short-lived TV version). Naw, don't read it, it's out of date and doesn't illuminate history perfectly, or provide much of an insight into American thinking in the 1850s or 1950s, but i ...more
KW in CT
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pulitzers-read
I read this book as part of my Pulitzer Project. It is the story of a father and son traveling west during the Gold Rush.

Well written page turner in the vein of Lonesome Dove or The Way West. At turns humorous and folksy, even juvenile, and then violent and disturbing. Not my favorite genre, but hard to put down just the same.

I was quite impressed by the extensive bibliography. This book was very throughly researched and much of it is based on testimonials. That aspect, I think, makes it particu
...more
Wendy
Sep 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
It was really interesting to read about this time period from the perspective of historical fiction. It had a lot of humour and also a lot of hard facts. That was a hard time to live. Scary things happened with those indians! I think that the author did a great job giving the feel of both good and bad that happened. I found myself missing those characters after I was done reading and wanting to go through more stories with them.
Laura
Dec 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. When the book first turned violent I was shocked. When I picked it up, I thought the book was going to be this fun little jaunt across the west with lots of saucy jokes and crazy mishaps. Every time something brutal happened it was jarring, but I think in the end those scenes are part of what makes the book great.
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Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1959) for The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters
“There wasn’t any harm in these people; they were only average. Most of their bad thoughts came out of fear, and to tell the truth, that’s what causes most of the troubles in the world.” 0 likes
“I realized that nothing ever comes back again quite the same. Things roll on, new sights take the place of the old, and the only way you can do it over is remember” 0 likes
More quotes…