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The Ferguson Rifle (The Talon and Chantry series #3)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,974 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Stripped of all he values in life, Ronan Chantry takes up his prized Ferguson rifle and heads west -- into an unknown land and an uncertain future. For an educated man, Chantry is surprisingly tough. For a civilized man, he is unexpectedly dangerous. But even he can't know the true extent of his courage until he draws the fire of a man who will do anything -- kill anyone - ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 28th 1985 by Bantam Books (first published March 1973)
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Sep 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Like most of Louis L'Amour's novels this was an enjoyable tale if you like his style and approach. However, what made this one a bit more remarkable for me was the history. L'Amour is known for blending fiction with some fact and real people, places, and events in his novels. This one was no exception, in that a real historical figure, Patrick Ferguson, made a brief appearance. The inventor of an early innovation in firearms technology, Ferguson might have played a key role in the American Revol ...more
Greg Strandberg
Good book, with the narrative being the best part in my opinion. I like how the main character thinks back on his earlier days, thinks on the Indians around him, and even old philosophers that are long dead.

Chantry is a smart man, and I did not read the first book with him in it. I picked this one up at the library because I liked the cover. It's set in the earlier-1800's and makes for a good story. Sometimes I got lost between the characters and other times I found myself drifting. Usually thos
May 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: completed
I read this many years ago (likely upon its first release) and I enjoyed the re-read. I find a few things in the story really, really far-fetched. First, the gift of the rifle to the young boy during the American Revolution. Some of the scholarly references were a bit much, I felt.

However, overall, this is meant to be taken as an action yarn. During the period of the mountain men, so a bit different than much of L'amours writing, but really, only a bit.

There is a cache of gold/lost treasure tha
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-books
This Louis Lamour title was not as absorbing as the last one I read. Maybe it's because the hero, after a tragedy in his life, is wandering aimlessly west. He's not exactly The Man With No Name, but he is sort of The Man With No Purpose Who Has A Really Cool Rifle. He falls in with some men along the trail, and then their group falls in with a young woman and her companion. The subsequent adventure flows from these other characters, rather than from anything the hero wants--which makes the story ...more
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My first Louis. Never looked back.
I actually read The Ferguson Rifle for the first time years ago* and loved it, but I recently won the audiobook from Goodreads via their FirstReads program. This lined up nicely with a road trip my wife and I had to take, and so the adventure began anew….

I don’t usually do audiobooks, as I have little time for them. I don’t have copious amounts of driving built into my day (if this ever changes, I likely will start consuming larger quantities), I can’t listen at work, and frankly given the choic
Fredrick Danysh
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: westerns
Ronan Chantry searches for Montezuma's gold along with an Irish girl's father was killed after telling her about some landmarks to the treasure. But others want the gold.
Oleta Blaylock
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well this was a different story from the previous books I have read by this author. Ronan Chantry has come west after the loss of his wife and son in a fire. Ronan was raised in the woods of Carolina and eventually moved to Boston. He studied hard and became a teacher and scholar. The mountains never left him and when tragedy happened he gave up the cities and universities. Chantry runs into a group of men heading into the western mountains to do some trapping and he joins them on their quest. I ...more
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Western fans
Recommended to Skjam! by: Amazon
"My name is Ronan Chantry, and I am alone upon this land."

He is a scholar and a gentleman, but Ronan Chantry was raised in the wilderness, hunting, trapping and tracking. Now that his wife and son have died in a fire, and pursued by the reputation of killing a man in a duel, Chantry returns to the wilderness. He does not remain alone for long, joining a small band of men also going into the West to try their hand at fur trapping.

Their camp is nearly raided by allies of a treacherous Native Ameri
Randy Tramp
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Stripped of everything educated Ronan Chantry went west.

Chantry meets Tally, Ebitt, Sandy Kemble, Shanagan and a Native American called Otoe, who leaves the group.

As always, L'Amour adventures gives a sense of being there. The group meets a girl. Lucinda Falvey is in search of a lost treasure.

We're taken across land, into the woods, and deep inside caves. (I loved that part.)

It takes me back to early America with the Louisana Purchase just happening and Mexcian authority not yet accepting it.

Jason King
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not one of L'Amour's best - wanders around pretty aimlessly until the final third of the novel, to the point that it feels like the author didn't exactly know what to do himself. While this may make the story more real, it makes the narrative pretty weak.
Aaron Toponce
I liked this Chantry entry, but I really wish that people would get the chronological order correct in the series. This book should be the 2nd, not the fifth. According to, the order is:

1. Borden Chantry
2. Fair Blows The Wind
3. Ferguson Rifle, The
4. North to the Rails
5. Over on the Dry Side

Not trusting that list, because they got the order for Borden Chantry wrong, I decided to follow

1. Borden Chantry
2. Fair Blows The Wind
3. North to the R
East Bay J
Jul 11, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
For some reason, I found myself wanting to give ol’ Louis L’Amour another read. Any book would do, but I kept finding, like, the third and seventh book in the Sackett series or something. Never a standalone novel. On a recent excursion to Oregon, I happened to find The Ferguson Rifle in a thrift store for peanuts and knocked it out in a few hours of reading.

Which is the first thing I like about L’Amour’s books. They read fast. Part of this is L’Amour’s own skill as a writer, his ability to reall
Angie Lisle
The story didn't feel as put together as other L'Amour stories - there were a few rough patches where the narrative broke/didn't flow seamlessly. And the repetition, sheesh. Ronan Chantry gained the nickname Scholar as he moved west and, every time he was introduced to another character by that nickname, we readers got the story about why he's called Scholar. How many times did I need to hear that story?

The same applied to all of the information given in regard to the plot's mysteries - the sam
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Louis L’amour has always been one of my favorite authors. He is the consummate storyteller. This one is the story of a man haunted by his recent losses – his wife and son are killed in a fire in Boston. Ronan Chantry heads west after his loss, heading into the wilderness “west of the Mississippi” in the early 1800’s. He carries with him a breech-loading rifle given to him as a child by a British Officer who had designed and invented it. He meets up with some men heading west as trappers, running ...more
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: westerns
I would rate that a good solid "Eh..." It started interesting, but as the story progessed (or didn't) it got dull and long. The opening chapter sets Ronan Chantry up to be the tragic figure, but that doesn't really play into the story. Basically Chantry sets off for the west, joins in with some fellas, meets a girl in need and together they help her search for a lost treasure. This would have worked for a short story, but didn't really have the meat for a full novel. Louis L'Amour is hit-&-m ...more
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book. I don't really like the typical "western" theme (cowboys) so I've avoided Louis L'Amour's books. This is my second one of his books, and haven't seen a cowboy yet. This one isn't really a "western" as it takes place at the time of the Louis and Clark expedition.

A delightful read, I read it again after finishing it the first time. The writing is clear, the characters are well-defined, and the plot is straightforward. The good guys are good and the bad guys are bad. Ther
Mar 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I can see why this celebrated Western writer was so popular, and I enjoyed this tale of a man who has lost all who decides to challenge the West, but it also raised my cackles a few times. More than once I thought to myself, "Can we get on with this?" as the main character started replaying information that we already knew about, even a few times. The book certainly reflects the style of the time it was written (I might even call it old fashioned), and occasionally I was bothered by descriptions ...more
Jun 07, 2013 rated it liked it
"The Ferguson Rifle" is a fairly typical Western, well deserving of the three stars I've allotted to it.
It's a relatively short work, and takes care not to unduly complicate a simple, yet efficient plot. Louis L'amour's regular readers will not be surprised to find that the action is fast paced, accurate and well articulated, after all, the name does speak for itself. Quite entertaining, and should be a treat for anyone who enjoys the genre. It is, however, nothing out of the ordinary. Nor does
Jun 11, 2013 rated it liked it
This was surprisingly not the typical L'Amour wild west novel. It takes place nearly a century before all the gunslingers during the time of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expeditions. The first half of the book was full of elegant words about the beauty of the country and the fur trappers and pioneers that were setting forth to make a home in the west. The story, however, moved on to hidden Spanish treasures, a helpless senorita and a series of gunfights which resulted in the or ...more
Oct 08, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: louis-lamour
This is a rarity for me. I have stopped reading this book at page 128. I don't know why I didn't stop at 50 since it was boring then. I think I was hoping for better. But, alas, better never came. There is just too much in this book. The villain is too bad. The hero is too pretty. The treasure is too old (200 years. Too many groups invovled: Anglos,, Mexicanos, Indians, Irish,
The book is just too much.
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It was pretty amazing! This novel was only the second second Louis L'Amour novel I have read, and despite the constant philosophical thoughts, I still love his writing. There is so much history embedded in these novels that you always learn something. This isn't a mystery book. Yes, there is a hidden treasure and a terrible villain, but there is so much more to the story. The people, the setting, feelings. Just be prepared.
Gene Steinbacher
Louis L'amour will often times go into what I call "thought rambling", especially when he writes in the first person. "Thought rambling" is when the main characters goes on and on about what he is thinking, and he repeats the same thoughts numerous times throughout the book. These are my least favorite books and this is one of those books.
I would have goven it two stars except it was a good adventure story. If you don't mind when he rambles you will probably like this book better than I did.
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Despite the author's over-attendance to the phrase, "The Ferguson Rifle", I did enjoy this book because the hero is forced to repeatedly defend himself against the charge of "wimp". He's a scholar. By the end of the book, nobody doubts that his ability to read and understand the written word is not a handicap in wrestling with man or beast in the wild. If you love Aragorn's character in Lord of the Rings, think about Aragorn let loose in the Wild West, and you'll get the picture.
Lee McClain
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this old-fashioned Western for its hero. He's nicknamed Scholar, and has had a career as a writer and professor, but of course, he's strong and macho and a good shot with his Ferguson Rifle. Great descriptions of the west. Almost every chapter ends on a cliffhanger. Lots to learn from the master of Western fiction.
Stripped of all he values in life, Ronan Chantry takes up his prized Ferguson rifle and heads west — into an unknown land and an uncertain future. For an educated man, Chantry is surprisingly tough. For a civilized man, he is unexpectedly dangerous. But even he can't know the true extent of his courage until he draws the fire of a man who will do anything — kill anyone — for the glitter of gold.
Calvin Daniels
Aug 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: western
First L'Amournovel in years. The main character was not particularly well-defined for me. An issue in a first-person narrative, where it's hard to give someone a voice that goves themselves depth.

The gal and the gold and the bad guys after both all seemed a bit thin too.

Quick read though, which is the allure of a western. A 2.5 but since we don't have the option, I'll give it a .
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent unabridged audio-book figuring a scholarly fur trapper and colorful friends, a headstrong Irish lass in search of Spanish gold, and a formidable foe seeking the same with intent to buy himself a black-flagged vessel suited to his piratical inclinations. Enjoy it! This just filled the number two slot on my L'Amour favorites list.
An Odd1
Jan 31, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action
*** "The Ferguson Rifle", by Louis L'Amour, was given to young Irish lad by the maker. Having lost his wife and son to fire in Boston, he heads west to escape. Now nicknamed Scholar, he knows philosophy, history, botany, geography, knives, guns, and fists. We meet Indians, treasure seekers, fur traders, a maiden in distress, her evil uncle, grassy plain, deep forest, forgotten caves.
Fredrick Danysh
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A treasure of gold once belonging to Montezuma is stolen by two army officers from a church. One murders the other and flees north with the treasure. He is killed by the Apache, but not before he buries the treasure. Several men and a girl come across a map and hunt for the gold. The get caught up in conflict and distrust when greed raises its ugly head.
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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".
More about Louis L'Amour...

Other Books in the Series

The Talon and Chantry series (8 books)
  • Borden Chantry
  • Fair Blows the Wind
  • The Man from the Broken Hills
  • Milo Talon
  • North to the Rails
  • Over on the Dry Side
  • Rivers West

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“Somebody comin'," he said softly. "Five or six, maybe." His words were spoken over an empty fire, for each of us vanished ghostlike into the surrounding darkness. I, fortunately, had the presence of mind to retain my coffee. With the Ferguson rifle in my right hand, I drank coffee from the cup in my left.” 3 likes
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