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Most Memorable Western Character

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message 1: by Mike, Founder (new)

Mike | 10 comments In all the western novels you've read, who's the most memorable character you've encountered?


message 2: by Mike, Founder (new)

Mike | 10 comments And...my vote is for Captain Augustus McCrae , former Texas Ranger, co-owner of the Hat Creek Cattle Company and Livery Emporium, and partner of Captain Woodrow F. Call. (Lonesome Dove)


message 3: by Heather's Mum (new)

Heather's Mum | 4 comments Wow! How does one possibly choose? Maybe from True Grit... Charles Portis' one-eyed "Rooster" Cogburn, "the meanest available U.S. Marshall" and Mattie Ross, the fourteen-year-old gal from Dardanelle, Arkansas who put her trust in him to help her avenge the murder of her pa.


message 4: by dale (new)

dale | 34 comments Smoke Jensen is a fictional character depicted in William W. Johnstone's "Mountain Man" series.

He is the fastest and most famous gunfighter in the West, in the thirty-five Last Mountain Man books. Raised up by the most famous mountain man of all Preacher, Smoke was taught the ways of the mountain man, and skills with guns. His first wife was Nicole and they had a single son named Arthur. Eventually she and Arthur were both killed and Smoke sought revenge on the murderers. Then he met a woman named Sally Reynolds, of the New Hampshire Reynolds. Eventually they fell in love and had a few kids. Smoke finally settled down with Sally up in the High Lonesome of Colorado, then creating their own town named Big Rock which overthrew the original town near there. Their ranch was called the Sugarloaf, and had a large gold vein underneath it. Smoke became a cattle/horse rancher, but then switched to just breeding horses. He soon on one of his many adventures meets a young boy in trouble, kills the man attacking the boy and Smoke and the boy become friends. The boy's name was Bobby and soon Sally and Smoke adopted him. After this Smoke found two of his best hands Pearlie and Cal, Pearlie being the ranch manager and Cal being a hand. The most recent Last Mountain Man book is Betrayal of the Mountain Man, and soon after will be the last Last Mountain Man book Rampage of the Mountain Man to be released December 2007, because of the tragic death of William Johnstone but J.A. Johnstone still carries on his memory by finishing up his books



message 5: by Marsha (new)

Marsha Ward (marshaward) | 4 comments To be fair, I'm going to vote for the first memorable character who popped into my mind after my own JO: Tell Sackett, featured in several of the Sackett series novels written by Louis L'Amour.


message 6: by Don (new)

Don Voorhees | 2 comments I have always been a fan of Jeff Bransford in the stories of Eugene Rhodes. Jeff is a thinker and a reader, and his knowledge of the world outside southern New Mexico comes through in the stories. He quotes the poem 'Similar Cases' in Bransford of Arcadia, and carries a turquoise eohippus to remind himself that he, too, will be something greater someday. I carry a similar eohippus in my pocket, because it just seems right. Jeff is kind to women, fair to bad guys, and always saying the right thing at the right time to get his point across. He was patterned after the real live Jeff Bransford who probably had many of the same characteristics.


message 7: by dale (new)

dale | 34 comments I think you have a good one there I forgot the Sacketts, spank me and set me in the corner


message 8: by David (new)

David Dail My most memorable characters from western fiction all come from Louis L'amour novels I have read most of his books so many times that all his characters are like old friends.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

The sacketts and Captain Augustus McCrae is my top people


message 10: by Ken (new)

Ken Consaul | 18 comments While I'm partial to my own character, Josh Bonner, I will let him, in time, assume his own place in a favorites list. In the interim, let's explore the why of the favorite character in more general terms.

In most fiction, but particularly the Western, the story is drawn around the single, stalwart character. My all time favorite is Horatio Hornblower but that’s for another forum. Actors and authors in all generations have made their careers by extolling the renegade hero, out of step with convention and a cut above his contemporaries. From Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp to McMurtry’s Gus and Call, the renegade is the hero.
What is it about the Western that makes these types of character so memorable, and I would submit, sustains the genre? What makes the Western hero unique from Harry Callahan and Philip Marlowe? Is it the character in a new and lawless land? Is it because the Western hero, because of the connection to our own history, that makes them seem more believable or easier to relate to? I open the floor for discussion.


message 11: by Ken (new)

Ken Consaul | 18 comments Ken wrote: "While I'm partial to my own character, Josh Bonner, I will let him, in time, assume his own place in a favorites list. In the interim, let's explore the why of the favorite character in more gener..."

Looks like I'm going to acquire a reputation as a thread killer. Either that or I can take the more charitable view that participants see my comments as the final arbiter on a given topic.


message 12: by Edward (new)

Edward Erdelac (emerdelac) | 15 comments I would say either Augustus McCrae (part of the reason I named my son August) and The Judge from Blood Meridian.


message 13: by Edward (new)

Edward Erdelac (emerdelac) | 15 comments And for me, the appeal of a western hero is he usually doesn't have to put up with the rigamarole of modern society - the creditors, the suits, the lawyers, bills, the thousand petty things that drag a man down. Westerns feel more honest. Their protagonists don't need to gladhand or politic to get things done. The conflict is more honest. It's just the individual putting all he is against another man or the group or nature/what have you. I guess that's why I prefer one on one sports to team sports (or anything with a ball really). It's more real, more honest.


message 14: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Carpenter (jeffreyclydecarpenter) | 4 comments I am pretty partial to Lando Sackett from Louis Lamour, he was not written about as much as some of the other Sackett characters. I am also a fan of "Sudden", from the Oliver Stange novels. This is going back pretty far though.


message 15: by Edward (new)

Edward Erdelac (emerdelac) | 15 comments Hondo Lane is a character that always stuck in my head from the Louis L'Amour books as well.


message 16: by Steve (new)

Steve Chaput (stevec50) | 61 comments There are so many memorable characters in L'Amour's books that I would find it hard to pick one. I think I'll play it safe and go with Zane Grey's Lassiter from "Riders of the Purple Sage".

Second runner up: Shane


message 17: by David (new)

David | 7 comments Two characters I loved to read about were Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch from a series of books by Robert Parker.


message 18: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Carpenter (jeffreyclydecarpenter) | 4 comments Another character that I really like is Whispering Smith. Of course Smith was a real person but he made such a great character in the Frank H. Spearman novel. In addition to the novel there was also a biography written by Allen Bristow, a movie starring Alan Ladd, and a tv series starring Audey Murphy.


message 19: by Steve (new)

Steve Chaput (stevec50) | 61 comments Jeff wrote: "Another character that I really like is Whispering Smith. Of course Smith was a real person but he made such a great character in the Frank H. Spearman novel. In addition to the novel there was als..."

Thanks for the info, Jeff. I remember the movie and television show, but had no idea they were based a real individual. Cool!


message 20: by Paul (new)

Paul Colt (paulcolt) | 78 comments Good choice David. Parker's masterful dialog makes Hitch and Cole strong characters. They carry the whole series. Parker is a great example to prove the point: contemporary western writers are turning out compelling work. The western genre is blessed with great classics to be sure, but there is classic work in the current generation waiting to be found.


message 21: by Steve (new)

Steve Chaput (stevec50) | 61 comments Paul wrote: "Good choice David. Parker's masterful dialog makes Hitch and Cole strong characters. They carry the whole series. Parker is a great example to prove the point: contemporary western writers are turn..."

I agree with Paul & David that Parker's books are a good addition to the western library. There are indeed still 'classic' westerns coming out from contemporary writers in the genre.


message 22: by Gloden (new)

Gloden | 1 comments David wrote: "Two characters I loved to read about were Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch from a series of books by Robert Parker."

Apaloosa happened to be on TV last nite and loved the character portrayals brought to life by Ed Harris (Virgil Cole) and Viggo Mortensen (Everett Hitch)!!

Additionally, any character created by Larry McMurtry in Lonesome Dove series are great reads!


message 23: by Evan (new)

Evan I think that Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae together provide the greatest characters in Westerns.


message 24: by Paul (new)

Paul Colt (paulcolt) | 78 comments McMurtry's Lonesome Dove characters are great- in print and on the screen.


message 25: by Ken (new)

Ken Consaul | 18 comments Paul wrote: "McMurtry's Lonesome Dove characters are great- in print and on the screen."

Not just the main characters but throughout the whole series. Pea Eye, Laurie, Jake Spoon, even Blue Duck. All come to life. The only one I thought was kind of shallow was the blonde Mexican killer. Streets of Laredo I think. I don't think any of them did anything other Western characters did except they did them quirky. What impressed me the most was the dialog was so memorable.
Just for the record, I'm a big fan of Elmore Leonard because of his dialog. Note both McMurtry and Leonard have backgrounds as screen writers.


message 26: by Paul (new)

Paul Colt (paulcolt) | 78 comments Interesting point about Leonard and McMurtry being screen writers. Writing dialog is an art. It's like playing all the characters in a movie. A screen writer has the camera to set a scene. In print you have to do that with imagination. When an author like McMurtry pulls off both in a work like Lonesome Dove, it's special.


message 27: by Ken (new)

Ken Consaul | 18 comments Its amazing he can create such endearing and memorable characters in his westerns yet in the Last Picture Show series and in the Terms of Endearment series, the characters are barely tolerable and make you grind your teeth. I'll give a nod to Dwayne in the Picture show series. His family could crush anyone's spirit.


message 28: by Velda (new)

Velda (veldabrotherton) | 14 comments Lonesome Dove is my favorite western book and movie as well, and I agree that McMurtry falls flat in some books. Strangely, I liked the Last Picture Show series. I must be warped but those characters tickled my funny bone. Perhaps because I know a few people like them and they don't realize how ridiculous they are.


message 29: by David (new)

David | 7 comments Elmer Kelton's books with Hewey Calloway were pretty good. I especially enjoyed the film adaptation of "Good Old Boys" with Tommy Lee Jones as Hewey.


message 30: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Carpenter (jeffreyclydecarpenter) | 4 comments Steve wrote: "Jeff wrote: "Another character that I really like is Whispering Smith. Of course Smith was a real person but he made such a great character in the Frank H. Spearman novel. In addition to the novel ..."

Hey Steve, you should check out the novel by Frank H. Spearman, its a good read. They are pretty easy to find on ebay or amazon as a used book. I think it is also available for Kindle.


message 31: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany (sweetexast17) | 2 comments My vote is for Captain Augustus McCrae!


message 32: by Ken (new)

Ken Consaul | 18 comments Tiffany wrote: "My vote is for Captain Augustus McCrae!"

Too bad McMurtry killed him off in the first book and had to backstory several books to meet the demand of 'More Gus'. I don't think he would have been so popular without Robert Duval's excellent portrayal in the mini-series.

Guessing you weren't crazy over Blue Duck?


message 33: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany (sweetexast17) | 2 comments LOL Well, I sure wouldn't want to run into Blue Duck in a dark alley. I think you're right though, Robert Duval really made that character come to life and I'm not sure I would have listed him as my favorite had that not been the case.


message 34: by Ken (new)

Ken Consaul | 18 comments I generally don't like giving 'moovees' credit for fleshing out a character instead of the original book but I have to make exceptions for many of McMurtry's characters.
A lot of them are not people you can feel much empathy for. Duayne and Duayne's family and friends in the whole The Last Picture Show series are entertaining as hell but not people I would want to be crowded into a booth with at the local watering hole.


message 35: by Steve (new)

Steve Chaput (stevec50) | 61 comments I read The Last Picture Show, after seeing the film, so it was impossible not to have those actors 'in my head' as I read the book. Same holds true for LONESOME DOVE. Generally, I try to read a book prior to seeing an adaptation, but in the case of LD I really think having Duval and Tommy Lee Jones in my mind helped bring the characters to life even more.


message 36: by Atallnut (new)

Atallnut | 1 comments I listened to Burles by Harry Combs and I fell in love. The story takes place in the 4 corners area where I live. I am still trying to find the third book in that series.


message 37: by Richard (new)

Richard Clark (kiwicafe) | 2 comments Lassiter!


message 38: by Regina (new)

Regina Shelley (ReginaS) | 14 comments I second the Blue Duck comment. But my favorite....hmmm. Mighty partial to No Ears by that same author.


message 39: by Paul (new)

Paul Colt (paulcolt) | 78 comments Great comments all. Nice to see Robert B. Parker's Hitch and Cole mentioned the same league as McMurtry's Gus and Call. Max McCoy does a great job with Jacob Gamble in Damnation Road. For those who like the old classics, reach back and try Shane. That'll get your heart rate up.


message 40: by Steve (new)

Steve Chaput (stevec50) | 61 comments You're right about Shane, Paul. It was assigned in high school and I loved it. Also, fascinating to find the differences from the film. Have re-read it several times and it never fails.


message 41: by Larry (new)

Larry | 30 comments My favorite is Nathan Stone from Ralph Compton's Gunfighter Trilogy.


message 42: by Regina (new)

Regina Shelley (ReginaS) | 14 comments Jonah Hex, but only when Joe R. Lansdale is writing him.


message 43: by Steve (new)

Steve Chaput (stevec50) | 61 comments Personally, Gina, I thought the work that Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti were doing the past few years on Jonah was pretty good. Still unsure about the current re-boot, since I don't believe sticking Hex in Gotham permanently serves him very well.


message 44: by Ken (new)

Ken Consaul | 18 comments Gina wrote: "I second the Blue Duck comment. But my favorite....hmmm. Mighty partial to No Ears by that same author."

Read the whole series and, for the life of me, don't recall No Ears? A little help?


message 45: by Regina (new)

Regina Shelley (ReginaS) | 14 comments Steve wrote: "Personally, Gina, I thought the work that Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti were doing the past few years on Jonah was pretty good. Still unsure about the current re-boot, since I don't believe stic..."

I am not specifically familiar with those writers. I may have read them without realizing it. I find the Hex books to be a bit all over the road. Sometimes they are awesome, and sometimes they leave me going "what the heck did I just read??"


message 46: by Regina (new)

Regina Shelley (ReginaS) | 14 comments Ken wrote: "Gina wrote: "I second the Blue Duck comment. But my favorite....hmmm. Mighty partial to No Ears by that same author."

Read the whole series and, for the life of me, don't recall No Ears? A litt..."


I could very well be remembering this wrong, but No Ears was an old Native man who had his ears cut off as a child during a massacre. He was a friend of Calamity Jane's in the story.


message 47: by Ken (new)

Ken Consaul | 18 comments Gina wrote: "I could very well be remembering this wrong."

Now its coming back. Seems he was also known as 'Man who can't wear glasses'.


message 48: by Regina (new)

Regina Shelley (ReginaS) | 14 comments :-DDDD That is so very wrong!


message 49: by Harold (new)

Harold Titus (haroldtitus) | 11 comments Mountain man Dick Summers in A. B. Guthrie Jr.'s "The Big Sky," "The Way West," and "Fair Land, Fair Land." A courageous man of few words, of empathy, and of conscience.


message 50: by Richard (new)

Richard Clark (kiwicafe) | 2 comments I have A.B.Guthries books, just pulled them out of my Library the other day but got sidetracked by 'Knights of the Range' :)


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