The frontier has long felt like a fixture of the collective American psyche, and literature featuring western characters facing the struggles of the rural life has been around since the late 1800s. These western novels often featured tough characters with a firm sense of moral justice and skill with a gun. This archetypical character has continued into modern writing, but in recent decades has made the leap out of the western genre and into thrillers and mysteries in the form of rural law enforcement. This can be seen in Sherriff Walt Longmire (created by Craig Johnson), Game Warden Joe
If you are a fan of the western genre, chances are you have heard of Lonesome Dove. Likewise, if you follow award winning books, you may have seen it on a list for its 1985 Spur Award or its 1986 Pulitzer Prize. Some of you may have even watched the CBS miniseries from 1989 starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones. Lonesome Dove is not an obscure novel and it has received a great deal of praise, but coming in at a whopping 843 pages it can be daunting to those of us more used to a book in the 200-250 page range. If you, like me, have been avoiding this read because you are scared of the time
An instant best-seller when published in 1968, True Grit has also been made into film. Twice. These facts alone should recommend it, and I am here to back it up with a solid vote for a place on your nightstand.
Fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross follows her slain father to Ft Smith, Arkansas to settle his affairs. While her mother expects her home, Mattie has other ideas. She hires a one-eyed, grizzled old US Marshal, Rooster Cogburn, to hunt down the killer and bring him to justice.
Against Mattie’s wishes, Texas Ranger LeBoeuf joins Rooster Cogburn in the manhunt, and the two try to leave
Quietly understated, leaving much unsaid under the surface, yet visceral, tangible, and intense--Smith’s storytelling in Ghost Medicine is like his characters.
Troy lives in a remote ranching community at the base of the mountains in the west. The son of a teacher who doesn’t quite fit in, he loves the ranch life and is rarely separated from his Stetson or horse, Reno, yet only wears tennis shoes and t-shirts along with his jeans. The summer before he turns 17, Troy’s mom finally loses her battle with cancer and he runs away on Reno into the mountains, living off the land for a few weeks
A shout out to a nearly forgotten genre, the Western! In prep for an upcoming book club I picked up Louis L'Amour's Mustang Man, a simple story about a lone cowboy making his way in the West who gets wrapped up in a chase for gold. This is a fast-moving story with strong characters who live by a simple code. There is even a hint of romance, but nothing too sappy. Fans of Robert B. Parker will enjoy. An enjoyable story when you are looking for something not too complex.
It is 1865 and the country is going through many changes. The Civil War is over. The Emancipation Proclamation has given freedom to millions of slaves. Conflicts continue between the Native Americans and settlers. In the midst of all this change, the Union Pacific is pushing westward to complete the first transcontinental railroad.
Hell on Wheels is a television series from AMC. The series focuses on life in the transient town that followed behind the railroad construction. Cullen Bohannon, former Confederate soldier, has come to Hell on Wheels on the trail of the Union soldier who murdered
Robert B. Parker is mostly known for his crime fiction, but his final novel published before his 2010 death was the fourth in a series of terrific westerns. Beginning with 2005’s Appaloosa, Parker’s richly detailed gunfighters Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch provide readers with a view of the American west, most easily associated with Clint Eastwood films. Blue-eyed Devil is no exception. Returning to the town of Appaloosa, Cole and Hitch set up shop in the town they once run, finding it overrun by a corrupt law man by the name of Callico and his gang of “deputies”. Cole and Hitch aren’t
Nat Swanson didn't expect his flight from Texas to California to be easy, not with the friends of the man he recently killed (in self-defense) on his trail. He certainly wasn't expecting, in the middle of the desert, to find three nuns and seven orphans holed up and surrounded by Apaches (who have already brutally murdered a nun), and then to be regarded as their savior.
Nat struggles between his conscience and his desire to escape alone, all the while devising a daring plan to get them all to safety.
With the gripping intensity of their plight and with a cast of memorable characters
This list of "Top Westerns of 2009" was originally submitted via the Kansas Library Forum (KANLIB-L) listserv by Bob Hicks of the Arkansas City High School Library:
- Sundown Chaser by Dusty Richards
- The Lawman: Hanging Judge by Lyle Brandt
- Half Broke [Horses]: A True Life Novel by Jeanette Walls
- Spoon by Robert Greer
- Under This Unbroken Sky: A Novel by Shandi Mitchell
- A Cold Place In Hell by William Blinn
- [Echoes] Of Glory by Robert Flynn
- The Devil's Paintbox by Victoria M. Kernan
- Far Bright Star by Robert Olmstead
- One Eyed Jacks by Bob Cherry
- Tenderfoot by Mary E. Trimble
- Stranger In Thunder