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 her behind. She’ll have none of it, and soon finds herself struggling to survive in the heart of Indian Territory amongst thieves, lawmen, and thieves who are lawmen.
Portis paints a vivid picture of the American frontier with an unlikely spitfire narrator. Fans of Jack Schaeffer’s Shane will appreciate the inevitability of violence, despite the best intentions, in the Wild West.