BEST OF THE WEST
A veteran trail driver, who has survived thundering stampedes and Comanche raids, discovers there’s nothing so dangerous as courting a beautiful woman. . . .
A brutally beaten homesteader crawls off to die—only to stumble upon an ancient talisman that restores his will to live. . . .
This treasure trove of stories captures the grit, grandeur, and the glory of the men and women who wielded pistol and plow, Bible and branding iron to tame a wild country. A mysterious preacher rides into town to deliver a warning that leads to a surprising revelation. . . .
And in the full-length novella Rustler Roundup, the hardworking citizens of a law-abiding town are pushed to the edge as rumors of rustlers in their midst threaten to turn neighbor against neighbor. Each of these unforgettable tales bears the master’s touch—comic twists, stark realism, crackling suspense—all the elements that have made Louis L’Amour an American legend.
The west of the late Louis L'Amour (How the West Was Won) rides again in this anthology of eight short stories and a novella, all previously unpublished. It is a familiar territory where "every horse could be ridden, every man whipped, every girl loved," a comforting wilderness of stalwart heroes and cowardly villains. There is violence (the novella, "Rustler Roundup") and romance (the title piece), the latter often tinged with humor ("The Courting of Griselda"). A common theme is that in the West ordinary men are capable of extraordinary things. In "Caprock Rancher," a father faces down a notorious gunman and teaches his son the value of integrity and quiet courage. In "The Skull and the Arrow," a man who has been beaten and left for dead by thugs holding a town hostage summons his last ounce of gumption and returns to rally the citizenry. In "The Lonesome Gods," a French immigrant is saved from death in the desert by his special sense of place. L'Amour is unparalleled in his ability to paint the Western landscape with words, and his sense of period detail and argot is fine. These works, recently discovered among his papers, may not be vintage L'Amour, but they possess enough of his enthusiasm and verve to delight fans and newcomers alike.