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Reading Lists

Recommended Westerns Fiction
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Little Big Man

by Thomas Berger


Believe it or not, Jack Crabb is 111 years old. He is also the son of two fathers, one white, the other a Cheyenne Indian chief who gave him the name Little Big Man. As a Cheyenne, Crabb feasted on dog, loved four wives, and saw his people butchered by soldiers commanded by Custer. As a white man, he helped hunt the buffalo into extinction, tangled with Wyatt Earp, and cheated Wild Bill Hickok. He also survived the Battle of Little Bighorn, where he fought side by side with Custer himself--even though he'd sworn to kill him.

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rRiders of the Purple Sage

by Zane Grey

'Riders of the Purple Sage, ' perhaps more than any other novel, contributed to the concept of the American West. The mysterious gunfighter, the outlaw boss and his masked accomplice, the frontier woman torn between love and law, the laconic cowboy out on the range--all these figures became familiar to readers through the work of Zane Grey.

 

 

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sSackett

By Louis L'Amour

our Hard circumstances have made William Tell Sackett a drifter, but now he hungers for a place he can’t name yet knows he has to find. South of the Tetons he comes upon a ghost of a trail that leads him through a keyhole pass into a lonely, alien, yet beautiful valley—a valley that holds a fortune in gold.

 

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bBlood Meridion

by Cormac McCarthy

An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion, Blood Meridian brilliantly subverts the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the "wild west." Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving

 

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cCoyote Waits

By Tony Hillerman

The car fire didn't kill Navajo Tribal Policeman Delbert Nez—a bullet did. And the old man in possession of the murder weapon is a whiskey-soaked shaman named Ashie Pinto. Officer Jim Chee is devastated by the slaying of his good friend Del, and confounded by the prime suspect's refusal to utter a single word of confession or denial.

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tyTrue Grit

by Charles Portis

It tells the story of Mattie Ross, who is just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shoots her father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and $150 in cash money. Mattie leaves home to avenge her father's blood. With the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshal, by her side, Mattie pursues the homicide into Indian Territory.

 

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lkLonesome Dove

By Larry McMurtry

A love story and an epic of the frontier, Lonesome Dove is the grandest novel ever written about the last, defiant wilderness of America. Richly authentic, beautifully written, Lonesome Dove is a book to make readers laugh, weep, dream and remember.

 

 

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cCentennial

by James Michener

A stunning panorama of the West, CENTENNIAL is an enthralling celebration of our country, brimming with the glory and the greatness of the American past that only bestselling author James Michener could bring to stunning life. From the Native Americans, the migrating white men and women, the cowboys, and the foreigners, it is a story of trappers, traders, homesteaders, gold seekers, ranchers, and hunters—all caught up in the dramatic events and violent conflicts that shaped the destiny of our legendary West

 

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vThe Virginian

By Owen Wister

Set in the vast Wyoming territory, this masterpiece helped establish the code of the West and its stereotypical characters: the genteel but brave, white-hatted cowboy, the pretty spinster from back East, and villains beyond redemption. The novel is also on record for incorporating the first known "shootout" in American literature.

 

 

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yThe Ox-Bow Incident

by Walter Van Tilburg Clark

Set in 1885, The Ox-Bow Incident is a searing and realistic portrait of frontier life and mob violence in the American West. First published in 1940, it focuses on the lynching of three innocent men and the tragedy that ensues when law and order are abandoned. The result is an emotionally powerful, vivid, and unforgettable re-creation of the Western novel, which Clark transmuted into a universal story about good and evil, individual and community, justice and human nature.

 

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