You can’t beat Louis L’Amour. Phony as much of his prose is (Greener the grass will grow than in the land we left behind.), he keeps pulling you into the story. Or at least he keeps pulling me. Within the first fifty pages, his hero breaks his leg while alone in the forest, begins starving, is mauled by a panther. Surely you want to see how he gets of that one.


Then there’s the buffalo Jubal Sackett breaks to the saddle and trains not to eat his corn. Then there’s an (almost) plausible battle with a wooly mammoth in 18th Century Northern New Mexico. (Hey, the Indians have stories, so it’s probably true, right?)

Of course I’ve left out the Indian princess and the conquistadores and quite a lot of other stuff, but it’s all Louis and his polemic about the nobility of the savage and his white conquerors, except for the ignoble savages and the ignoble conquerors. It matters not who you are, but what you do and what your motive as the sweep of history sweeps its way across the continent.

I read this once so very long ago. I recalled little except the buffalo. I make no argument for its literary quality. Why waste my time? But I couldn’t stop reading the shit.

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