The Best in the West

Cowboy Cards, Stationery, Books and Book Reviews

WESTERN READING LIST

This may give you a start or jog your memory about other great books you have read.

Irving P. Beadle. Name a dime novel and chances are it was written by Irving Beadle. Writing these in the 1860's, Beadle was almost singlehandedIy responsible for frontier fiction's bad reputation.

Max Brand, author of The Untamed, is known as the "King of the Pulps." During a career that started in 1918 he wrote 85 books, 55 stories, 201 novelettes, 196 serials, and two volumes of poetry

 
Ivan Doig
The novels of this Northwestern alumnus are infused with the author's Montana upbringing. After ten years of being supported by his wife (another NU alum), he began making a living as a writer in 1984, after the publication of his fourth book, English Creek, which won him a $20,000 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
* Bucking the Sun
* Dancing at the Rascal Fair
* English Creek
* Heart Earth
* Mountain Time
* Ride with Me, Mariah Montana
* The Sea Runners
* This House of Sky, Landscapes of a Western Mind
* Winter Brothers: A Season at the Edge of America
* News, a consumer's guide
* The Streets We Have Come Down; Literature of the city

Robert E. Gard wrote Johnny Chinook in 1967. The novel takes us on a fascinating tour of Alberta, sampling some of the real larger-than-life characters in our history.

Zane Grey, author of Riders of the Purple Sage ( 1908) and 54 other novels, is one of the best known western writers. The first of his books appeared in 1908 and reprints are easily found in bookstores today.

 
Richmond P. Hobson Jr., rancher and author of three wonderful books. A thrilling account of the discovery and homesteading of the last great cattle frontier in Northern British Columbia in the 1930's. I could not put these books down,
* Grass Beyond the Mountains
* Nothing To Good for a Cowboy
* Rancher Takes a Wife

Will James, author of The Lone Cowboy, was a cowboy legend during the 1920's and 30's. Known to most people as an American author, Will James was actually born in Quebec in 1892 and learned his cowboy skills in western Canada.

Louis L'Amour's novels have been bestsellers for decades. Some of his books, like The Sackett Brand ( 1965), are fictional histories of dynamic frontier families.

Alfred Henry Lewis started writing the Wolfville series in 1902. Followed by three other books, it gave readers a taste of the true life of the cowboy mixed with the tallest of tall tales.

Cormac McCarthy is one of the best contemporary western writers in the United States. McCarthy is the author of several novels, but All The Pretty Horses (1992) is a classic cowboy tale.

 
Norman Maclean best know for his book, A River Runs Through It beginning with the memorable line, "In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing," Maclean paints an evocative portrait of his own life with words to hold for an extra moment so that they may be absorbed and not lost.
*A River Runs Through It
*Young Men & Fire
*American Author Series - Norman Maclean

Larry McMurty's Lonesome~Dove (1985) is one of a number of novels to be made into a television program. The program and the book prove that western stories still have a wide public appeal.

Clarence Mulford is famous as the creator of Hopalong Cassidy. Hopalong made his debut on the bookshelves in 1910.

Louise Riley wrote about' cowboy life from a young boy's perspective. In 1950, her most famous novel, The Mystery Horse was popular with young readers throughout Canada.

Theodore Roosevelt wrote one of the most famous and accurate accounts of the old west in the 1890's. Titled The Winning of the West, it aroused new interest in the potential of the western frontier.

In 1920, Robert Stead's novel Dennison Grant set the tone for many Canadian Western novels. His books were some of the first to paint a true picture of Alberta's cowboy life.

Wallace Stegner is one of the foremost names in western literature. One of his most famous novels, Wolf Willow ( 1962) , is set in the Saskatchewan prairies.

Saskatchewan author Guy Vanderhaege is an established novelist and short story writer. His book, The Englishman's Boy (1996) is historical fiction. .

In 1902 Owen Wister created one of the most enduring cowboy heroes - The Virginian. The Virginian was based on the life of cowboy Eb Johnson. American-born, Eb Johnson spent most of his life in southern Alberta. By the 1960's, The Virginian- was made into a popular TV series starring James Drury.

Paul Zarzyski, the recipient of the 2005 Governor’s Arts Award for Literature, has been spurring the words wild across the open range of the page and calling it “Poetry” for 40 years. In the early ‘70s, he heeded Horace Greeley’s “go west young man, go west”advice and received his Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from The University of Montana, where he studied with Richard Hugo. In the same breath, he took up a second lucrative vocation—bareback bronc riding—and rode the amateur, the ProRodeo, and Senior circuits into his early forties.. A few of his books are:Zarzyski 51, Wolf Tracks on the Welcome Mat, All this Way for the Short Ride, Blue-Collar Light, Words Growing Wild, The Glorious Commotion of it all Rock'n Rowel , Collision of Recklace Love and more. Find him at http://www.paulzarzyski.com

Wally McRae is a rancher, an American cowboy, a cowboy poet and philosopher. He runs the 30,000-acre Rocker Six Cattle Co. ranch on Rosebud Creek south of Forsyth Montana. Wally McRae attended grade school and high school at nearby Colstrip, Montana. He graduated from Montana State University in 1958 in zoology and chemistry. His books, Stick Horses and Other Stories of Ranch Life, Cowboy Curmudgeon and Other Poems, and Up North is Down the Crick: Poems.

Henry “Hank” Real Bird is a rancher and educator who raises bucking horses on Yellow Leggins Creek in the Wolf Teeth mountains of Montana. Henry began working with the YMCA Writer’s Voice in 1992 as a visiting poet and has since shared his work and the Crow language with thousands of students and teachers across Montana. As an instructor he infuses a love of language and an appreciation of landscape into the minds of his audience and students. His books: Horse Tracks, Where Shadows Are Born, Beyond Reflection, Reflections and Shadow, Best of Hank Real Bird and more.

Jeannette Walls In The New York Times Book Review of her book Half Broke Horses, critic Liesl Schillinger wrote, "Through the adventures of Lily Casey — mustang breaker, schoolteacher, ranch wife, bootlegger, poker player, racehorse rider, bush pilot and mother of two — Walls revisits the adrenaline-charged frontier background that gave her own mother a lifelong taste for vicissitude. 'I’m an excitement addict,' Rose Mary Walls liked to tell her children. And yet — can the contours of one woman’s life ever sufficiently explain the life that proceeds from hers? Rose Mary eventually found an anchor in the form of her daughter — the third generation of a line of indomitable women whose paths she has inscribed on the permanent record, enriching the common legend of our American past."Critic Janet Maslin wrote of Jeannette Walls in The New York Times, "She has managed to make her second book almost as inviting as her first, even though its upright heroine is never as startling as Ms. Walls’s parents were."

Mackey Hedges: The Last Buckaroo, Told through the persona of narrator Tap McCoy, a renegade, drifter, loner, and well-seasoned cowboy we experience Tap's happen chance meeting with Dean McCuen, a young drugstore cowboy from back east. While Tap just wants a ride out of town, Dean believes he has found a sidekick and mentor. What follows between Tap and the tag-a-long greenhorn is a rousin', ramblin' tale of their exploits as they ride, rope, brand, and herd their way through ranches, pack stations and feedlots all over the West. It's also a tale of camaraderie and carousing as the two get thrown from their horses, tossed in jail, save lives, see deaths, fight cowboys, and light up the pages with their escapades. Mackey's unvarnished prose and salty style delight us with the life of a fading tradition. Publishers' Weekly said of Mackey, "a buckaroo himself," he spins a colorful yarn about 20th-century cowboys reminiscent of The Rounders." The novel stands on its own as a classic and unique story of an American way of life honoring the Western Lifestyle.

Ralph Owen Moody (December 16, 1898 – June 28, 1982) was an American author who wrote 17 novels and autobiographies largely about the American West (though a few are set in New England). He was born in East Rochester, New Hampshire in 1898 but moved to Colorado with his family when he was eight in the hopes that a dry climate would improve his father Charles's tuberculosis. Moody detailed his experiences in Colorado in the first book of the Little Britches series, Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers.

Mark Spragg is the author of Where Rivers Change Direction, a memoir that won the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers award, and the novels The Fruit of Stone and An Unfinished Life, which was chosen by the Rocky Mountain News as the Best Book of 2004. All three were top-ten Book Sense selections and have been translated into fifteen languages.

Elinore Pruitt Stewart the author of Letters of a Woman Homesteader. "Peopled with the kinds of characters most novelists only dream of"(Christian Science Monitor), this classic account of American frontier living captures the rambunctious spirit of a pioneer who set out in 1909 to prove that a woman could ranch. Stewart's captivating missives from her homestead in Wyoming bring to full life the beauty, isolation, and joys of working the prairie.

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