“L’Amour is the kind of storyteller who makes the wolves come out of the woods to listen.” —People, praise for the author
Early in Louis L'Amour's career, he wrote a number of novel-length stories for "pulp" Western magazines. "I lived with my characters so closely that their lives were still as much a part of me as I was of them long after the issues in which they appeared went out of print," he said. "I wanted to tell the reader more about my people and why they did what they did." So he revised and expanded these magazine works to be published again as full-length novels. Here is one of his early creations, which have long been a source of great speculation and curiosity among his fans.
A Man Called Trent opens on nester Dick Moffitt lying dead where he was killed by King Bill Hale's riders. His son Jack and adopted daughter Sally, who witnessed the murder, go for safety to a cabin owned by a man called "Trent"—an alias for Kilkenny, who is seeking to escape his reputation as a gunfighter.
Lance Kilkenny’s gun is believed to be the fastest in the West, but once the gunfight is over, he disappears. Most folks don’t even know what he looks like. Some time back, Mort Davis saved Kilkenny’s life after he was shot up. Now Davis needs Kilkenny’s help. He has filed a claim on a water hole near Lost Creek in the live oak country. The district is dominated by two wealthy cattlemen, Webb Steele and Chet Lord, each one claiming for himself the water hole that Davis occupies. Beautiful Nita Riordan owns the local saloon, and between her charms and the feuding ranchers, Lance Kilkenny has his work cut out for him. If he doesn’t watch his step, he’ll pay the debt he owes with his own blood.
- The Strong Land
Edited by Jon Tuska
Release Date: 2017-02-01
Louis L’Amour was the most decorated author in the history of American letters and a recipient of the Medal of Freedom.
Now collected here in a single book are several of Louis L’Amour’s finest Western stories the way Mr. L’Amour wrote them. At the time Louis L’Amour was writing, it was common practice for editors to rewrite the manuscript to fit certain publishing criteria. The text of The Strong Land has been restored, and the stories within it appear as Mr. L’Amour intended for them to be read.
Whether you’re new to the thrilling frontier fiction of Louis L’Amour or one of his legions of fans, these six short stories will assure you that you are in the hands of a master storyteller.
Included here are:
- “The One for the Mohave Kid,”
- “His Brother’s Debt,”
- “A Strong Land Growing,”
- “Lit a Shuck for Texas,”
- “The Nester and the Paiute,” and
- “Barney Takes a Hand.”
Rock Bannon, wounded in an Indian attack, is rescued by a wagon train heading to Oregon. He has fully recovered when the train pulls into a fort to stock up on supplies. It is there that the leaders of the train meet Morton Harper, a smooth-talking man who persuades them to take an easier trail that will allow them to escape an attack by Indians. Bannon knows that there will be no escape from attack on that route and that it will lead the train directly onto Hardy Bishop’s vast ranching domain. Either way, and probably both, it will mean war—a war the pioneers will undoubtedly lose.
Bannon first appeared in Giant Western (Winter 1948) under the title Showdown Trail. L’Amour subsequently reworked and expanded this story into The Tall Stranger, published as an original paperback in 1957. The expanded story was filmed as The Tall Stranger (Allied Artists, 1957), directed by Thomas Carr and starring Joel McCrea and Virginia Mayo.
From the master of Western storytelling comes a collection of six action-packed tales sure to please Louis L’Amour’s legion of fans.
In “Trap of Gold,” Wetherton has been three months out of Horsehead when he finds his first color in a crumbling granite upthrust that resembles a fantastic ruin. The granite is slashed with a vein of quartz that is literally laced with gold! The problem is that the granite upthrust is unstable, and taking out the quartz might just bring the whole thing tumbling down. But Wetherton could really use the money for his family. Should he chance trying to mine that gold?
In “Keep Travelin’, Rider,” Tack Gentry has been away for a year when he returns to the familiar buildings of his uncle John Gentry’s G Bar ranch. To his amazement, the ranch has a new owner, who is unimpressed when Tack explains that his uncle was a Quaker, didn’t believe in violence, and never carried a gun. His advice to Tack is to make tracks—but Tack has other plans.
In “Big Medicine,” old Billy Dunbar has discovered the best gold-bearing gravel he’s seen in a year, but now he is down flat on his face in a dry wash, hiding because a small band of Apaches has shown up. It will be just too bad for him if they catch sight of his burros or notice any of the prospect holes. He’s going to have to figure out a pretty good strategy to get out of this one alive.
In “Trail to Pie Town,” Dusty Barron rides his steel-dust stallion at full gallop out of town. Behind him a man lies bleeding on the floor of a saloon. Dan Hickman had called him yellow and gone for a gun, but Dan was a mite slow. Maybe if Emmett Fisk and Gus Mattis hadn’t appeared just as he was making a break from the saloon, he could have explained himself. But they reached for their guns when they saw him, and Dusty had hit the desert road. The dead man has relatives in the area, and now it looks like Dusty is going to be facing a clan war.
In “McQueen of the Tumbling K,” Ward McQueen is foreman for Ruth Kermitt, owner of the Tumbling K Ranch. He finds traces of a man, apparently wounded, who has sought shelter in the hinterlands of the Tumbling K, but he is unable to locate him. When McQueen rides into town, he is shot down by gunmen and left for dead. But they made a critical mistake, because McQueen is not dead—and he’s looking to get even.
In “Dutchman’s Flat,” it all seemed a simple matter to the six men in the posse. A squatter named Lock gunned down Johnny Webb in the Bon Ton, shooting him in the back. Now, once they catch him, there isn’t going to be any trial. However, as the posse heads out after him, it becomes only too clear that Lock knows the desert better than they do, and he knows how to pick them off one by one.
“Ride, You Tonto Raiders”
Matt Sabre is a young and experienced gunfighter—but not a trouble seeker. But when Billy Curtin calls him a liar and goes for his gun, Matt has no choice but to draw and fire. To his surprise, the dying man gives him $5,000 and begs him to take the money to his wife, who is alone in defending the family ranch in the Mogollons. A combination of guilt, regret, and wanting to do the right thing leads Sabre to make that ride.
“Riders of the Dawn”
A young gunslinger is changed for the better by meeting a beautiful woman. A classic range-war Western, this novel features that powerful, romantic, strangely compelling vision of the American West for which L’Amour’s fiction is known. In the author’s words, “It was a land where nothing was small, nothing was simple. Everything, the lives of men and the stories they told, ran to extremes.”
This story is one of Louis L’Amour’s early creations that have long been a source of speculation and curiosity among his fans. Early in his career, L’Amour wrote a number of novel-length stories for the pulps. Long after they were out of print, the characters of these early stories still haunted him. It was by revising and expanding these stories that L’Amour would create his first novels.
- The Trail to Crazy Man
Release Date: 2018-03-01
Louis L’Amour is now one of the most iconic Western writers of all time, but once upon a time he was Jim Mayo, a regular writer for the pulps. Some of the tales he wrote in those days stuck with him enough that he later revised and expanded them into novels. But there was a special magic to the originals, and after research and restoration, these stories appear here now in their original form.
In “The Trail to Peach Meadow Cañon,” Mike Bastian, taken in by the legendary outlaw Ben Curry as an orphaned child and raised to one day take over his empire of crime, finds that day has come. As he prepares for his first criminal job, a gold-train robbery, Mike must decide whether to follow the path laid out before him or to carve out a destiny of his own.
In the title story, Charles Rodney, shanghaied and forced into labor on a merchant vessel, eventually dies from repeated beatings—but not before deeding part of his ranch to Rafe Caradec, whom he hopes will protect his family.
In the first in this trio of Western stories by Louis L’Amour—“Black Rock”—Jim Gatlin, a Texas trail driver, arrives in the town of Tucker where he finds himself quickly drawn into the middle of an all-out battle for the XY Ranch when, due to a case of mistaken identity, he kills the segundo of Wing Cary’s Flying C Ranch. Gatlin is a dead-ringer for Jim Walker, who, like Cary, wants control of the XY. Gatlin is thrown into a situation in which all he can do but fight for his life.
Seventeen-year-old Shandy Gamble in “Gamble of the KT” is in Perigord with plans to buy a new saddle and bridle with the $500 in reward money he had received for catching two horse thieves, but instead he gets conned out of the money. He returns to the KT Ranch never mentioning what happened. But when he learns the con man is back and hanging out with the June gang, he decides it’s time to get his money back and even the score.
Always a fighting man, both for the US Army and in battles across the ocean, Tom Kedrick in “Showdown Trail” has been hired to help run off the squatters and outlaws occupying a strip of land claimed to be unusable swamp. When he learns that he is being misled by his new bosses and that the squatters are honest and hardworking settlers, including one of his father’s old friends, he has to determine which side he will fight for.
Louis L’Amour is the most decorated author in the history of American letters, and his stories are loved the world over.
This collection of six exciting Western stories from early in Louis L’Amour’s career begins with “Fork Your Own Broncs,” in which Mac Marcy, who had saved for seven years to run his own small cattle ranch, sees his dream come true, only to have it threatened by Jingle Bob Kenyon.
In “Keep Travelin’, Rider,” Tack Gentry returns to Sunbonnet and his uncle’s G Bar Ranch only to find that his uncle, a Quaker, has been killed in a gunfight. A faction has moved in and run roughshod over the town and the ranches, including the G Bar.
In “McQueen of the Tumbling K,” ranch foreman Ward McQueen looks out for his boss, Ruth Kermitt. When Jim Yount shows up at the Tumbling K looking to buy cattle to stock worthless land he won in a poker game, McQueen can’t help but question his true intentions.
In “Four Card Draw,” Allen Ring wins the Red Rock Ranch in a poker game, but he soon finds that he has stepped into a hotbed of fear and danger; several years back, Sam Hazlitt was killed on the Red Rock, and his record book—which could discredit many of the ranchers—went missing.
In “Mistakes Can Kill You,” Johnny O’Day had accounted for six dead men by the time he turned seventeen. Close to death from pneumonia, he’s taken in by the Redlins. O’Day pays the family back by staying on and working, but now he must decide whether to leave or risk his life to save their biological son, Sam.
In “Showdown on the Tumbling T,” after two years in Mexico, Wat Bell runs into his cousin, whom he considers his best friend, only to learn he’s been blamed for the death of their uncle. Although his cousin offers to help, a series of events makes Bell suspect something much more sinister is going on.