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.
From the Paperback edition.
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February 28, 2005
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Excerpt from End of the Drive by Louis L'Amour
When I rode up to the buffalo wallow, Pa was lying there with his leg broke and his horse gone.
Out there on the prairie there wasn't much to make splints with, and Pa was bad hurt. It had seemed to me the most important things for a man to know was how to ride a horse and use a gun, but now neither one was going to do much good. Earlier in the day Pa and me had had a mean argument, and it wasn't the first. Here I was, man-grown and seventeen, and Pa still after me about the company I kept. He was forever harping on Doc Sites and Kid Reese and their like...said they were no-goods. As if he was one to talk, a man who'd never had money nor schooling, nor any better than a worn-out coat on his back. Anyway, Doc and Kid Reese weren't about to be farmers or starving on a short-grass cow ranch.
Pa, he'd been at me again because I'd be dogged if I was going to waste my life away on what little we could make, and told him so...then I rode off to be an outlaw. For the first two miles I was good and mad, and for the third mile I was growling some, but I'd made most of ten miles before my good sense got the better of me and I started back to help Pa. He had a far piece to go, and he was a lone man packing twenty thousand dollars through some mighty rough country.
It was midafternoon of a mighty hot day when I came up to that buffalo wallow, and Pa had been lying there four, five hours. His canteen had been on his saddle and the horse had taken off, so I got down and gave him a swallow or two from mine.
All that argument was forgotten. Times like that a man is best off doing one thing at a time and not worrying around too much.
"Thanks, boy." Pa returned the canteen to me. "Looks like I played hob."
"That gray never did have a lick of sense," I said, and then I told it to him. "You got a busted leg, but your jaw's in good shape. So you set back an' argue with me whilst I set that bone."
"You just forget about me. All that money is in those saddlebags, and less than a third of it ours. You forget me and hunt down that horse."
That twenty thousand dollars was from a steer herd we'd taken to Kansas and sold, and folks back home were a-sweating until we got back with the money. Cash money was hard to come by those times, and most of this would go to mighty poor folks who hadn't seen a hard dollar since who flung the chunk.