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Dec 8, 2007
Somewhere near Jupiter
Its funny but I'm intrigued by Westerns. I've always enjoyed watching them even though many of them seem quite cheesy and clichéd. I'm quite interested in the lives of the native Americans (Indians as they are erroneously called) and no doubt in older books they would be portrayed as bad guys, and yet I remain curious about the genre. I'm wondering if any of you guys have any recommendations? I've heard of Zane Grey (Purple Sage) but that's about as far as my knowledge goes. I love the old spaghetti westerns with Eastwood and I'm wondering who wrote the books...
I went through a phase where I read a number of westerns. I can't vouch for the accuracy of any of them but I found several authors/books that I found entertaining. I've read a few Zane Grey's, they were pretty good. I tried Louis L'amour, but I couldn't get through even one book. Dry and dull. I read Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, it was technically good but it's a bit of a plod at times. The ones I enjoyed the best were by Max Brand (pen name). I would say they were fun and pure fantasy closer to Robert E. Howard than anything else.
As far as I know the Man With No Name films were original screenplays, not based on any books though the first, A Fistful Of Dollars owed a lot to an earlier Japanese samurai movie. Joe Millard did write a novelization of GBU but it's not worth the paper it was printed on. Will Henry and Lewis B. Patton write very good westerns and Robert Silverberg has written at least one history book about the American Indian.
If you want real classic Western, you should try Shane by Jack Schaefer. It is short. You will likely read it at one sitting, but if you are like me you will remember it all your life.

Note: not an Indian in sight
Try All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy for an alternative take on the Western.
if you can get past the first page it is a wonderful book.

also recommend Blood Meridien by the same author.

if you can find them, the Blueberry comics by Jean Giraud/ Mobius are very good.
I actually discovered Romer Zane Grey’s version of Zane Grey’s characters first, to be honest I preferred the son’s version. I can’t remember who wrote them but there was a series of books about Blondie and Tuco which I remember reading in the 80s.
Books on Which Movies Were Based:

True Grit by Charles Portis
Shane by Jack Schaefer
The Revenant by Michael Punke
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

And a TV show was based on The Little House on the Prairie

Comanche Moon and Flower of Gold are two novels that portray Native Americans as good people.

I don't think Louis L'amour is that terrible...I had a book of his that I never finished, but it was mostly because I had a different book that I liked more. His books tend to be short, so they'd make good "primers.'
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I would add The Virginian as a classic western. I have a first edition of that although in terrible shape.
And not truly westerns but James fenimore coopers books of the early frontier are great.
Louis L'Amour is another Western writer to look at. I read and enjoyed some of his short stories, after reading that David Gemmell cited him as an influence.
Louis L'Amour is another Western writer to look at. I read and enjoyed some of his short stories, after reading that David Gemmell cited him as an influence.
Interesting that Louis L'amore created two characters I've heard of. Hopalong Cassidy and Hondo, the latter being made into a film with John Wayne and which I have on DVD somewhere...
I liked Robert E. Howard's western short stories.

Also, all of the Sackett novels. I particularly liked Ben Johnson's rendition of Cap Roundtree.
He wrote a bunch of westerns. My favorites were the funny Breckinridge Elkins stories.
As a huge fan of McMurtry's writing I had trouble admitting the movie Lonesome Dove was as good or almost as good as the book. They found the perfect actors and actresses. He's a tremendous writer, my favorite western author for sure. Streets of Laredo would be just as good as LD but Gus is gone by then. What's a McMurtry book without Gus?
This is a fun spaghetti western (totally un-PC, doesn't have a single woman in it, not even as a background character).


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