Cartoon cowboy

  American West
  Contributed by Barbara Gillen

Abbey, Edward. The Brave Cowboy: An Old Tale in a New Time. New York: Avon Books, 1956 - Jack Burns is a renegade, an old style cowboy on a collision course with the 20th Century. Set in New Mexico in the 1950s, Abbey's tale of a good man out of place and out of time is both poignant and humorous. Hauntingly beautiful descriptions of the southwestern landscape reinforce Abbey's reputation as a fierce environmentalist. This novel was the basis for the film Lonely Are the Brave.

Berger, Thomas. Little Big Man. New York: Delta Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1964 - Historical and hysterical memoirs of 111-year-old Jack Crabb, the only white man to survive the Battle of Little Bighorn. Adopted by the Cheyenne at the age of 10, Jack moves between the Indian and white worlds for the next 24 years. Through Jack's eyes we witness the clash of cultures on the western frontier and experience the "glory and tragedy of it all."

Carter, Peter. Borderlands. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1990 - Thirteen-year-old Ben Curtis and his brother Bo leave poverty in Texas to join a cattle drive. Ben's life takes a dramatic turn when Bo is murdered in a Kansas saloon. In Abilene, Ben discovers his talent for making money and eventually opens his own store in Dodge. His adventures continue, climaxing in a fateful encounter with the killer. Ben's story presents an exciting, unromantic picture of the Old West.

Clark, Walter van Tilburg. The Ox-Bow Incident. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1962 - Cattle have been stolen and a man is reported murdered in Bridger's Wells, Nevada in 1885. Twenty-eight men form a posse, find three men in the Ox-Bow Valley, and exact their own brand of frontier justice. On learning the truth, the ensuing guilt brings even more tragedy to this cattle town. First published in 1940, Clark's novel remains an intense and powerful drama of mob psychology and guilt.

Taylor, Theodore. Walking Up a Rainbow. New York: Delacorte Press, 1986 - Orphaned Susan Carlisle has been left two things by her parents: 2000 sheep and a massive debt to a shady businessman. Feisty and independent, she hatches a scheme to sell the sheep to the miners in California and save her home. On the long journey west, Susan faces dangers and endures hardships with courage and grace, and earns the respect of her companions along with valuable life lessons.

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This page last updated May 11, 2001
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