Posted by
Member since May 2009
4584 posts

What are your top 5 western books?

Trilogies can be counted as one.

1- Lonesome Dove/Dead Mans Walk/Comanche Moon
2- Big Sky
3- Blood Meridian
4- Riders of the Purple Sage
5- True Grit

Jim Rockford
Member since May 2011
42882 posts

re: What are your top 5 western books?
The Virginian
Last of the Plainsmen (better Zane Grey book than ROTPS IYAM)
Blood Meridian

There's a nonfiction book I'd put above all of them: We Pointed Them North. In the 1930's, historian Helena Huntington Smith sat down with E.C. "Teddy Blue" Abbott, a Montana cowboy then in his seventies. Larry McMurtry used it as source material for Lonesome Dove. If you're interested in Western history, it's a must read.

ETA: in fact, there's so much great western nonfiction out there, that I usually prefer it to fiction.
This post was edited on 5/6 at 11:20 pm

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witty alias
Southern Miss Fan
Member since Nov 2012
673 posts

re: What are your top 5 western books?
Lonesome Dove
The Border Trilogy
The Sisters Brothers

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Member since Feb 2010
12119 posts

re: What are your top 5 western books?
1. Shane

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Sir Drinksalot
Member since Aug 2005
14945 posts

re: What are your top 5 western books?
I read little big man as a child and still remember it. Great book.

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New Orleans Saints Fan
Remember landscaping the Alamo
Member since Jul 2007
79096 posts

re: What are your top 5 western books?
I'll take this chance to mention the novels of Paul I. Wellman (1895-1966), several of whose books were filmed.

The Iron Mistress -- Novel about Jim Bowie, rather sluggishly filmed with Alan Ladd in 1952. But I'm a sucker for movies about old New Orleans (the film ends as Bowie rides off for Texas). We also get to see one Monsieur Audubon working on a book about birds.

Jubal Troop -- I actually haven't gotten around to reading this one, which as it happens made my favorite Wellman film (called simply Jubal). It's Othello out west, with Glenn Ford as Cassio (here the lead), Ernest Borgnine as Othello, and Rod Steiger chewing all scenery in sight as Iago. The is one of the most underappreciated westerns from the genre's golden age.

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Watch the Jubal film here

The Comancheros -- This was made into an above-average John Wayne vehicle. Note that in the novel, Wayne's character (a Texas Ranger) is very minor -- the protagonist is the New Orleans gambler (played in the film by Stuart Whitman).

Wellman also wrote some excellent books that unfortunately were never filmed, such as Magnificent Destiny (about Sam Houston and Andrew Jackson) and Ride The Red Earth (set in 17th century Mexico) -- this would have made a great swashbuckler; too bad it was never a movie.

Paul I. Wellman


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Auburn Fan
Auburn, AL
Member since Oct 2011
16037 posts

re: What are your top 5 western books?
Lonesome Dove is #1 by enough that I'm not sure it's even worth me mentioning any others.

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The Cow Goes Moo Moo
Georgia Tech Fan
Member since Nov 2012
2205 posts

re: What are your top 5 western books?
I highly recommend Warlock.

Sort of a grittier version of Tombstone.

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