University of Nebraska Press
, 2011 - Fiction
- 215 pages
By the author of The Homesman, now a major motion picture The Shootist is John Bernard Books, a gunfighter at the turn of the twentieth century who must confront the greatest Shootist of all: Death. Most men would end their days in bed or take their own lives, but a gunfighter has a third option, one that Books decides to exercise. He may choose his own executioner.
As word spreads that the famous assassin has incurable cancer, an assortment of human vultures gathers to feast on the corpse—among them a gambler, a rustler, a clergyman, an undertaker, an old love, a reporter, even an admiring teenager. What follows is the last courageous act in Books’s own legend.
This classic, Spur Award–winning novel was chosen by the Western Writers of America as one of the best western novels ever written and was the inspiration for John Wayne’s last great starring role in the acclaimed 1976 film adaptation. The Bison Books edition includes a new introduction by the author’s son, Miles Swarthout, in which he discusses his father’s work and the making of the legendary film.