The Lawless West

Front Cover
Leisure Books, 2007 - Fiction - 290 pages
2 Reviews
Restored from the authors own manuscripts, three short novels by three popular Western writers are collected in this single volume: Louis LAmours "Riders of the Dawn," Zane Greys "From Missouri," and Max Brands "Over the Northern Border." HC: Five Star (previously titled "Stories of the Golden West, Book Seven").

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - velyrhorde - LibraryThing

The final book in this series (the others are THE UNTAMED WEST and THE GOLDEN WEST), this combines previously unpublished (or in the case of Zane Grey, previously unpublished in their original form ... Read full review

About the author (2007)

Zane Grey was born Pearl Zane Gray in 1872, in Zanesville, Ohio. He studied dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania, married Lina Elise Roth in 1905, then moved his family west where he began to write novels. The author of 86 books, he is today considered the father of the Western genre, with its heady romances and mysterious outlaws. Riders of the Purple Sage (1912) brought Grey his greatest popular acclaim. Other notable titles include The Light of Western Stars (1914) and The Vanishing American (1925). An extremely prolific writer, he often completed three novels a year, while his publisher would issue only one at a time. Twenty-five of his novels were published posthumously. His last, The Reef Girl, was published in 1977. Zane Grey died of heart failure on October 23 in Altadena, California, in 1939.

Born in Jamestown, North Dakota on March 22, 1908, Louis L'Amour's adventurous life could have been the subject of one of his novels. Striking out on his own in 1923, at age 15, L'Amour began a peripatetic existence, taking whatever jobs were available, from skinning dead cattle to being a sailor. L'Amour knew early in life that he wanted to be a writer, and the experiences of those years serve as background for some of his later fiction. During the 1930s he published short stories and poetry; his career was interrupted by army service in World War II. After the war, L'Amour began writing for western pulp magazines and wrote several books in the Hopalong Cassidy series using the pseudonym Tex Burns. His first novel, Westward the Tide (1950), serves as an example of L'Amour's frontier fiction, for it is an action-packed adventure story containing the themes and motifs that he uses throughout his career. His fascination with history and his belief in the inevitability of manifest destiny are clear. Also present and typical of L'Amour's work are the strong, capable, beautiful heroine who is immediately attracted to the equally capable hero; a clear moral split between good and evil; reflections on the Native Americans, whose land and ways of life are being disrupted; and a happy ending. Although his work is somewhat less violent than that of other western writers, L'Amour's novels all contain their fair share of action, usually in the form of gunfights or fistfights. L'Amour's major contribution to the western genre is his attempt to create, in 40 or more books, the stories of three families whose histories intertwine as the generations advance across the American frontier. The novels of the Irish Chantry, English Sackett, and French Talon families are L'Amour's most ambitious project, and sadly were left unfinished at his death. Although L'Amour did not complete all of the novels, enough of the series exists to demonstrate his vision. L'Amour's strongest attribute is his ability to tell a compelling story; readers do not mind if the story is similar to one they have read before, for in the telling, L'Amour adds enough small twists of plot and detail to make it worth the reader's while. L'Amour fans also enjoy the bits of information he includes about everything from wilderness survival skills to finding the right person to marry. These lessons give readers the sense that they are getting their money's worth, that there is more to a L'Amour novel than sheer escapism. With over 200 million copies of his books in print worldwide, L'Amour must be counted as one of the most influential writers of westerns in this century. He died from lung cancer on June 10, 1988.

JON TUSKA and VICKI PIEKARSKI are co-founders of the Golden West Literary Agency as well as authors or editors of numerous works on the American West, including the Encyclopedia of Frontier and Western Fiction, Westward the Women (1988), and Billy the Kid (1994)

Max Brand is the best-known pen name of Frederick Faust, who was born in Seattle, Washington in 1882, and orphaned early. Faust grew up in the rural San Joaquin Valley of California. At the University of California, Berkeley, he became a student rebel and a one-man literary movement, contributing to campus publications. He was denied his degree because of his unconventional conduct. He then traveled, ending up in New York City where he received simultaneous recognition as a serious poet and successful popular-prose writer. Later, he traveled further, making his home in New York, then in Florence, Italy, and finally Los Angeles. He much preferred Italy, where he lived from 1926 to 1938, and where much of his writing was done. Faust, who wrote under more than a dozen pseudonyms, was a prolific writer, not only of westerns, but also of hundreds of other novels and books, including the popular Dr. Kildare series. Faust's first novel The Untamed (1918) was a success and introduced a semimythical character, Whistlin' Dan Barry, who travels the West following the wild geese, accompanied by a black wolf. His characters, who often have a mythic quality, are memorable, and his books are always entertaining. Faust was also a screenwriter for several Hollywood studios, including MGM, Warner Brothers, and Columbia. Once the United States entered the Second World War, Faust abandoned his lucrative writing career and his work as a screenwriter to serve as a war correspondent with the infantry in Italy, despite his fifty-one years and a bad heart. Faust died in 1944, killed during a night attack on a hilltop village held by the German army. Even after his death, new books based on magazine serials, unpublished manuscripts, or restored versions continue to appear so that he has averaged a new book every four months for seventy-five years.

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