Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Western Wednesday- Louis L'Amour
My grandpa had a huge stack of westerns beside his chair. He was a man of few words but he loved to read westerns and he'd lived some of the life that was written about in the westerns. Grandpa had been a hand on a ranch, driving teams of horses to put up hay and feed the cattle. He rode horses to mend fence and helped with branding. He'd been a railroad man and a cowboy most of his younger years. I believe the stories in the westerns resonated with Grandpa because he had lived the life.
Louis L'Amour and my grandpa would have been about the same age. Louis was born in 1908 in Jamestown, North Dakota. His father was a veterinarian who also sold farm equipment.
Between his grandfather's stories about the Civil War and Indian wars and his encounters with cowboys as well as his experience as a cowhand on ranches, Louis used this information to build the stories and characters in his books.
His love of reading started with history books and expanded to fiction when his sister worked as a librarian. His interest grew from reading books by Robert Louis Stevenson, Jack London and Edgar Rice Burroughs. These tales of adventure captured his imagination.
His mother, father, brother John, and Louis, had a seven year odyssey where they traveled he west looking for work. Louis skinned cattle in west Texas, baled hay in the Pecos valley of New Mexico, worked in the mines of Arizona, California, and Nevada and in the sawmills and lumberyards of Oregon and Washington. During all this traveling and working he met many of the characters who graced the pages of his books.
Traveling as he did also gave him firsthand knowledge of the vast territories he wrote about.
During his career he wrote 89 novels and 14 short story collections.
Do you have a favorite Louis L'Amour novel?