Sunday, May 27, 2012

Four Stations of the Western Literary Cross

After a long, sweaty day of yard work, Mrs. Slap and I sat out on the back deck over moonshine and tea discussing what books we intend to start next.  After years on the sidelines, Mrs. Slap recently read Riders of the Purple Sage and liked it so much that she picked up Call of the Canyon soon after.  I was thinking of other literary westerns with strong character development when it occurs to me that there are four stations of the western cross, if you will, that create a well read western reader.  These include:

Riders of the Purple Sage, Zane Grey

Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry

Shane, Jack Schaefer

The Virginian, Owen Wister

What do you think?  What did I leave out?  Comments, please, comments!


  1. It probably depends on what age you are as to the type of western you'd enjoy and list as top reads of the genre.

    Many top ten lists of westerns often include "The Outlaw Josey Wales" aka "The Rebel Outlaw Josey Wales" and "Gone to Texas" by Forrest Carter - and I must add it is one of my favourites.

    Another I'd add would be "The Ox-Bow Incident" by Walter Van Tilburg Clark.

  2. Ox-Bow Incident, Warlock, Blood Meridian, In the Rogue Blood, The Day the Cowboys Quit, all probably could have gone in here as well. I've only read about half of those, however.

    I keep meaning to read Forrest Carter. So much good stuff out there.

  3. What about The Way West or The Big Sky by A. B. Guthrie?

  4. Oscar, AB Guthrie was a genius. His writing was also depressing as all get out. I think I blocked it from my memory.