Remembering a Western Literary Icon


Elmer Kelton leaves behind some big boots to fill.

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Elmer Kelton (1926-2009)


Our dear friend and world-renowned Western writer, Elmer Kelton, passed away on Saturday morning, August 22.

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A Ranger War & Billy the Kid

authorprofile-"That avaricious Americanized way of thinking measured individual achievement in terms of acquisition. Rapaciously conquering and dominating the land, making it pay whopping dividends, was much preferred to eking out subsistence living by tending a cow and tilling a family garden plot,” Bob Alexander writes in Desert Desperadoes.

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Good Luck Dogged My Trail

good_luck_dogged_my_trailClay Mann branded his cows with a large “80” that stretched across their side. It was this 80 brand that changed Daniel Webster Wallace’s name for most of those who knew him to “80 John.” He continued to work for Mann and established his reputation as a number one cowboy and as a confidant who could be trusted with any discreet assignment.

From African American National Biography

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From Errol Flynn to Owen Wister

fromerrolflynn"I love Newport because it is history preserved,” John Jakes writes in the afterword of his latest novel, The Gods of Newport. “I contrast this with my first adult visit to Boston, a week spent there to research The Rebels, the second volume of the Kent Family Chronicles. Eagerly I went to the site of the Boston Tea Party. I found real estate built on landfill, a dull green office building, a bronze plaque.

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Vote Longmire for Sheriff

Craig Johnson on Walt, Wyoming and the West.

The Old Cheyenne were with me, and I could feel their strength as I continued along the trail, my heavy boots forming the snow as I went. The drums were there too, matching my progress in perfect fashion, providing an easy rhythm and keeping my legs moving. I felt strong, like I hadn’t in many years, perhaps like I never had. I watched as my breath began blowing out ahead of me, and it was as if the wind did not affect it. The searing air felt good in my lungs, and I almost felt as if I could run; but the steady beat of the drums held, and so did I.
—The Cold Dish

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An Endless Attraction to Billy

Garrett's book is bunk, Burns’ revived the Kid and Wallis' latest bio tells the whole truth.

Michael Wallis’s first outlaw biography was on Oklahoma’s social bandit Pretty Boy Floyd, published in 1992. Now he’s written Billy the Kid:
The Endless Ride
(W.W. Norton), which brings into focus the legend of the frontier’s more enigmatic figure.

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Writing the Wicked West

authorprofileA gambling spirit is what inspired many people to head West in the first place. After working hard on a cattle drive or digging in a mine, men needed a way to relax and have fun. In keeping with that risk-taking spirit, many chose to wager their hard-earned money in the saloon,” Sherry Monahan writes in The Wicked West: Boozers, Cruisers, Gamblers, and more.

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From Hondo to Big Ike

fromhondotobigGlenshannon’s spread was one of the biggest in Texas—or anywhere.... One of Glenshannon’s cowboys, an amateur geographer, once observed that it would take a man on a good horse a lot of breakfasts to circle it. Nobody ever tried.

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True Westerners

Rick Wallner

Rick Wallner

The best book on Bent’s Fort is David Lavender’s Bent’s Fort , although Mark Lee G...

Justice for Jack

Justice for Jack

Pioneer Jack Swilling should be remembered for his many contributions to Arizona...

Liberty, Not Death

Liberty, Not Death

Children soothed their thirst by scraping their fingernails on barrack windows t...

True West Site Guide


True West captures the spirit of the American West with authenticity, personality and humor by linking our history to our present. Whether you call it the Wild West, the Old West or the Far West, America's frontier history comes to life in True West, the world's oldest, continuously published Western Americana magazine.

Western movie fans, re-enactors, history buffs and road warriors, we got your history covered: outlaw, cowboy, Indian, lawman, gunfighter, fur trapper, miner, prospector, gambler, soldier, entertainer and pioneer. Check out these True Westerners now!

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