Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Western Author Louis L'Amour 1988 Forest Lawn Glendale

Louis L'Amour (pronounced /ˈluːi ləˈmɔr/; March 22, 1908 – June 10, 1988) was an American author. L'Amour's books, primarily Western fiction (though he called his work 'Frontier Stories'), remain popular, and most have gone through multiple printings. At the time of his death all 105 of his works were in print (89 novels, 14 short-story collections, and two full-length works of nonfiction) and he was considered "one of the world's most popular writers."[1][2]

Early life

Louis Dearborn L'Amour was born in Jamestown, North Dakota in 1908, of French and Irish ancestry, and left home at 15 to travel the country and later the world as a merchant seaman.

L'Amour's family name was originally spelled LaMoore (an early North Dakota pioneer family, the LaMoore name is quite common, and in fact, LaMoure, North Dakota, was named after his ancestor), but Louis changed it to L'Amour ("The Love" in French). L'Amour's father, a veterinarian and farm machinery salesman, was also involved in local politics. L'Amour played "Cowboys and Indians" in the family barn, which served as his father's veterinary hospital, and did more than his share of reading, particularly G. A. Henty, a British author of historical boys' novels during the late nineteenth century. L'Amour said, "[Henty's works] enabled me to go into school with a great deal of knowledge that even my teachers didn't have about wars and politics."[1][3]

L'Amour said that luck had nothing to do with his successes: "Nor have I had any connections or breaks that I did not create for myself."[3] His self-education resulted in academic boredom, so he left school and Jamestown at fifteen after completing the tenth grade. By hitchhiking and riding the rails, he traveled to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to visit an older brother who was the governor's secretary, but he soon moved on. He then found work in West Texas skinning cattle that had died from a prolonged drought. His boss was a seventy-nine-year-old wrangler who had been raised by Apaches, who taught L'Amour about tracking and using herbs. His next job was baling hay in New Mexico's Pecos Valley, across the road from Billy the Kid's grave. There he became acquainted with some thirty former gunfighters, rangers, and outlaws in the area.[3]

Early works

L'Amour's first published work was a poem, "The Chap Worth While" which was published in the Jamestown Sun, his former home town newspaper. It is the only poem he left out of his self-published Smoke From this Altar. Lusk Publishers in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, produced this first collection. The poem did not again appear in print until 1992 in The Louis L'Amour Companion published by Andrews and McMeel. During the early 1930s he wrote poems and articles for several small circulation arts magazines. L'Amour's first story to be accepted for publication, after hundreds of rejections, was Anything for a Pal in True Gang Life (October 1935). L'Amour continued to sell stories to pulp magazines throughout the last half of the 1930s. In 1938 L'Amour returned home to live with his family who had moved in the intervening years to Choctaw, Oklahoma. Also in 1938, L'Amour met editor Leo Margulies who bought boxing stories written by L'Amour for Standard Magazine. L'Amour's first western published was The Town No Guns Could Tame in the New Western Magazine (March 1940).

World War II service and post war

L'Amour continued as an itinerant worker, traveling the world as a merchant seaman until the start of World War II. During World War II, he served in the United States Army as a transport officer with the 3622 Transport Company. In the two years before L'Amour was shipped off to Europe, L'Amour wrote stories for Standard Magazine. After World War II, L'Amour continued to write stories for magazines; his first after being discharged in 1946 was Law of the Desert Born in Dime Western Magazine (April, 1946). L'Amour's contact with Leo Margulies led to L'Amour agreeing to write many stories for the Western pulp magazines published by Standard Magazines, a substantial portion of which appeared under the name "Jim Mayo." The suggestion of L'Amour writing Hopalong Cassidy novels also was made by Margulies who planned on launching Hopalong Cassidy's Western Magazine at a time when the William Boyd films and new television series were becoming popular with a new generation. L'Amour read the original Hopalong Cassidy novels, written by Clarence E. Mulford, and wrote his novels based on the original character under the name "Tex Burns." Only two issues of the Hopalong Cassidy Western Magazine were published, and the novels as written by L'Amour were extensively edited to meet Doubleday's thoughts of how the character should be portrayed in print.

In the 1950s, L'Amour began to sell novels. L'Amour's first novel, published under his own name, was Westward The Tide, published by World's Work in 1951. The short story, "The Gift of Cochise" was printed in Colliers (July 5, 1952) and seen by John Wayne and Robert Fellows, who purchased the screen rights from L'Amour for $4,000. James Edward Grant was hired to write a screenplay based on this story changing the main character's name from Ches Lane to Hondo Lane. L'Amour retained the right to novelize the screenplay and did so, even though the screenplay differed substantially from the original story. This was published as Hondo in 1953 and released on the same day the film opened with a blurb from John Wayne stating that "Hondo was the finest Western Wayne had ever read." During the remainder of the decade L'Amour produced a great number of novels, both under his own name as well as others (e. g. Jim Mayo). Also during this time he rewrote and expanded many of his earlier short story and pulp fiction stories to book length for various publishers.

Bantam Books

A career breakthrough for L'Amour occurred in 1958 when he was hired to write western novels on contract. Bantam Books' publisher Saul David had a program to produce two Luke Short novels per year for publication. Fred Glidden had been signed to this contract but had produced only 6 novels in 10 years. Fred Glidden's brother Jon was then asked to take over the contract for eight Peter Dawson Western novels. Jon Glidden died before completing a single novel, and the contract was farmed out to a ghost writer from Disney Studios. The resulting novels were a disappointment both in style and sales. L'Amour was approached by Saul David and asked if he could produce two novels per year. L'Amour agreed, later amending the contract by agreeing to produce three novels per year. The first L'Amour novel published under this contract was Radigan in 1958. Bantam Publishers was primarily responsible for L'Amour's success. They required independent distributors to buy titles in lots of 10,000 copies if they wanted access to other Bantam titles at wholesale prices, and they kept all of L'Amour's books in print at all times. Eventually this strategy forced retailers to push other authors off the racks in the Western sections of their bookstores.[4]

L'Amour eventually wrote 89 novels, selling more than 225 million copies that were translated into dozens of languages.[1]


During the 1960s, L'Amour intended to build a working town typical of those of the nineteenth-century Western frontier, with buildings with false fronts situated in rows on either side of an unpaved main street and flanked by wide boardwalks before which, at various intervals, were watering troughs and hitching posts. The town, to be named Shalako after the protagonist of one of L'Amour's novels, was to have featured shops and other businesses that were typical of such towns: a barber shop, a hotel, a dry goods store, one or more saloons, a church, a one-room schoolhouse, etc. It would have offered itself as a filming location for Hollywood motion pictures concerning the Wild West. However, funding for the project fell through, and Shalako was never built.[5]

Literary criticisms

It has been noted that the quality of his books could be "uneven" and plots "rely on coincidences".[2] One professor is quoted as saying, "L'Amour, rather like Stephen Crane and the early Faulkner, could have profited from basic freshman English instruction."[2]

When interviewed not long before his death, he was asked which among his books he liked best. His reply:

I like them all. There's bits and pieces of books that I think are good. I never rework a book. I'd rather use what I've learned on the next one, and make it a little bit better. The worst of it is that I'm no longer a kid and I'm just now getting to be a good writer. Just now.[6]


In 1982 he won the Congressional (National) Gold Medal, and in 1984 President Ronald Reagan awarded L'Amour the Medal of Freedom. L'Amour is also a recipient of North Dakota's Roughrider Award.

In May 1972 he was awarded an Honorary PhD by Jamestown College, as a testament to his literary and social contributions.


L'Amour died from lung cancer on June 10, 1988 and was buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.[1] His autobiography detailing his years as an itinerant worker in the west, Education of a Wandering Man, was published posthumously in 1989.

"His death was a tragedy to anyone who admired literature, he showed people what a good story can do, whether it was an escape from the everyday life or just a bedside companion. His stories painted a picture in your mind that pleased anyone 8-80 years old, male or female. His writings could teach life lessons or bring people closer together like it did between my father and I. His work can take you on an adventure unlike others the average person is subject to. In a world that is so "high-tech" its a great feeling when you pick up a L'Amour book and are taken on an adventure filled ride through the world of literature." - S.J. Reese

He died doing what he loved, writing a book at his ranch in Hesperus, Colorado. He acquired the ranch from a family local to the San Juan region. He intended to turn the ranch into a replica old western town that would serve as a tourist attraction and a set for filming. However, his death put an end to that idea.


(including series novels)

Westward the Tide (London, 1950; first US publication 1976) ISBN 0-553-24766-2
The Riders of High Rock (1951) ISBN 0-553-56782-9
The Rustlers of West Fork (1951) ISBN 0-553-29539-X
The Trail to Seven Pines (1951) ISBN 0-553-56178-2
Trouble Shooter (1952) ISBN 0-553-57187-7
Hondo (1953) ISBN 0-553-80299-2
Showdown at Yellow Butte (1953) ISBN 0-553-27993-9
Crossfire Trail (1954) ISBN 0-553-28099-6
Heller with a Gun (1954) ISBN 0-553-25206-2
Kilkenny (1954) ISBN 0-553-24758-1
Utah Blaine (1954) ISBN 0-553-24761-1
Guns of the Timberlands (1955) ISBN 0-553-24765-4
To Tame a Land (1955) ISBN 0-739-34406-4
The Burning Hills (1956) ISBN 0-553-28210-7
Silver Canyon (1956) ISBN 0-553-24743-3
Last Stand at Papago Wells (1957) ISBN 0-553-25807-9
Sitka (1957) ISBN 0-451-20308-9
The Tall Stranger (1957) ISBN 0-553-28102-X
Radigan (1958) ISBN 0-553-28082-1
The First Fast Draw (1959) ISBN 0-553-25224-0
Taggart (1959) ISBN 0-553-25477-4
The Daybreakers (1960) ISBN 0-553-27674-3
Flint (1960) ISBN 0-553-25231-3
Sackett (1961) ISBN 0-553-06205-0
High Lonesome (1962) ISBN 0-553-25972-5
Killoe (1962) ISBN 0-553-25742-0
Lando (1962) ISBN 0-739-32114-5
Shalako (1962) ISBN 0-553-24858-8
Catlow (1963) ISBN 0-553-24767-0
Dark Canyon (1963) ISBN 0-553-25324-7
Fallon (1963) ISBN 0-553-28083-X
How the West Was Won (1963) ISBN 0-553-26913-5
Hanging Woman Creek (1964) ISBN 0-553-24762-X
Mojave Crossing (1964) ISBN 0-739-32115-3
The High Graders (1965) ISBN 0-553-27864-9
The Key-Lock Man (1965) ISBN 0-553-28098-8
Kiowa Trail (1965) ISBN 0-553-24905-3
The Sackett Brand (1965) ISBN 0-739-34221-5
The Broken Gun (1966) ISBN 0-553-24847-2
Kid Rodelo (1966) ISBN 0-553-24748-4
Kilrone (1966) ISBN 0-553-24867-7
Mustang Man (1966) ISBN 0-739-32116-1
Matagorda (1967) ISBN 0-553-59180-0
The Sky-Liners (1967) ISBN 0-553-27687-5
Chancy (1968) ISBN 0-553-2808-56
Conagher (1968) ISBN 0-553-28101-1
Down the Long Hills (1968) ISBN 0-553-28081-3
The Empty Land (1969) ISBN 0-553-25306-9
The Lonely Men (1969) ISBN 0-553-27677-8
Galloway (1970) ISBN 0-739-32118-8
The Man Called Noon (1970) ISBN 0-553-24753-0
Reilly's Luck (1970) ISBN 0-553-25305-0
Brionne (1971) ISBN 0-553-28107-0
The Ferguson Rifle (1971) ISBN 0-553-25303-4
North to the Rails (1971) ISBN 0-553-28086-4
Tucker (1971) ISBN 0-553-25022-1
Under the Sweetwater Rim (1971) ISBN 0-553-24760-3
Callaghen (1972) ISBN 0-553-24759-X
Ride the Dark Trail (1972) ISBN 0-553-27682-4
The Man from Skibbereen (1973) ISBN 0-553-24906-1
The Quick and the Dead (1973) ISBN 0-553-28084-8
Treasure Mountain (1973) ISBN 0-553-27689-1
The Californios (1974) ISBN 0-553-25322-0
Sackett's Land (1974) ISBN 0-553-27686-7
Man From the Broken Hills (1975) ISBN 0-553-27679-4
Over on the Dry Side (1975) ISBN 0-553-25321-2
Rivers West (1975) ISBN 0-553-25436-7
The Rider of Lost Creek (1976) ISBN 0-553-25771-4
To the Far Blue Mountains (1976) ISBN 0-553-27688-3
Where the Long Grass Blows (1976) ISBN 0-553-28172-0
Borden Chantry (1977) ISBN 0-553-27863-0
Bendigo Shafter (1978) ISBN 0-553-26446-X
Fair Blows the Wind (1978) ISBN 0-553-27629-8
The Mountain Valley War (1978) ISBN 0-553-25090-6
The Iron Marshal (1979) ISBN 0-553-24844-8
The Proving Trail (1979) ISBN 0-553-25304-2
Lonely on the Mountain (1980) ISBN 0-553-27678-6
The Warrior's Path (1980) ISBN 0-553-27690-5
Comstock Lode (1981) ISBN 0-553-27561-5
Milo Talon (1981) ISBN 0-553-24763-8
The Cherokee Trail (1982) ISBN 0-553-27047-8
The Shadow Riders (1982) ISBN 0-553-23132-4
The Lonesome Gods (1983) ISBN 0-553-27518-6
Ride the River (1983) ISBN 0-553-50251-4
Son of a Wanted Man (1984) ISBN 0-553-24457-4
The Walking Drum (1984) ISBN 0-553-28040-6
Jubal Sackett (1985) ISBN 0-553-27739-1
Passin' Through (1985) ISBN 0-553-25320-4
Last of the Breed (1986) ISBN 0-553-28042-2
West of Pilot Range (1986) ISBN 0-553-26097-9
A Trail to the West (1986)
The Haunted Mesa (1987) ISBN 0-553-27022-2

Sackett series
In fictional story order (not the order written). [1]

Sackett’s Land - Barnabas Sackett
To the Far Blue Mountains - Barnabas Sackett
The Warrior’s Path - Kin Ring Sackett
Jubal Sackett - Jubal Sackett, Itchakomi Ishai
Ride the River - Echo Sackett (Aunt to Orrin, Tyrel, and William Tell Sackett)
The Daybreakers - Orrin and Tyrel Sackett, Cap Rountree, Tom Sunday
Lando - Orlando Sackett, the Tinker
Sackett - William Tell Sackett, Cap Rountree
Mojave Crossing - William Tell Sackett and Nolan Sackett
The Sackett Brand - William Tell Sackett, and the whole passel of Sacketts!
The Sky-liners - Flagan and Galloway Sackett
The Lonely Men - William Tell Sackett
Mustang Man - Nolan Sackett
Galloway - Galloway and Flagan Sackett
Treasure Mountain - William Tell Sackett
Ride the Dark Trail - Logan Sackett, Em Talon(born a Sackett)
Lonely on the Mountain - William Tell, Orrin and Tyrel Sackett(They go on a mission to help Logan Sackett)

There are also two Sackett-related short stories:

"The Courting of Griselda" (available in End of the Drive)
"Booty for a Badman" (available in War Party)

Sacketts are also involved in the plot of 7 other novels:

Bendigo Shafter (Ethan Sackett)
Dark Canyon (William Tell Sackett)
Borden Chantry (Joe Sackett, killed in ambush that B Chantry solves murder)
Passin' Through (Parmalee Sackett is mentioned as defending a main character in the book)
Son of a Wanted Man (Tyrel Sackett)
Catlow (Ben Cowhan marries a cousin of Tyrel Sackett’s wife)
Man from the Broken Hills (Em Talon a main character in this book was in fact born a Sackett. Mentions William Tell Sackett)

Talon and Chantry series

Borden Chantry
Fair Blows the Wind
The Ferguson Rifle
The Man from the Broken Hills (Em Talon was born a Sackett she is the main character's mother.)
Milo Talon (Is a cousin to the Sacketts through his mother Em Talon)
North to the Rails
Over on the Dry Side
Rivers West

Kilkenny series

The Rider of Lost Creek (1976)
The Mountain Valley War (1978), which previously been released as a magazine novella, entitled A Man Called Trent and was re-written for the Kilkenny trilogy. A Man Called Trent is included in the short story collection entitled The Rider of the Ruby Hills (1986)
Kilkenny (1954)
A Gun for Kilkenny is a short story featuring Kilkenny as a minor character, from the collection Dutchman's Flat (1986).

Monument Rock is a novella in the story collection of the same name.

Hopalong Cassidy series
Originally published under the pseudonym "Tex Burns"

The Riders of High Rock
The Rustlers of West Fork
The Trail to Seven Pines
Trouble Shooter

Collections of short stories

War Party (1975)
The Strong Shall Live (1980)
Yondering (1980; revised edition 1989)
Buckskin Run (1981)
Bowdrie (1983)
The Hills of Homicide (1983)
Law of the Desert Born (1983)
Bowdrie's Law (1984)
Night Over the Solomons (1986)
The Rider of the Ruby Hills (1986)
Riding for the Brand (1986)
The Trail to Crazy Man (1986)
Dutchman's Flat (1986)
Lonigan (1988)
Long Ride Home (1989)
The Outlaws of Mesquite (1990)
West from Singapore (1991)
Valley of the Sun (1995)
West of Dodge (1996)
End of the Drive (1997)
Monument Rock (1998)
Beyond the Great Snow Mountains (1999)
Off the Mangrove Coast (2000)
May There Be a Road (2001)
With These Hands (2002)
From the Listening Hills (2003)
The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour: The Frontier Stories - Volume 1
The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour: The Frontier Stories - Volume 2
The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour: The Frontier Stories - Volume 3
The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour: The Adventure Stories - Volume 4
The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour: The Frontier Stories - Volume 5
The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour: The Crime Stories - Volume 6
The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour: The Frontier Stories - Volume 7
"Trap of Gold"
"The Gift of Cochise"


Education Of A Wandering Man


The Sackett Companion
A Trail Of Memories: The Quotations Of Louis L'Amour (compiled by Angelique L'Amour)


Smoke From This Altar

Compilations with other authors

The Golden West

Film adaptations

Crossfire Trail, 2001. (TV) (novel)... aka Louis L'Amour's Crossfire Trail (USA). Starring Tom Selleck, Virginia Madsen, and Wilford Brimley. Directed by Simon Wincer.
The Diamond of Jeru (2001) (TV) (short story)... aka Louis L'Amour's The Diamond of Jeru (USA: complete title)
Shaughnessy (1996) (TV) (novel "The Iron Marshal")... aka Louis L'Amour's Shaughnessy (Australia), and, Louis L'Amour's Shaughnessy the Iron Marshal (USA: DVD box title)
Conagher (1991) (TV) (novel)... aka Louis L'Amour's Conagher, Starring Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross. Directed by Reynaldo Villalobos.
The Quick and the Dead (1987) (HBO TV) (novel), Starring Sam Elliott and Kate Capshaw. Directed by Robert Day.
Louis L'Amour's Down the Long Hills (1986) (TV) (novel)... aka Down the Long Hills
Five Mile Creek (2 episodes, 1984)
- "Walk Like a Man" (1984) TV Episode (inspiration The Cherokee Trail)
- "When the Kookaburra Cries" (1984) TV Episode (inspiration The Cherokee Trail)
The Shadow Riders (1982) (TV) (novel)... aka Louis L'Amour's The Shadow Riders
The Cherokee Trail (1981) (TV) (story)... aka Louis L'Amour's The Cherokee Trail (USA)
The Sacketts (1979) (TV) (novels "The Daybreakers" and "Sackett")... aka The Daybreakers (USA: cut version)
Hombre llamado Noon, Un (1973) (novel)... aka The Man Called Noon (Philippines: English title) (UK) (USA) Lo chiamavano Mezzogiorno (Italy)
Cancel My Reservation (1972) (novel The Broken Gun)
Catlow (1971) (novel)
Shalako (1968) (novel)... aka Man nennt mich Shalako (West Germany)
Hondo (17 episodes, 1967)
- "Hondo and the Rebel Hat" (1967) TV Episode (character)
- "Hondo and the Apache Trail" (1967) TV Episode (character)
- "Hondo and the Gladiators" (1967) TV Episode (character)
- "Hondo and the Hanging Town" (1967) TV Episode (character)
- "Hondo and the Death Drive" (1967) TV Episode (character)
Hondo and the Apaches (1967) (TV) (story "The Gift of Cochise")
Kid Rodelo (1966) (novel)
Taggart (1964) (novel)
Guns of the Timberland (1960) (novel)
Heller in Pink Tights, 1960 (film) (novel) Starring Anthony Quinn and Sophia Loren. Directed by George Cukor. Adapted from Heller With a Gun.
Apache Territory (1958) (novel Last Stand at Papago Wells)
The Tall Stranger (1957) (novel Showdown Trail), The Rifle (USA) and Walk Tall (USA: alternative title)
Maverick (1 episode, 1957)
Stage West (1957) TV Episode (story)
Sugarfoot (1 episode, 1957)... aka Tenderfoot (UK)
The Strange Land (1957) TV Episode (story)
Utah Blaine (1957) (novel)
The Burning Hills (1956) (novel)
"Flowers for Jenny" (1956) TV Episode (story)
Blackjack Ketchum, Desperado (1956) (novel Kilkenny)
City Detective (1 episode, 1955)
Man Down, Woman Screaming (1955) TV Episode (story)
Stranger on Horseback (1955) (story)
Climax! (1 episode, 1955)... aka Climax Mystery Theater (USA)
The Mojave Kid (1955) TV Episode (story)
Treasure of Ruby Hills (1955) (story)
Four Guns to the Border (1954) (story)... aka Shadow Valley (USA)
Hondo (1953) (story "The Gift of Cochise")
East of Sumatra (1953) (story)


1.^ Barron, JamesLouis L'Amour, Writer, Is Dead; Famed Chronicler of West Was 80New York Times 1988-06-13 retrieved 2008-03-02
2.^ Miller, John J. The Last of His Breed: But still a writer for our moment – even in boot camp.Wall Street Journal2002-05-13 retrieved 2008-03-01
3.^ Henry-Mead, Jean"Looking back: an interview with Louis L'Amour,"
4.^ Grub Line Rider foreword by Jon Tuska, published by Dorchester Publishing Co., New York, NY,March, 2008, ISBN 0-8439-6065-5
5.^ Louis L'Amour.com
6.^ Review


Grub Line Rider foreword by Jon Tuska published by Dorchester Publishing Co. New York, NY March, 2008 ISBN 0-8439-6065-5

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