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Louis L'Amour 10 Best Novels

Updated on January 3, 2011

How I Met Louis L'Amour

I first met Louis L'Amour inside a truck stop outside of Lincoln, Nebraska. OK So I didn't actually meet him he passed away long before I became a truck driver, but I had heard his name before and was curious about western novels. On the road and away from for home for weeks at a time, sometimes waiting for a couple days for a load, I rekindled my passion for reading. About this time there was a rack full of Louis L'Amour novels for $5 each. A great deal considering most paperbacks now are almost $10. Anyway, by the end of my first novel (Daybreakers) I was hooked.

I have since bought or borrowed every Louis L'Amour novel I can find. I have also read a couple of other writers of westerns including Zane Grey, Ralph Compton and William W. Johnstone. All very good writers in their own rights but I believe Louis L'Amour is the #1 western writer. His favorite family is, of course, the Sacketts, a mountain family of rough and tumble straight shooters (literally). If one of them plans to "read to ya from the good book" you'd better get out of town or better yet out of the territory.

Several of his books have been made into movies including How the West was Won, and Lonesome Dove. In my opinion his novels don't transfer well into film, but that topic is for another lens (I smell a Dual coming). On the other hand I didn't believe The Lord of the Rings could be made into a movie either. The list of my movie flubs goes on and on. Again that's subject matter for another lens.

Don't forget to take the poll at the bottom. Let me know which is your favorite!

#10 Ride the River

Book 17 in the Sackett Series

Echo Sackett has come to Philadelphia to retrieve an inheritance that belongs to the youngest living relative of Kin Sackett. The family back in Tennessee has fallen on hard times and could sure use the money. But there are others that could use that money and will stop at nothing to relieve her of her fortune. Not even murdering of a 16 year old girl. When a kindly old woman and her partner switch bags with Echo, she must find them and get back the family's future.

#9 The Man from Skibbereen

This is the tale of a young brawler named Crispin Mayo. Cris heads west in pursuit of a new start with a railroad construction crew. Coming upon a line shack he finds blood a telegraph key warning of danger and a mystery. And, of course there's a feisty young woman trying to save her loved ones from impending doom.

#8 To the Far Blue Mountains

Book 2 in the Sackett series

A kings fortune is lost while being transported. Barnabas Sackett has the bad luck of finding a small fortune in rare gold coins. coins thought to be part of the lost treasure. Now while trying to make his way to America, the Queen has every port being watched for Sackett and the treasure belonging to her.

#7 The Iron Marshal

Once a tough enforcer for a New York gang, young Tom Shanaghy made one to many enemies.Jumping onboard a west bound freight train he finds himself in a small town badly in need of a sheriff. Tom finds himself stuck in the middle of a feud before the sunsets on his first day. Now he needs all of his wits just to stay alive.

#6 Westward the Tide

Matt Bardoul was a drifter with no ties. That's the way he liked it. Until he met Jacquine Coyle an outspoken beauty and her father. They were headed to the Big Horn Mountains looking for gold. But something just didn't seem right. Matt decides to tag along and may be the only thing between them and disaster.

You can't actually look inside it's the only picture I could find.

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#5 Flint

One of Americas wealthiest financiers, rivals fear and hate him and a wife that wants him dead. Diagnosed with incurable cancer, Flint returns to the west from whence he came to die in peace. Until he meets Nancy Kerrigan the beautiful ranch owner being pushed of her land by one of Flints rivals. In her he finds something worth living for but it may be too late.

#4 How the West was Won

A great epic of human courage and endurance, his brave saga of the men and women who pushed relentlessly forward--despite the uncertainties of nature, the wrath of savage enemies, countless dangers and cruel death--to win the wide, shining lands of the rich and untamed West!

#3 Jubal Sackett

Jubal Sackett feared no man. With the aid and company of Itchakomi, a Natchez Princess, he blazed a trail through the American wilderness from the Appalacians to the Rockies.

#2 Sackett's Land

Book 1 in the Sackett series

Son of a feared fighting man, Barnabas Sackett inherited his father's fiery temper, sense of justice and warrior skills. Declared an outlaw in his native England, Barnabas set his daring sights on the opportunities of the New World. The ruthless piracy of the open seas and the unknown dangers of the savage American wilderness lay before him. And so did the thrill of discovery and the chance to establish a bold new future if he survived.

#1 Hondo

And finally my number one best Louis L'amour. Also made into a movie. He was a man etched by the desert's howling winds, a big, broad-shouldered man who knew the ways of the Apache and ways of staying alive. She was a woman raising a young son on her own on a remote Arizona ranch. And between Hondo Lane and Angie Lowe was the warrior Vittoro, whose people were preparing to rise against the white men. Now the pioneer woman, the gunman, and the Apache warrior are caught in a drama of love, war, and honor.

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Your Opinion Counts

Which Louis L'Amour novel do you like best?

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Guestbook: Let Me Know What You Think

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    • profile image

      izod 

      3 months ago

      Uh, Hondo is';t really a L'amour book, it is a rewrite of a movie script. L'amour created a sort story called" The gift of Chocise" that was the basis fro the screenplay, which then in turn was novelized by L'Amour. SO while you can credit him with the creation and concept, you really can;t credit him with all the writing. A lot of the common story weakness in L'Amour's collective works were eliminated by the screen script.

      But to be clear, I am a huge L'Amour fan and while Hondo may be the best story associated with L'Amour I don;t think he alone can be credited.

      A interesting study could be made by comparing writing elements with other L'Amour works.

      L'Amour like a couple of other genre writers was a masterful story teller who excelled at the novelette and short story length but stumbled a bit when pressed for novel length. Hence the penchant for rewriting/expanding old stories.

    • profile image

      comatosebuddha 

      18 months ago

      This is a nice list. Especially great for those just starting out reading LL. IMO the Sackett series should be left out of this list as they're probably a better read when read in order - and some are better than others. That would clear some slots for Comstock Lode, The Ferguson Rifle and The Californios...As far as the Sackett's are concerned - a few early one's aren't that great. Also, starting off with even a very good Sackett like To The FBM is a bit tricky as it often appears to be meandering. Probably better to leave the Sackett's for a bit when one is just beginning to delve into LL's world.

    • profile image

      John 

      3 years ago

      As mentioned by others, Larry McMurtry wrote Lonesome Dove, not Louis L'Amour. Such a basic error calls into question everything else you wrote. Jubal Sackett is one of the most ridiculous stories I have ever read.

    • kurtreifschneider profile image

      Kurt James 

      3 years ago from Loveland Colorado

      Louis L'Amour did not write the classic Lonesome Dove that was penned by Larry McMurtry

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      4 years ago

      Enjoy your web web site on the lake up North too here in Mesquite. Might drop in and visit you and the land of the lakes. Maybe we could talk some Louie. Been reading them on my Kindle prior to Lights out, like the short story collections and and enjoy his obvious affection for horses. May have to go with Half-price books or used Amazon.

      Add to your site when you can. Thanks,

      Harvey

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      Imho, Rielly's Luck & Bendigo Shafter are great.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      @TeacherSerenia: Oh yes, I too really enjoyed, To the Far Blue Mountains.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      I am partial to the following titles: The Lonsome Gods, The Haunted Mesa, The Californios, and Last of the Breed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      @anonymous: Class answer

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      L'Amour is my favorite historical fiction story teller. Another good western auther to check out is Luke Short. His writing style is very close to LL's

      By the way, The Walking Drum is the best book. ;)

      Yol Bolsun!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      Jubal sackett, comstock load, last of the breed, reilly's luck, bendigo Shaffer.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      @TeacherSerenia: Agreee is the walking Drum is best followed by FBM, Jubal, lonesome gods, Bendigo Shafter and Reilly's luck....

    • TeacherSerenia profile image

      TeacherSerenia 

      5 years ago

      Of all the books on your list, I'm going to have to go with Sackett Land and To the Far Blue Mountains as my favourite Sackett Novels. But my most favourite L'Amour book of all time is The Walking Drum!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      He didn't write Lonesome Dove dumb ass, that was Larry McMurtry.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      @anonymous: This is correct. Thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Larry McMurtry, not Louis L'Amour, wrote "Lonesome Dove.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      I agree Hondo is great. I also really liked the Lonesome Gods. I just finished reading "Sackett's Land" and "To the Far Blue Mountains" and I haven't enjoyed them as much as some of his others.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Because I live close to Virginia city, Comstock Lode has special meaning to me and ranks right up near the top. But, my favorite character is the Iron Marshal.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Great list! Where would you put Comstock Lode? Did it just miss or would it be further down? I am currently reading it and I love it! This is my third Louis L'Amour novel and your list will heavily influence my next choice. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      The Last of the Breed

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Hello! I've read Sackett and To the Far Blue Mountains, and enjoyed them. But my all time favourite Louis L'amour is Fallon; d'you like it?

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