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The Brave Cowboy: A Book Review

Updated on December 22, 2011

The Brave Cowboy by Edward Abbey. Avon Books written 1956, 297 pages. It takes place in the 1950s.

This is the first book I’ve read by Edward Abby, and didn’t care for the title. The book is about a cowboy, John W. Burns, called Jack. Burns is a cowboy out of time. He is an anachronism. He wants to herd cows and live without restraints.

The Sections

The book is divided into four sections; the cowboy, the prisoner, the sheriff and a short section called the stranger. The cowboy introduces to Burns and gives his view of life, the prisoner concerns Burns and Paul Bondi, who is in jail for not registering for the military draft. The sheriff is Morlin Johnson. The stranger is a few pages at the end the story.

The Plot

Burns rides out of the mountains when he reads an old friend, Paul Bondi, is in jail for not registering for the draft. Burns rides into town, gets drunk, and in a fight in order to be thrown into jail.

Bondi is somewhat of a philosopher, and gives view of the fifties that people are losing their freedom to the government and the constant fear of a nuclear war. These comments are interesting in the modern world.

Lonely Are The Brave

The book was made into an excellent movie in 1962 called Lonely Are The Brave. Kirk Douglas played Burns and Walter Matthau was the sheriff. Douglas considers it one of his best movies.

Edward Abbey was an individualist and his novels portray that. The Brave Cowboy is a modern western at the time the old west has passed and Burns is trying to hold onto what is left of the era.

Regardless of the title, the book is worth reading, and the movie is worth viewing. I highly recommend both.


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    • heanders profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from USA

      Thank you for the complement.

      Both the book and movie are good.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      5 years ago from Wales

      This sounds brilliant and I keep my eyes peeled.

      A great review and here's to so many more.



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