When family is everything.
While growing up, I never watched westerns or any of the old west shows. While some of my peers knew about John Wayne, Audie Murphy, and others, I was more into the contemporary shows of the time. It wasn’t until well into adulthood that I finally saw a John Wayne film, which came after some of the Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti western movies. And I think, the only reason I began watching those was having watched the Dirty Harry series about a San Francisco policeman trying to clean up the city.
**The waiting was well worth it.
As far as reading is concerned, I don’t think I ever touched a western novel until leaving the teaching profession (I think I attempted a couple of times, but readily returned them.). At that time, I was reading Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series (Read them all up until the last couple, about 24 or so.), but also getting interested in more of the non-fiction tomes. Then, one day, as I was looking for something new and different to read, I decided to try Louis L’Amour. I think I tried it in part because I knew my grandfather had been a fan of those Zane Grey novels, but I couldn’t get into them, so I thought to try it this way. And besides, I had recently watched a couple of Louis L’Amour movies, with Tom Selleck, an excellent pick for those stories, and figured it couldn’t hurt to try. You just never know.
**What I missed in my youth I so much appreciated as an adult.
As of today, I’ve probably read about 45 of his books, some twice, a few three times, and I may be getting set to read one a 4th time, it’s so good. I can’t explain it. I just realized, though he writes shorter books, they’re packed with reality, history, but also well-told stories. Admittedly, there are a couple I’ve tried and returned, but that’s always the case with most authors. But the majority I will read again. I only wish he had written longer books.
For this article, I’m sharing “Lonely on the Mountain,” by Louis L’Amour. This is my second or third read, but I am moving through it a couple/three chapters at a time, taking my time. I tend to read three books or more at a time, still working on the Apollo missions to the moon. To some degree, I do that because his books are shorter and I like to stretch them out a bit, sometimes pondering upon the story while out back working in the vegetable garden or down by the lake fishing. Oh, we have both fall/winter gardens going. The first ones have sprouted. We’re growing peas, kale, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. Big potato fan these days. They grow so easily (just cut one up with at least on eye on each and bury them a couple inches deep), but they make for a variety of dishes.
“Lonely on the Mountain is a story about the Sacket clan. In this book, one of the Sackets, Logan I believe, is bringing cattle to be sold but has happened upon difficult times. But hard times means more determination, for once their word is given, they follow through. As such, the brothers/clan are helping: Orrin bringing supplies from one direction and Tyrell and Tell Sacket bringing in the cattle. They enlist help, but even as such, a possibility of Tyrell and Tell dying in a stampede is weighing heavy on Orrin’s heart, but he’s determined, with help and adversity, to recoup the cattle and help Logan out, hoping to find sign that his brothers, Tell and Tyrell survived the stampede. In the Sacket clan, no matter where one is or what might be happening, the others help out. And since Tell and Tyrell were bringing the cattle, the job now falls to Orrin until he finds them or must complete with his hired men.
This last aspect is what’s excellent about the Sacket stories. Doesn’t matter where one is, what has happened, if they discover one of their kin is in trouble, they check it out: no matter how long it takes. No matter what they have to do. And they stand side by side through thick and thin, but always require the others work and do their best.
Louis L’Amour also did a fantastic job of weaving three plots together with the main plot, but also including the lives of others as happens in real life. Orrin is also trying to help a lady he met along the way to find her brother, a man who went west hunting for gold, which was something very common in those days, and there are others attempting to gain through the work of others, making their lives more difficult.
Another aspect I like are the characters are very real, but told without all the extra author opinions we often find slowing down other stories. In other words, the stories move and move quickly, sometimes as we might think in real life.
There are a few characters Louis L’Amour stuck with in his writing. The Sackets was one of them. And he covered their stories through many years, even before America became America, covering some of the real history of our country in these writings. This one is an excellent read.
**Glenn Ford. He I discovered long after John Wayne and Tom Selleck. He has a unique style.
**Often, many of the more classical stories return people to what’s really important in life.