Louis L'Amour,
To Tame a Land
(Fawcett, 1955)

I still remember the first time I read this one, some 35 years ago, and I came to the twist at the end.

To Tame a Land was always one of my favorite Louis L'Amour novels. It has a lot going for it, particularly a structure unlike most L'Amour books. There's no singular villain, no overriding goal for our hero to strive toward. Rye Tyler begins the book as a boy, riding with his father in a wagon train, when they're left behind with a broken wheel in Indian country. He rode for a while with a man who took him in when he had no one, and who taught him the ways of the West. He settled down a time or two, and he traveled the country, punching cows, playing cards, breaking horses and taming towns as opportunities presented themselves. He met good men along the way, and bad men, too. And he met a girl.

Rye Tyler drifted through life, doing whatever suited him at the time. He tried to do the right thing when he could, and he killed men when he had to. Then, someone took the girl he loved from him, and he set out to bring her back.

And in the last few pages of this book, everything changed.

This book reminds me, I always did intend to read a little Plutarch....

book review by
Tom Knapp

24 September 2016

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