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Louis L'Amour (March 22, 1908 – June 10, 1988) was an American author of primarily Western fiction.

Louis at 3 years old

He was born Louis Dearborn LaMoore of French-Canadian background March 22, 1908 in Jamestown, North Dakota. L'Amour's books remain enormously popular, and most have gone through multiple printings.


Louis Dearborn L'Amour was not only the West's best-selling storyteller, he was the consummate Western man, a pattern for the white-hatted heros he wrote about. Hard-working and soft-spoken, he was proud of his accomplishments, although often shy in his remembrances. L'Amour elevated himself by boot straps, and in the process left footprints that few writers will be able to fill.

Luck had nothing to do with his successes, he said not long before his death in June 1988. "Nor have I had any connections or breaks that I did not create for myself." The work ethic was instilled in L'Amour as a child by his parents in Jamestown, North Dakota. His father, a veterinarian and farm machinery salesman, was involved in local politics. Young Louie 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, an Englishman who had written of wars through the nineteenth century. L'Amour said "it enabled me to go into school with a great deal of knowledge that even my teachers didn't have about wars and politics."

Louis at 12 years old

His self-education resulted in academic boredom, so he left school and Jamestown at 15 after completing the tenth grade.

By hitchhiking and riding the rails, he arrived in Oklahoma City 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 79-year-old wrangler, raised by the Apaches, who taught young Louie 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 met Judge Cole in Ruidoso and became acquainted with some thirty former gunfighters, rangers, and outlaws in the area.

L'Amour continued as an itinerant worker, traveling the world as a merchant seaman until the start of World War II.

During the 1930s he began to sell stories to pulp magazines.


Louis L'Amour 1945, Germany

After serving in WWII, he continued to write stories for magazines. In the 1950s, he began to sell novels. He eventually wrote more than 100 novels, selling more than 225 million copies that were translated into dozens of languages.

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, there 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.

At one point during his life Louie was a lion tamer.

Camping in the early 1950's near Aurora, Nevada.

Many criticize the Western genre, but L'Amour considered himself "just a storyteller, a guy with a seat by the campfire," and at least once related that after he died, he only wanted to be remembered as a good storyteller. Given the fantastic success of his writings, this fate seems secure.

When interviewed not long before his death, he was asked which among his legion of books had he liked best. His reply was, "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."

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

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

Louis L'Amour Non-Series Novels

Bendigo Schafter
The Broken Gun
The Burning Hills
The Californios
The Cherokee Trail
Comstock Lode
Crossfire Trail
Dark Canyon
Down The Long Hills
The Empty Land
The First Fast Draw
Guns of the Timberlands
Hanging Woman Creek
The Haunted Mesa
Heller With a Gun
The High Graders
High Lonesome
Hondo Legacy Edition
How the West Was Won
The Iron Marshal
Key-Lock Man
Kid Rodelo
Kiowa Trail
Last of the Breed
Last Stand at Papago Wells
Lonesome Gods
A Man Called Noon
The Man from Skibbereen
Passin' Through
The Proving Trail
The Quick and the Dead
Reilly's Luck
The Shadow Riders
Showdown at Yellow Butte
Silver Canyon
Son of a Wanted Man
The Tall Stranger
To Tame a Land
Under the Sweetwater Rim
Utah Blaine
The Walking Drum
Westward the Tide
Where the Long Grass Blows

The Sackett Novels ~ In recommended reading order.

Sackett’s Land
To the Far Blue Mountains
The Warrior’s Path
Jubal Sackett
Ride the River
The Daybreakers
Mojave Crossing
The Sackett Brand
The Skyliners
The Lonely Men
Mustang Man
Treasure Mountain
Ride the Dark Trail
Lonely on the Mountain
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 2 other novels:

Bendigo Schafter (Ethan Sackett)
Dark Canyon (Tell Sackett)

The novels trace much of the history of family through individual members of the family as they move across the Atlantic from England, settle in the Appalachians, and then move west to the Great Plains, the Rockies, and California. Unlike novels by such writers as James A. Michener, these stories do not trace the rise and fall of the fortunes of a clan or extended family, but simply tie together significant and minor characters in various of the western novels.

L'Amour's Sackett family originates in The Fens of Cambridgeshire in East Anglia. The patriarch of the family, Barnabas Sackett, becomes a merchant captain and eventually settles with his wife Abigail (nee Tempany) in what will become the borderlands of North Carolina and Tennessee. The family quickly divides into three clans, sired by several of their sons: the "Clinch Mountain Sacketts", "the Cumberland Hills Sacketts", and the "Flatlands Sacketts." It is the Cumberland Hills Sacketts that produce some of L'Amour's most memorable and beloved characters, including William Tell "Tell" Sackett and his brothers Tyrel and Orrin, of the novel "Sackett" (see below) and others.Orrin was a lawyer,and Tyrel became a respected rancher and lawman, often simply known as the "Mora Gunfighter" after the town he settled in.

The main theme that runs through most of the Sackett books is that of loyalty to the family and helping the family when beset by foes. "When you step on the toes of one Sackett,they all come running." The deadly Sackett-Higgins feud in Tennessee lasted years.

The Clinch Mountain boys tend to be rougher. The twins, Nolan and Logan have hired out their guns, held up a stage or two, but are decent men. Logan came to the aid of Emily Talon, herself a Sackett by birth, in Colorado.

Two other families whose members L'Amour wrote about, and whose families have rubbed shoulders at different times over the three centuries his novels cover, are the Chantry and Talon families, with Borden Chantry and Milo Talon being contemporaries of Tell Sackett.

Characters In The Mainstream Sackett Novels

Barnabas Sackett- The founding member of the Sackett clan. Travels to the New World to escape the warrant of the Queen. Killed by Seneca Indians.

Kin Ring Sackett- First son of Barnabas Sackett, born on a buffalo robe in the heat of battle. First Sackett born in the New World. Married Diana Macklin from Cape Ann.

Yance Sackett- Second son of Barnabas Sackett. Best known for his quick temper and strength and willingness of action. Founder of Clinch Mountain Branch of Sacketts. Married a girl named Temperence Penney from Cape Ann.

Jubalain Sackett (Jubal)- Third Son of Barnabas Sackett. He was the first Sackett to cross the mountains and see the plains. Known as the quiet one, he is a ghost in the woods. Spends much time away from home and eventually quits the hills of North Carolina for the Rocky Mountians. Marries an Indian princess.

Echo Sackett- Only female member of the Sackett clan to narrate a story. Aunt of Tell, Orrin and Tyrel.

Willaim Tell Sackett (Tell)- Oldest son of Colburn Sackett ("Ride the Dark Trail" section of "The Sackett Companion"). Fought for the Union in the War Between the States. Quiet man that likes to be left alone; it takes much to anger Tell, but he will fight if pushed.

Tyrel Sackett- Third son of Colburn Sackett. Known as the "mean one" or the "black sheep". Quick with a gun and thinks things through. Marries the daughter of a rich Spanish don.

Orrin Sackett- Second son of Colburn Sackett. Likes people and tries to see the best of them. Believes that most people like him, however he can be a bit niave at times.

Logan Sackett- Twin brother of Nolan Sackett. Comes from the Clinch Mountain branch of Sacketts. A bit rougher than Tell or Tyrel, he is nonetheless a decent man. Comes to the aid of his aunt, Emily Talon.

Nolan Sackett- Twin Brother of Logan Sackett. Comes from the Clinch Mountain Branch of Sacketts. Like his brother, he is rough generally, but has a sense of right and wrong. Wears two six-shooters.

Orlando Sackett (Lando)- Son of Falcon Sackett. One of the last Sacketts to move west. Spents six years in a Mexican prison. Becomes a well-known fist-fighter and boxer.

Falcon Sackett- Father of Orlando Sackett. Formerly captain of a ship. Finds a lost treasure of great value and runs for over five years to avoid capture.

Flagan Sackett- Brother of Galloway Sackett. One of the younger Sacketts. Has a strong will to survive. Rarely found far from his brother.

Galloway Sackett- Brother of Flagan Sackett. Tall and handsome, nearly fearless in the face of danger. Known to brace danger and live.

The real Sackett family originated in England in the Isle of Thanet, Kent, probably at Sackett's Hill in the parish of St Peter's. The earliest record is that of William Saket of Southborough, St Peter in Thanet, who, in 1317, was in a legal dispute with the Abbot of St Augustine.

The Sacketts were among the first colonists of America, with Simon Sackett arriving at the Massachusetts Bay Colony just a few months after the Winthrop Fleet of 1630, and John Sackett, possibly a nephew of Simon, arriving in New Haven sometime before 1641.

The Talon and Chantry Novels

Borden Chantry
Fair Blows the Wind
The Ferguson Rifle
The Man from the Broken Hills
Milo Talon
North to the Rails
Over on the Dry Side
Rivers West

The Kilkenny novels

The Mountain Valley War
The Rider of Lost Creek

The Hopalong Cassidy Novels

Originally published pseudonymously as "Tex Brisco".

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

Hopalong Cassidy is a fictional cowboy-hero, created in 1904 by Clarence E. Mulford and appearing in a series of popular stories and novels. In print, the character appears as a rude, rough-talking 'galoot'. Beginning in 1935, the character, played by William Boyd was transformed into the clean-cut hero of a series of 66 immensely popular films, only a few of which were based on Mulford's works. Mulford actually rewrote his earlier stories to fit the movie conception, and these led in turn to a comic book series modeled after the films.

As portrayed on the screen, the white-haired Bill "Hopalong" Cassidy was usually clad strikingly in black. He was reserved and well spoken, with a fine sense of fair play. He was often called upon to intercede when dishonest characters were taking advantage of honest citizens. "Hoppy" usually traveled through the west with two companions: one young and trouble-prone with a weakness for damsels in distress, the other comically awkward and outspoken.

The juvenile lead was played by James Ellison, Russell Hayden, or Rand Brooks. Gabby Hayes originally played Cassidy's grizzled sidekick Windy Halliday. After Hayes left the series due to a salary dispute with producer Harry Sherman, he was replaced by comedian Britt Wood as Speedy McGinnis, and finally by veteran movie comedian Andy Clyde as California Carlson. Clyde, the most durable of the sidekicks, remained with the series until it ended.

The Hopalong Cassidy pictures were filmed not by movie studios, but by independent producers who released the films through the studios. Most of the "Hoppies," as the films were known, were distributed by Paramount Pictures to highly favorable returns, and were noted for their fast action and excellent outdoor photography (usually by Russell Harlan). Harry Sherman was anxious to make more ambitious movies and tried to cancel the Cassidy series, but popular demand forced Sherman to go back into production, this time for United Artists release. Sherman gave up the series once and for all in 1944, but star William Boyd wanted to keep it going. To do this, he gambled his entire future on Hopalong Cassidy, mortgaging virtually everything he owned to buy both the character rights from Mulford and the backlog of movies from Sherman.

Boyd resumed production himself in 1946, on lower budgets, and continued through 1948, when "B" westerns in general were being phased out. Boyd thought that Hopalong Cassidy might have a future in television, and approached the fledgling NBC television network to use the old films. The initial broadcasts were so successful that NBC couldn't wait for a TV series to be produced, and simply re-edited the old feature films down to broadcast length. Boyd, who owned the TV rights to his films, was paid $250,000. [1] On June 24, 1949, Hoppy became the first network Western television series.

The TV exposure started a huge merchandising boom, and Boyd made millions in licensing and endorsement deals. The Mutual Broadcasting System began broadcasting a radio version of Hopalong Cassidy, with Andy Clyde as the sidekick, in January 1950; at the end of September, the show moved to CBS Radio, where it ran into 1952.[1] Also in 1950, Hopalong Cassidy was featured on the first lunch box to bear an image, causing sales for Aladdin Industries to jump from 50,000 units sold the previous year to 600,000 units sold. Hopalong Cassidy also appeared on the cover of national magazines, such as Look, Life and Time. In stores, there was a line of Hopalong Cassidy children's dinnerware, as well as Hopalong Cassidy roller skates, Hopalong Cassidy soap, Hopalong Cassidy wristwatches, and Hopalong Cassidy jackknives.[2] There was also a new demand for Hopalong Cassidy features in movie theaters, and Boyd licensed reissue distributor Film Classics to make new film prints and advertising accessories. Another 1950 enterprise saw the home-movie company Castle Films manufacturing condensed versions of the Paramounts for 16mm and 8mm projectors; they were sold through 1966.

Boyd began work on a separate series of half-hour westerns made especially for television. Edgar Buchanan was the new sidekick, Red Connors. The theme music for the TV show was written by veteran songwriters Nacio Herb Brown (music) and L. Wolfe Gilbert (lyrics). The show ranked number 7 in the 1949 Nielsen ratings. The success of the show and tie-ins inspired several juvenile TV Westerns, including The Gene Autry Show and The Roy Rogers Show.

Boyd's company devoted to Hopalong Cassidy (U. S. Television Office) is still active and has released many of the features to DVD, many of them in sparkling prints prepared by Film Classics.

Louis L'Amour wrote a handful of Hopalong Cassidy novels, which are still in print. In 2005, author Susie Coffman published Follow Your Stars, containing new stories starring the character. In three of these stories, Coffman has written the wife of actor William Boyd into the stories.

Collections Of Short Stories

Beyond the Great Snow Mountains
Bowdrie's Law
Buckskin Run
Collected Short Stories Frontier Vol I
Collected Short Stories Frontier Vol II
Collected Short Stories Frontier Vol III
Collected Short Stories Adventure Vol IV
Dutchman's Flat
End of the Drive
From the Listening Hills
Hills of Homicide
Law of the Desert Born
Long Ride Home
May There Be a Road
Monument Rock
Night Over the Solomons
Off the Mangrove Coast
The Outlaws of Mesquite
The Rider of the Ruby Hills
Riding for the Brand
The Strong Shall Live
The Trail to Crazy Man
Valley of the Sun
War Party
West From Singapore
West of Dodge
With These Hands

His Non-Fiction Books

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

His Poetry

Smoke From This Altar

Compilations Together With Other Authors

The Golden West

Louis L'Amour Film Adaptations

1960: Heller in Pink Tights adapted from Heller With a Gun. Directed by George Cukor. Starred Anthony Quinn and Sophia Loren.


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