Thursday, December 10, 2009

Books of the West - 4

Now is a geat time to order my novel, The Stranger from the Valley, for Christmas presents from,, Barnes and Noble ( or the e-book from A side note about the Nook e-reader of Barnes and Noble. If I had ordered it yesterday when I made a trip there, the rep said I would have it in January. He said it has sold out several times and they had none on hand. I can see why it is becoming so popular, being only about 5"x7" size and easy to manipulate. Books for it sell for $9.99, or there are plenty of free ones in the public domain. Cost was $259, a little high for me at this time.

The book of the West today is Jim Beckwourth, Black Mountain Man and War Chief of the Crows, by Elinor Wilson, copyright 1972 and published by the University of Oklahoma Press.

The picture of Beckwourth at the beginning of the book in a long coat and I guess you could call it a cravat or bow tie doesn't make him look particularly different from other pictures of Indians I've seen. His  black hair hangs down over his ears but no farther and he appears relaxed with one arm resting on a cushion or table and the other on the arm of the chair with legs crossed. But, what catches the eye is the set of his mouth and the sharp black eyes staring at the camera, and the big knife sticking out of the sheath across his mid-section over his buckskin (?) trousers. He doesn't look too happy to be posing for his picture.

He was one of those historical figures you never hear much about, but was an important pioneer, mountain man working for Ashley and the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, and contemporary of some of the most famous characters of the time, like Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, Jedediah Smith, and Thomas Fitzpatrick.

Elinor Wilson does a creditable job telling his story and how he became a Chief of the Crows. Beckwourth had many exciting adventures well researched by the author to lay out his story in a very readable book. Well worth your time, if you haven't already read it.


  1. I will order during my next big Amazon shipment. I probably won't be able to read for a couple months but I certainly will be looking forward to it.

  2. David, I noticed there is a free version of Beckwourth by a different author posted on the site, which I haven't read and don't have. It's under the Directory of Western Authors.