Sunday, January 24, 2010

Books of the West - 9

A novel of the Texas cowboys is The Day the Cowboys Quit by Elmer Kelton, Copyright1972 by Mr. Kelton, and published by Doubleday and Co., Inc., in hardback. It's a story of the cowboy strike in 1883 in the Texas panhandle and the confrontation between the old ways and the new ways of doing things with the fencing of the open spaces and restrictions placed on the old-time cowboy. The old-timers had to change their ways of doing things and some just plain wouldn't do it, preferring the old ways.

The novel starts off with an argument over a branding question on one cow, and ends up with big prairie fire that looks like it will put a rancher out of business, a settlement of a debt in the eyes of the man who set the fire. But there was no stopping the advance of modern ways.

I don't know exactly where this novel falls in the late Mr. Kelton's list of works, but it looks like it would be somewhere in the middle of his very productive life as a writer.  I liked this book, but I like all his books, even the ones I haven't read yet, because I know they will be well-written, interesting, and reflect the cowboy life and life in the West. As they say, "He 'brang' the West to the readers."

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