Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Louis L'Amour's Rivers West

Rivers West was in the 51st printing, if I understand it correctly, a Bantam Book paperback. It starts out in the Eastern U.S. in Maine where Jean Daniel Talon comes upon a wounded man in the woods on his journey to Pittsburgh to find work as a shipwright. As he travels along, he picks up friends and enemies and a beautiful woman, some may be connected with the injured man, a soldier carrying a message, who dies after being found by Talon, and some are hired to kill Mister Talon. It all boils around a feller named Torville who is planning to take over the lands bought by the Louisiana Purchase, at least that's what Talon has learned, and the pretty female is in grave danger unbeknownst to her. Jean Daniel's new traveling companion is a man named "Jambe de Bois" a former sea-going pirate or sailor of some sort who's tagging along for some unknown reason and has a wooden leg.

Being a shipwright and handling all that heavy wood has made Jean Daniel a very sturdy-built feller who just happens to know how to fight or box, with a knife or gun or sword, traits he has learned in his earlier life in Canada and his travels there.  Jambe de Bois and Talon land in St. Louis after some attempts on their lives, and another gent named Butlin has joined up with them. He tells Choteaux his problems and the pretty girl buys a sternwheel boat with a serpent on the prow to take her West to find her long lost brother. The boat is captained by the infamous Torville under the name of Colonel (or Captain) Macklem. Talon, Jambe de Bois, Butlin, and another gent named McQuarrie make plans to capture the boat and the big fight is on.

This isn't exactly a western story, although everyone is heading in that direction, but it takes place in the times when people are heading west to get the free land they've heard about. These characters only get as far as the Missouri River before it ends. It is another good story by the "foremost storyteller of the authentic West, L'Amour" it says on the back cover and I found it to be interesting and fun, even if it had some violence. Only 151 pages, it was a fairly fast read for me while waiting in the car for the "boss lady."


  1. I certainly read this but don't remember a lot about it. I liked some of his historicals, as opposed to his westerns, but this one wasn't as memorable to me