by John (John Edward) Williams

Reviewer Rating:


Seeking adventure and wilderness, Will Andrews, a New England tenderfoot sets out West with a stack of money and the name of a family friend located the small Kansas town of Butcher’s Crossing.  The town serves as hub for buffalo hunters who are looking to get rich off the hides of the increasingly depleted herds.  Andrews quickly falls in with a hunter by the name of Miller and his sidekick, Charley, who for a decade has been plotting an epic hunt into a remote, abundant valley in the Colorado Rockies he once stumpled upon.  Fraught with known and unknown danger, the party sets out across the plains and into mountains hoping to return with their fortune.

Written in brilliant prose and with depth in both the characters and setting, I enjoyed Butcher’s Crossing more than I ever expected from a Western.  I’d found the title on a whim searching “literary westerns” only to learn that Williams spent 30 years in the University of Denver’s Creative Writing program and won the National Book Award for his later novel, Augustus.  For good reason, his work has received newfound excitement in recent years and Butcher’s Crossing is an excellent place to see his mastery on display.

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