by Louis L'Amour

Reviewer Rating:


In the "About the Author" blurb, L'Amour is quoted as wanting to be remembered as a storyteller, sitting around the campfire weaving his tales. If The Sackett Brand is any indicator, L'Amour is indeed a good storyteller.

Tell Sackett and his wife, Ange, have traveled to Arizona to set up home and start their life together. But while scouting ahead, Tell is ambushed and shot. Battered and bruised, he makes his way back to his wagon, only to find it and Ange gone, with no trace that they were ever there. He soon realizes that he is being hunted by over forty men with orders to kill on sight. Desperate, wounded and alone in the mesas of Apache country, Tell tries to uncover the truth of who's trying to kill him and what happened to his wife.

L'Amour's descriptions of the wilderness northeast of Phoenix are vivid and grounded in reality. His first-person protagonist, Tell, is self-effacing but gritty to the core and just doesn't know how to quit. His journey of discovery and survival against all odds, reminded me of one of the few western movies I love, Silverado. The only fault I have with the book is that L'Amour is often oddly repetitive in his writing - reusing the same phrases, or very slight variations, several times over. In a longer book it might not stand out, but in a brief 150 pages, it's glaring. One of the instances involves Tell reflecting on his "Injun"-like skills, always clarifying that it was not because he had "Injun blood". Even though I tried to take the language in stride with the perspectives of the time, the need to call this out repeatedly seemed out of place.

Overall, an entertaining foray in to the Western genre. I probably won't add too many to my reading list, but at least now I know what all the fuss is about for those that do enjoy them.


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