The best books about the Wild West that you’ll ever read

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by the Wild West since I was a little boy, playing Cowboy vs Indian with a plastic six-shooter and bow-and-arrow set. I grew up watching movies and reading books about the Wild West, and probably that sense of adventure and necessary courage required in such settings helped build the foundation that led me to join the Marines. It took guts to move out West. (Or desperation.) But either way, the settling of the Wild West is one of our core American stories. To me, the stories of the West are even more enthralling today than they were even fifty years ago.

I wrote...

Little Man, and the Dixon County War

By Stan R. Mitchell, Danah Mitchell (illustrator),

Book cover of Little Man, and the Dixon County War

What is my book about?

Good vs evil. Right vs wrong. Sometimes, it’s as simple as that. And when a young lawman pins on a badge in the West, he’ll find out why most (honest) lawmen end up dead.

(But if you're still not convinced, there's also loads of action, gunplay, and an abducted woman, who even the U.S. Marshal won't go save.)

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Appaloosa

Stan R. Mitchell Why did I love this book?

This book is the perfect example of a great Western. A stern, courageous lawman, tougher than forged steel. A young sidekick by his side. A beautiful woman in town that everyone wants.

Put those elements onto the page and then throw into it a cruel, evil rancher, who’s already killed the city marshal and one of his deputies. What do you end up with? A kick-ass Western.

By Robert B. Parker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Appaloosa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch arrive in Appaloosa, they find a town suffering at the hands of a renegade rancher who's already left the city marshal and one of his deputies dead. Cole and Hitch are used to cleaning up after scavengers, but this one raises the stakes by playing not with the rules-but with emotion.

Watch a QuickTime trailer for this book.

Book cover of Three-Ten to Yuma and Other Stories

Stan R. Mitchell Why did I love this book?

The thing I love about Three-Ten to Yuma is the under-dog nature of the entire situation. And I also love its brevity. It seems impossible that such a story can be so tight and compact, so crammed full of suspense (the entire plot that the movie is based on is actually a short story). It still boggles the mind and shows the genius that Elmore Leonard was.

By Elmore Leonard,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Three-Ten to Yuma and Other Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times-bestselling Grand Master of suspense deftly displays the other side of his genius, with seven classic western tales of destiny and fatal decision . . . and trust as essential to survival as it is hard-earned.

Trust was rare and precious in the wide-open towns that sprung up like weeds on America's frontier—with hustlers and hucksters arriving in droves by horse, coach, wagon, and rail, and gunmen working both sides of the law, all too eager to end a man's life with a well-placed bullet. In these classic tales that span more than five decades—including the first…

Book cover of Last Stand at Saber River

Stan R. Mitchell Why did I love this book?

This book is such a classic Western plot.

A confederate soldier, Paul Cable, returns from the Civil War to find Union men have taken over his farm. Cable thinks his fighting is over, but he couldn’t be more wrong.

The book is tense and moves quickly. It’s also short, yet packs a punch far above its weight. Highly recommend.

By Elmore Leonard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Last Stand at Saber River as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A nail-biting, tough-talking classic western from the author of GET SHORTY and JACKIE BROWN.

In LAST STAND AT SABER RIVER, a Civil War veteran returns home to find a Yankee's private army living on his land, while another enemy waits to strike...

Paul Cable has fought - and lost - for the Confederacy but when he returns home he finds that his own war is far from over. The Union Army and two brothers - and a beautiful woman - have taken over Cable's spread and are refusing to give it back. But Cable is determined that no one is…

Book cover of Hondo (Louis L'Amour's Lost Treasures)

Stan R. Mitchell Why did I love this book?

This book is a great read by Louis L'Amour, who’s arguably one of the greatest Western writers to ever live.

L'Amour executes the book brilliantly, placing a woman and her six-year-old son in grave danger from some angry, fired-up Apaches, who are on the warpath.

All that stands between them and their safety is one tough man and his dog.

By Louis L'Amour,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hondo (Louis L'Amour's Lost Treasures) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As part of the Louis L’Amour’s Lost Treasures series, this edition contains exclusive bonus materials!

He was etched by the desert’s howling winds, a big, broad-shouldered man who knew the ways of the Apache and the ways of staying alive. She was a woman alone raising a young son on a remote Arizona ranch. And between Hondo Lane and Angie Lowe was the warrior Vittoro, whose people were preparing to rise against the white men. Now the pioneer woman, the gunman, and the Apache warrior are caught in a drama of love, war, and honor.

Louis L’Amour’s Lost Treasures is…

Book cover of Lonesome Dove

Stan R. Mitchell Why did I love this book?

I saved perhaps the best for last. This is an epic story, so grand in scale that it made the list of top 50 books ever written and won a Pulitzer Prize. It’s also one of fewer than five books that almost made me cry. And that’s saying something. The book tells the story of two Texas Rangers, who are just a touch beyond their prime. But not by much. They’ve got more than enough experience to handle anything that comes their way, except for aging and boredom. It’s these two things that they can’t whip, but damn do they try, taking off on one of the most incredible adventures that you can possibly imagine. If you’ve never read Lonesome Dove, then I’d go buy it today. You’ll remember the story thirty years from now.

By Larry McMurtry,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Lonesome Dove as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize winning novel is a powerful, triumphant portrayal of the American West as it really was. From Texas to Montana, it follows cowboys on a grueling cattle drive through the wilderness.

It begins in the office of The Hat Creek Cattle Company of the Rio Grande.
It ends as a journey into the heart of every adventurer who ever lived . . .

More than a love story, more than an adventure, Lonesome Dove is an epic: a monumental novel which embraces the spirit of the last defiant wilderness of America.

Legend and fact, heroes and outlaws,…

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By Laci Barry Post,

Book cover of Songbird

Laci Barry Post Author Of Songbird

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Group fitness instructor Mom of two Travel consultant Hiker

Laci's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

It's 1943, and World War II has gripped the nation, including the Stilwell family in Jacksonville, Alabama. Rationing, bomb drills, patriotism, and a changing South barrage their way of life. Neighboring Fort McClellan has brought the world to their doorstep in the form of young soldiers from all over the country and German POWs from halfway around the globe.

Songbird is an inspirational, historical fiction novel, dealing with family, faith, strong women, and the American home front. It explores many historical elements of the World War II era, such as women's aid groups, the writings of Ernie Pyle, D-day, radio and music of the 1940s, and the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.


By Laci Barry Post,

What is this book about?

When the perils and social changes of World War II confront a small southern town, faith, family, and love sustain the lives of one young woman and her family. Can those left behind endure?

"I'm waiting for my life to begin. Waiting for the train to come in," Ava Stilwell, a young woman eager for life, sings a popular song with the big band that reflects her heart. In the midst of a world at war, Ava finds love, a passion for her music, and new opportunities, but the war still looms over her, threatening to take it all away.…

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Interested in American frontier, cowboys, and the Apache?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about American frontier, cowboys, and the Apache.

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