The best westerns where friendships drive the story

James D. Best Author Of The Shopkeeper
By James D. Best

The Books I Picked & Why

Lonesome Dove

By Larry McMurtry

Book cover of Lonesome Dove

Why this book?

Westerns are often about a lone hero or antihero who rides into town and saves the day before riding off into the sunset. Lonesome Dove shows that a traditional western can be about relationships. Loads of variations are possible when the story is about characters tied together fighting off the bad guys. This is especially true for a multi-book saga. The West was wild, and security often depended on surrounding yourself with others you knew you could trust in a fight. 


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Appaloosa

By Robert B. Parker

Book cover of Appaloosa

Why this book?

Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch are a great pair of Old West lawmen. They not only have the skills to defeat bad guys, but their relationship also adds a new dimension to the traditional western. The engaging dialogue between the two lawmen connects with the reader. You want them to win, and you want them to stay friends.


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The Daybreakers/Sackett

By Louis L'Amour

Book cover of The Daybreakers/Sackett

Why this book?

The Sacketts series is a classic western saga and this first book tells the story of two brothers bound by more than blood. A good buddy yarn works best when the protagonists are very different. The reader must also want all of these different characters to succeed. Orrin and Tyrel are an unusual and unbreakable team.


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The Sisters Brothers

By Patrick DeWitt

Book cover of The Sisters Brothers

Why this book?

In The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt pulls off the difficult task of making hired killers captivating. The sibling antiheroes go on a journey across the western landscape while contemplating their inner selves. In many ways weird, The Sisters Brothers ties a sometimes sad story together in a neat package. The book is a fascinating take on the traditional western.  


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True Grit

By Charles Portis

Book cover of True Grit

Why this book?

Buddies in the Old West are not a male-only club. Nor do they need to be age similar. True Grit proves both of these points. Rooster Cogburn is an aging U.S. Marshal hired by Mattie Ross, a fourteen-year-old girl. Mattie insists Rooster finds her father’s murderers. Two more different characters are hard to imagine, but the trail melds the two into a Yin and Yang dual that can accomplish the impossible.


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