I have a passion for history, especially the history of my people as they made their way out of Europe and into the West. It’s not always a pretty story, but it is ours to own and understand. I also enjoy the fictional history of our best western novelists. Books like ’Riders of the Purple Sage’, The Sacketts, Shalako, or Hondo – these books define a west that probably never was, but one that should have been.
Perhaps the best – and surely the best known – of these writers is Louis L’Amour. He wrote dozens of novels, many of them roughly following the same plot and similar characters, but done so well that each book left you thirsty for another. Each book was historically and geographically accurate – if he wrote about a stream in the mountains, you knew it was there and the water was good to drink.
Mr. L’Amour died in 1988, but his books live on. He’s still amazingly popular, perhaps one of the most popular writers of all time – there are more than three hundred million copies of his books in print around the world. All of his books have gone through multiple printings. At the time of his death almost all of his 105 existing works (89 novels, 14 short-story collections, and two full-length works of nonfiction) were still in print.
His son Beau is a writer in his own right, as well as a filmmaker, art director, and editor. Beau honored his father by assembling a collection of unpublished works, called LOUIS L’AMOUR’S LOST TREASURES. It was well received, so much that he prepared Volume 2 of Lost Treasures, which went on sale in November 2019.
Beau shows us how and why many of his father’s manuscripts were written—and gives us a glimpse into the plans his father had in store for them, using notes, journal entries, and letters. With rare photographs and commentary, these books map the journey L’Amour took to become one of our greatest storytellers. He’s a true American pioneer.
I’m Len Wilcox and that’s the Western View from AgNet West and Citrus Industry Magazine. Visit us on the web at www.citrusindustry.net.
About the Author
Len Wilcox is a retired scientist who also ran a newspaper and has written for agricultural publications since the 1980s. He was a regular contributor to California Farmer Magazine. His commentary “The Western View” is a regular feature on Farm City Newsday and AgNet West.