Best Westerns

Books, that is. Not the hotel chain. A sampling of the best westerns written.
Updated October 2, 2022
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True Grit
Charles Portis
A #1 New York Times bestseller, Charles Portis's True Grit is "an epic and a legend" (Washington Post), a story of danger and adventure in the Old West--the basis for two award-winning films, the first starring John Wayne in his only Oscar-winning role, as...
All the Pretty Horses
Cormac McCarthy
Now a major motion picture from Columbia Pictures starring Matt Damon, produced by Mike Nichols, and directed by Billy Bob Thornton. The national bestseller and the first volume in Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy, All the Pretty Horses is the tale of John Grady Cole, who...
Lonesome Dove
Larry McMurtry
A love story and an epic of the frontier, Lonesome Dove is the grandest novel ever written about the last, defiant wilderness of America. Richly authentic, beautifully written, Lonesome Dove is a book to make readers laugh, weep, dream and remember. Now a blockbuster television event.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Ron Hansen
"Recalls the literature of Americana by John Steinbeck, Erskine Caldwell, Willa Cather, and Hamlin Garland . . . Hansen has broadened our perception of the West in much the same way as the best historians . . . and proven himself one of our finest stylists of American historical fiction." -...
The Quick and the Dead
Louis L'Amour
In 1876 Wyoming, the gun is the only law. Con Vallian knew the best way to stay out of trouble was to mind his own business. Then he stopped for a cup of coffee at a stranger's campfire and found himself guiding the McKaskels, a family of greenhorn Easterners, across the prairie - fighting a pack of...
The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains
Owen Wister
In the thousands of miles of rugged rangeland around Medicine Bow, Wyoming, the only law that rules is the law of the gun. A man has to have an iron jaw and a fast trigger to stay alive. And no one is tougher than the Virginian. A peaceable man by nature, slow to anger and soft-spoken, fair and just...
The Sisters Brothers
Patrick deWitt
No Country for Old Men
Cormac McCarthy
In No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy simultaneously strips down the American crime novel and broadens its concerns to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible and as bloodily contemporary as this morning’s headlines.
James A. Michener
NATIONAL BESTSELLER Written to commemorate the Bicentennial in 1976, James A. Michener's magnificent saga of the West is an enthralling celebration of the frontier. Brimming with the glory of America's past, the story of Colorado--the Centennial State--is manifested through its...
The Son
Philipp Meyer
Philipp Meyer, the acclaimed author of American Rust, returns with The Son: an epic of the American West and a multigenerational saga of power, blood, land, and oil that follows the rise of one unforgettable Texas family, from the Comanche raids of the 1800s to the to the oil booms of the 20th...
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Dee Brown
Doumented account of the decimation of Native Americans in the last half of the 19th century, told from the Indian viewpoint.
The Big Sky
Jr. A. B. Guthrie
From Pulitzer Prize-winning author A. B. Guthrie, Jr., The Big Sky is a classic portrait of America's vast frontier that inspired the Western genre in fiction. The Best Novel of the American West as chosen by members of the Western Literature Association ...
The Ox-Bow Incident
Walter Van Tilburg Clark
Set in 1885, The Ox-Bow Incident is a searing and realistic portrait of frontier life and mob violence in the American West. First published in 1940, it focuses on the lynching of three innocent men and the tragedy that ensues when law and order are abandoned. The result is an emotionally...
The Shootist
Glendon Swarthout
This is an extremely well-written Western and gives the reader vivid insight into the workings of the mind of a wanderer and gunman.?Baton Rouge, Louisiana Sunday Advocate  By the author of The Homesman, now a major motion picture The Shootist...
Blood Meridian
Cormac McCarthy
25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION * From the bestselling author of The Passenger and the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Road: an epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion, brilliantly subverting the conventions of the Western novel and the...
Little House on the Prairie
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Based on the real-life adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie is the third book in the award-winning Little House series, which has captivated generations of readers. This edition features the classic black-and-white artwork from Garth Williams.  Laura Ingalls...
Riders of the Purple Sage
Zane Grey
A gentile sage-rider is about to be whipped by the Mormans to coerce the rich and beautiful Jane Withersteen to marry against her will. In desperation Jane whispers the prayer, "whence cometh my help!" Just then an unlikely hero, the infamous gunfighter, Lassiter routs the persecutors and is drawn...
Jack Schaefer
He rode into our valley in the summer of 89, a slim man, dressed in black. Call me Shane, he said. He never told us more. There was a deadly calm in the valley that summer, a slow, climbing tension that seemed to focus on Shane. There s something about him, Mother said. Something . . ....
The Gunslinger
Stephen King
"An impressive work of mythic magnitude that may turn out to be Stephen King's greatest literary achievement" (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), The Gunslinger is the first volume in the epic Dark Tower Series. A #1 national bestseller, The Gunslinger...
Butcher's Crossing
John Williams
Now a major motion picture starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Gabe Polsky. In his National Book Award-winning novel Augustus, John Williams uncovered the secrets of ancient Rome. With Butcher's Crossing, his fiercely intelligent, beautifully written western,...

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