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The Quick and the Dead by Louis L'Amour
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The Quick and the Dead

by Louis L'Amour

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Louis L'Amour puts the wild in wild west. The Quick and the Dead reads like you're watching a Clint Eastwood western.

The story is simple. Duncan McKaskel is moving his family west when they come across some bad guys. A mysterious lone rider happens upon them and helps them escape and tackle the dangers that come. ( )
  dougcornelius | Dec 3, 2013 |
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 a family of greenhorns across the prairie--fighting a pack of rustlers on one hand and some mighty unpredictable Indians on the other. ( )
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
You’d think with a title like The Quick and The Dead I wouldn’t be surprised by all the dead. The Quick and The Dead was my very first “real” western. It was a nice short book and was supposed to be the proverbial toe in the pool. I came away feeling like someone had come up behind me and shoved me in. And, it wasn’t pleasant.

The Quick and The Dead is a novel about a small family making their first foray into the west, tenderfoots they are called. During all of this they meet up with the main character Con Vallian. Con was the impossibly perfect frontiersman. He doesn’t have many faults and goes around showing everyone how perfect he is and how dumb the supposedly main characters really are. He is the perfect western man and is a gentleman with a bit of education to boot. Swoon worthy, I suppose but, while I liked the character, the way he was written got on my nerves rather quickly.

Louis L'Amour, at least in this novel, was all about telling the story, and very little about showing it. There were only occasional descriptions, just enough to paint a lukewarm picture. I didn't really feel like I was there at all. Though, in the end, that was probably a good thing the novel could have turned out down right gory considering that (in the manner of most horror/thrillers) several characters become The Dead.

My last complaint is the fact that there was a bit of a plot hole in the novel. I'm not used to reading stories with plot holes, as normally I either tend to miss them or forgive them. With this one, though, while there were ways to explain it away he went to such lengths to spell every thing else out for us (sometimes multiple times) that it seemed like simply something he missed instead of something he left unspoken. He also set up a lot of characters for great final face offs and then several of them didn't end up happening. Some might view them as plot twists, I just viewed it as a cop out.

Basically, if you like westerns this might be a cute little deviation for you. If you don't, or only like quality westerns, give this one a pass. Duncan wasn't the only one ready to see Con on his way by the end of this book.

Favorite Quote:

Out here you better have a gun, and a gun in the wagon ain't good for nothin'. I believe what the old Quaker said, 'Trust in the Lord, but keep your powder dry.'" ( )
  exlibrisbitsy | Apr 1, 2010 |
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When Susanna stepped down from the wagon Duncan had the fire going, but he sat staring into the flames, forearms resting on his knees, hands hanging loose.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553280848, Paperback)

When Duncan McKaskel decided to move his family west, he knew he would face dangers, and he was prepared for them. He knew about the exhausting terrain, and he was expecting the punishing elements. What he worried about was having to use violence against other men—men who would follow him and try to steal the riches that he didn’t even possess.

Yet bandits were only part of McKaskel’s worries. For a mysterious stranger, Con Vallian, had appeared one night and saved his life. But was Vallian’s true interest Duncan’s wife, Susanna? And, more important, how did she feel about him?

As they push on into the wilderness, Duncan must discover who is the greater threat—the thieves outside his camp or the enigmatic stranger within.…

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:27 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

When Duncan McKaskel decided to move his family west, he knew he would face dangers, and he was prepared for them. He knew about the exhausting terrain, and he was expecting the punishing elements. What he worried about was having to use vilence against other men--men who would follow him and try to steal the riches that he didn't even possess. Yet bandits were only part of McKaskel's worries. For a mysterious stranger, Con Vallian, had appeared one night and saved his life. But was Vallian's true interest Duncan's wife, Susanna? And, more important, how did she feel about him? As they push on into the wilderness, Duncan must discover who is the greater threat--the thieves outside his camp or the enigmatic stranger within....… (more)

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