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Bendigo Shafter (1979)

by Louis L'Amour

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771929,434 (4.17)22
Fiction. Western. Thriller. Historical Fiction. At what point does a group of strangers become a community? When young Bendigo Shafter and a ragtag bunch of travelers settle in the rugged Wyoming mountains, they quickly come to depend on a toughness and wisdom many of them never knew they possessed. Led by the beautiful and resourceful widow Ruth Macken, the settlers battle harsh winters, renegade opportunists, and the destructive lure of gold. Through these brutally demanding experiences, young Bendigo is forged into a man. But when he travels to New York to reclaim the love of Ninon, his childhood sweetheart, Bendigo is faced with new challenges. Will hard-edged instincts, honed from years in the mountains, serve him in the big city? Does Ninon's heart belong to the lights and glamour of the theater? And if his destiny deems it so, will he be willing to leave the community he toiled so long and hard to build?… (more)
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» See also 22 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Romance
  BooksInMirror | Feb 19, 2024 |
I forgot how much I like LL's stories of the old west. ( )
  therestlessmouse | Mar 25, 2023 |
Nice long western. A fun read. ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
Travelers headed west with a wagon train stop and form a tiny settlement on the plains. A teenager, but a man grown, Bendigo Shafter recounts his experience in helping create a town with a solid foundation. From its roots to the end of the trail, weak and strong stand together against through blizzards, outlaw raids and invasions of hell-fire and brimstone spouting preachers.

One of my favorite L'Amour books, I always find something new to take away. ( )
  SunnySD | Dec 14, 2012 |
Not your typical good guy vs bad buy shoot 'em up western from L'Amour. This is a little more thoughtful & told in the first person, from our hero's POV. Bendigo journey's west with his older brother & his family. They set up a new town in the wilderness. L'Amour hits some of the high points of what that entails & makes you think a bit about how hard it was for them.Bendigo is a little to good to be true (typical hero) but it's a fun read. There's plenty of action, but not a lot of slap-leather, get-out-of-town-by-noon stuff. Hunting for lost people in the snow, hunting for food, keeping out some riff-raff & even a glimpse of NYC during that time.The only downside to the book is the philosophizing that Bendigo constantly shares with us. It actually wasn't bad reading as a teenager since it is idealistic & appealed to me at the time. Now, it's a little too trite & too much. Still, a very good book. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Sep 25, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
[A]s I re-read Bendigo Shafter the other night, I realized just how formative Louis L’Amour has been to my world view. Not in the throw-away plots and impossible characters, but in the landscapes (L’Amour was a careful researcher) and in the sense of justice, and in the love of reading and learning that nearly all his protagonists share.
 
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Dedication
To the hard-shelled men who built with nerve and hand that which the soft-bellied latecomers call the "western myth."
First words
Where the wagons stopped we built our homes, making the cabins tight against the winter's coming.
Quotations
A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner, so if one’s life is cold and bare he can blame none but himself. You have a chance to select from some pretty elegant furnishings.
I had been given certain flesh and certain brains susceptible of shaping, and the shaping was mine to do. Of course, I would be influenced by heredity, by the world in which I lived, and by the contacts, abrasive or otherwise, but still and all, the shaping was in my hands.
What kind of man was I to be? What sort of thing must I do to become that man?
…that strangeness of returning, for the secret is what Shakespeare said, that no traveler returns. He is always a little changed, a little different, and wistful and longing for what has been lost.
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Fiction. Western. Thriller. Historical Fiction. At what point does a group of strangers become a community? When young Bendigo Shafter and a ragtag bunch of travelers settle in the rugged Wyoming mountains, they quickly come to depend on a toughness and wisdom many of them never knew they possessed. Led by the beautiful and resourceful widow Ruth Macken, the settlers battle harsh winters, renegade opportunists, and the destructive lure of gold. Through these brutally demanding experiences, young Bendigo is forged into a man. But when he travels to New York to reclaim the love of Ninon, his childhood sweetheart, Bendigo is faced with new challenges. Will hard-edged instincts, honed from years in the mountains, serve him in the big city? Does Ninon's heart belong to the lights and glamour of the theater? And if his destiny deems it so, will he be willing to leave the community he toiled so long and hard to build?

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