I’ve been using this forum to introduce myself, and hopefully you, to new movies and new books, and I’ve enjoyed the journey. But sometimes, it’s good to go back to old Western favorites, and for me, that usually means Louis L’Amour.
I have the complete Louis L’Amour leatherette collection, which I love. Last week, it felt like a good time to go back and pick up a Louis, so I walked into my office, closed my eyes, reached into the collection and came away with “The Cherokee Trail.” I then picked up my pipe, climbed into my hammock and started to read. Just a couple of pages into it, I was completely caught up and couldn’t put it down. High praise indeed and a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
There’s a great passage in the book, equally valuable for those of us who read and those of us who write.
“If one has a book, Mr. Boone, one is never alone. They will talk to you when you want to listen, and when you tire of what they are saying, you just close the book. It will be waiting for you when you come back to it.”
L’Amour wrote books I enjoy coming back to. They speak to me every time. His books are well-written, crisp, easy reads. In most cases, they are predictable, and in almost all cases, they are enjoyable. As a L’Amour book, “The Cherokee Trail” is middle of the road, though it is highlighted by one of the strongest female characters L’Amour wrote about.
A woman, alone except for her young daughter, takes over a stage stop, maybe the worst on the line. She is haunted and chased by her past, and chooses to stand alone against those who would see her killed. She makes friends along the way, but right up until the end, she chooses to never ask for help and instead fights her own battles — proving to herself, to those she meets and to us the readers that she is at least as capable, if not more so, than any man.