Synopses & Reviews
Clay Bell spent the last six years fighting Indians, rustlers, and the wilderness itself to make the B-Bar ranch the prize of the Deep Creek Range. But Jud Devitt, a ruthless speculator from the East, now threatens everything Clay has worked for. Devitt, holding a contract with the Mexican Central to deliver railroad ties, wants to harvest timber off the land where Clay grazes his cattle. Backing Devitt are shady politicians, a dishonest banker, and fifty of the toughest lumberjacks in the county. But as Colleen Riley, Devitts fiancée, realizes the brutal game hes playing, her disapproval of his actions, and Clay Bells obvious integrity and charm, pull her toward a destiny that will tip the scales in their bloody battle over timber and cattle.
About the Author
Louis LAmour is undoubtedly the bestselling frontier novelist of all time. He is the only author in history to receive both the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal in honor of his life's work. He has published ninety novels; twenty-seven short-story collections; two works of nonfiction; a memoir, Education of a Wandering Man; and a volume of poetry, Smoke from This Altar. There are more than 300 million copies of his books in print worldwide.
Reading Group Guide
In 1955, we at Bantam Books published our first Louis LAmour book, Guns of the Timberlands. To celebrate this milestone, pick up your copy today and share the experience of reading LAmour with another. To help foster conversation about the novel, consider the following:
1. Guns of the Timberlands
has running through it many of the frontier challenges that were facing our nation in the mid-1800s: Use of natural resources, land ownership, right vs. might. Discuss these issues with your family.
2. Clay Bell had lived a whole life by the time many of todays youth are just finishing up college. As it says on page twenty-six, “Bell was fightin Comanches when he was fourteen. Then he was in New Orleans a while, doin I dont know what. After that he was a Texas Ranger for two years, and then in the cavalry durin the War Between the States…. After the war he rode with trail herds, hunted buffalo, and prospected in the goldfields.” Talk about the events and part of the country Bell has seen. Highlight the possible experiences of a fourteen-year-old boy 150 years ago as compared to today.
3. Bell offers Colleen Riley this advice (page thirty-four): “You never know a man until you see him lose.” Do you think it is good advice?
4. Law and law enforcement were different on the frontier. As is said about Judge Riley: “He knew the law, and adhered closely to the letter of the law, but since he had come west, he was beginning to feel … it was a purely general application. It was the judge and his sense of justice that gave law its meaning.” (page seventy-one) How do you interpret this? Does it seem true throughout the novel?
5. Life in a frontier town was small. In Tinkerville, Sam Tinker sits on the porch of Tinker Hose, his hotel, and watches what happens around him. How does this give him an insight into the dispute that no one else has? How do his actions drive the story?
6. Near the end of the story there is a fistfight rather than a gunfight. Why do you think that is? How does learning that LAmour was a boxer, among his varied professions, color your answer?