Last Go Round: A Real Western

Last Go Round: A Real Western

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by Ken Kesey, Ken Babbs
     
 

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It was around a sagebrush campfire in eastern Oregon that Kesey first heard the tale from his father - about the legendary "last go round" that took place at the original Pendleton Round Up in 1911.

Hundreds of riders were competing for the first World Championship Broncbusting title, but it was one special trio of buckeroos that provided the drama: a

Overview

It was around a sagebrush campfire in eastern Oregon that Kesey first heard the tale from his father - about the legendary "last go round" that took place at the original Pendleton Round Up in 1911.

Hundreds of riders were competing for the first World Championship Broncbusting title, but it was one special trio of buckeroos that provided the drama: a popular black cowboy, George Fletcher; a Nez Perce Indian cowboy, Jackson Sundown; and a fresh-faced kid from Tennessee name of Johnathan E. Lee Spain. Who would walk away with the prize money and the silver-studded saddle? When the dust cleared, everyone knew they'd witnessed something extraordinary.

Kesey has journeyed back into Oregon history to reclaim this long-remembered moment, beefed up the bare bones of fact, and whipped them into a full-blown rip-snorting Tale of the True West. Sixteen pages of rare Round Up photographs provide graphic testimony of the time. The tiny town of Pendleton is swollen to bursting that memorable weekend and bristling with colorful characters like Buffalo Bill Cody, wrestler Frank "The Cruel Crusher" Gotch, cowgirl Prairie Rose Henderson, and a formidable medicine man named Parson Montanic. From the teepees along the river to the teeming saloons on Main Street, Round Up fever blazes like a prairie fire. This story of love, sweat, and horseflesh is a unique Western, wild and wooly and full of fleas. Let 'er buck!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The year is 1911, the occasion is the Pendleton, Oregon, Round-Up, and the cast of characters in Kesey's weak new novel (after Sailor Song ) mixes historical and imagined personages in a manner less reminiscent of E. L. Doctorow than of Jack Higgins. In this homage to a vanished genre of pulp fiction, young Tennessean Jonathan E. Lee Spain is on his way to Pendleton with his trusty horse, Stonewall, when he meets Jackson Sundown, a Nez Perce of few words, and George Fletcher, a dapper and wildly talented black cowboy. Sundown and Fletcher are the world's top bronc-riders; falling in with them, Spain is given a view of life on the rodeo circuit as experienced by its most talented but ultimately disenfranchised participants. A heavy-drinking Buffalo Bill Cody and his evil sidekick Frank Gotch, the world-champion wrestler whose body and mind mysteriously ran amok after a trip to Mexico, are the story's chief villains, but con men and cheats are not hard to come by in the high-stakes world of show-biz rodeo. Told via flashback by a much older and wiser Spain, who has since lost a hand in the ring, Kesey's tale portrays rodeo as a show mounted at the cost of both human and animal life. But in the end, his overall comic treatment of this and other tragic themes does not ring true. Despite a wealth of historical information, this latest from the Merry Prankster and his collaborator Babbs ( On the Bus ) is a hodgepodge affair, ill-conceived and poorly crafted. But the 16-page photo insert, featuring the novel's real-life players, might be enough to draw aficionados to the book. (July)
Library Journal
Kesey first heard the story of Oregon's 1911 "Pendleton Round-Up" from his father while sitting around a campfire during his youth. This fictionalized account centers around the battle for the first World Bronco-Busting Championship among popular local black cowboy George Fletcher, Nez Perc Indian Jackson Sundown, and a young, white Tennessean named Jonathan E. Lee Spain. Though the three become good friends, their fierce competition for the title carries the story to a dramatic "last go round" to determine a champion. The novel includes photographs of the actual event and a cast of memorable characters such as Buffalo Bill Cody. Kesey and Babbs's down-home style of narrative takes some getting used to, but Kesey's voice is perfect for the narrator. Recommended for general collections.-Mark Watson, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140176674
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/28/1995
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
555,574
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.57(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Ken Kesey was born in 1935 and grew up in Oregon. He graduated from the University of Oregon and later studied at Stanford with Wallace Stegner, Malcolm Cowley, Richard Scowcroft, and Frank O' Connor. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, his first novel, was published in 1962. His second novel, Sometimes a Great Notion, followed in 1964. His other books include Kesey's Garage Sale, Demon Box, Caverns (with O. U. Levon), The Further Inquiry, Sailor Song, and Last Go Round (with Ken Babbs). His two children's books are Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear and The Sea Lion. Ken Kesey died on November 10, 2001.

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Last Go Round: A Real Western 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was born and raised in Pendleton and I think this book is wonderful. I have read many of Ken Kesey's books and this is my favorite. I Enjoyed the history and the added kick....Being from Oregon and spending all my childhood and adult years in Pendleton we are proud of our history and the world famous Pendleton Roundup. Thank-you Mr Kesey and Ken Babbs for this wonderful story.........