North to the Rails

North to the Rails

4.1 9
by Louis L'Amour
     
 

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When Tom Chantry comes west to buy cattle, he quickly runs into trouble. During a drunken scuffle in a bar, Dutch Akin challenges Chantry to a gunfight. Leaving town rather than face Akin, Chantry is quickly branded a coward.

Later, when hiring men to take his herd to the railroad, Chantry faces a dilemma: No one wants to make the long, dangerous ride with a

Overview

When Tom Chantry comes west to buy cattle, he quickly runs into trouble. During a drunken scuffle in a bar, Dutch Akin challenges Chantry to a gunfight. Leaving town rather than face Akin, Chantry is quickly branded a coward.

Later, when hiring men to take his herd to the railroad, Chantry faces a dilemma: No one wants to make the long, dangerous ride with a leader of questionable courage. So when French Williams, a shrewd and ruthless cattleman, makes Chantry an offer, Tom reluctantly accepts his unusual terms: Tom must remain with the drive from start to finish. If he fails to do so, the entire herd will belong to French.

Tom quickly learns that life is not going to be made easy for him. The first man French hires is Dutch Akin.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553280869
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/28/1982
Series:
Chantry Family Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
184
Sales rank:
167,126
Product dimensions:
4.19(w) x 6.87(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

They could call it running away if they wanted to, but it made no sense to kill a man, or risk being killed over something so trivial. He had never used a gun against a man and did not intend to begin now.

He glanced back, but the town lay far behind him, and there seemed to be no reason for pursuit.

Dawn would be breaking soon, and they would be expecting him on the street to face Dutch Akin, and Dutch would certainly be there, right in the middle of that Las Vegas street, a gun ready to his hand.

It was a savage custom, a ridiculous custom. His mother had been right to take him away from it, back to the eastern city where her family lived. She had never loved the West ... not really.

He had been a fool to come West, even on business. But how could he have imagined he would run into trouble? Though he rarely took a drink and was not inclined to argue, he had taken a drink while wating for either Pearsall or Sparrow, and had gotten into an argument. All right ... he had made a mistake, but how was he to know they would make so much out of so little?

To hell with Dutch Akin, and with Las Vegas! He would be damned if he'd get himself killed over a few careless words in a saloon. It made no sense — no sense at all.

What would they say when they realized he was gone? When he failed to appear? At the thought, his ears reddened and he felt uncomfortable.

To hell with them! It was beter to be a live coward then a dead hero.

Coward ... the word rankled. Was he a coward? Had he been afraid? He searched himself for an answer, and found none. He did not believe he was a coward. He had come away from a ridiculous situation ... or was he just telling himself that? Was he not actually afraid?

He seemed to feel his father's eyes upon him — those cool, thoughtful eyes that knew so well how to measure a man and judge what he had in him.

He remembered his father, the day they brought him home on a shutter, still alive, but badly shot up. There had been three men. One of them had taken a drink, waved a bottle, and staggered, but when Borden Chantry had come ot arrest him the man suddenly dropped his bottle ad two other men stepped from ambush, and his father had gone down in a wicked crossfire. He got off one shot, that was all. The three men had fled the town.

His father had lived for two days in considerable pain before the doctor arrived from the fort; by the time he got there his father was dead.

It was as his mother had told him: if you lived by the gun you died by the gun.

Meet the Author

Louis L'Amour is the only American-born novelist in history to receive both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. He published ninety novels, thirty 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.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
March 22, 1908
Date of Death:
June 10, 1988
Place of Birth:
Jamestown, North Dakota
Education:
Self-educated
Website:
http://www.louislamour.com/

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North to the Rails 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
slimikin More than 1 year ago
After reading North to the Rails, I now understand perfectly why Louis L'Amour is so beloved. His portrait of life in the West has such richness, filled with casual, familiar detail about the land---its rivers, stands of timber and scrub, how the cycles of seasons and weather change it. The people populating that land are just as vivid: hard and rough, loyal or treacherous, quick to kindness or cruelty, standing on principles of courage and determination. And the story that takes place in this West has a kind of grandeur. L'Amour doesn't ignore the dangers, but his hero, Tom Chantry, meets them with spirit, and the obstacles Chantry encounters allow the reader to share his growing understanding of what a frontier, with all its attendant lawlessness, requires of a settler.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would read this again. It talks about a cattle drive. How Tom Chantry lives through.
Angie_Lisle 11 months ago
Tom Chantry, the son of Borden Chantry, starts out with the reputation of a coward with a distaste for guns - a character vastly different from the sort usually presented by L'Amour. L'Amour took a strong stance on guns in this book, with the wild west eroding Tom's idealism in an effort to show why guns are sometimes necessary. This story will appeal to advocates for the Second Amendment, serving as a clear example of how criminals don't bother to pay attention to laws. The story felt splotchy, as though the seams showed in between the scenes. I know L'Amour didn't enjoy editing but this book, like many of L'Amour's books, contains typos and printing errors that I blame on the publishers. It's a missing (conjunctive) word or the wrong tense of a word in a passage not attempting a vernacular dialect; small things that should've been weeded out long ago because these books have been through multiple printings. The errors don't inhibit understanding of the passage but they are a minor annoyance that momentarily distracts me from the story. My favorite part of this book is the ending because it exemplifies hubris. I'm not giving away more spoiler than that; I just want to note that the ending of this book has been my favorite from any of the books in either the Sacketts or Talon and Chantry series.
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