The Far Canyon

Overview

Elmer Kelton's authentic American voice and honest prose have earned him a place as one of the great western storytellers of all time. Kirkus Reviews calls his writing "spare, unadorned, and sophisticated." The New York Times estimates him "one of the best of a new breed of western writers." Now, in The Far Canyon, Kelton once again surpasses his previous novels, recalling with vivid simplicity the glories and hardships of life on the American frontier. Jeff Layne, the young Confederate veteran and hide hunter of...
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Overview

Elmer Kelton's authentic American voice and honest prose have earned him a place as one of the great western storytellers of all time. Kirkus Reviews calls his writing "spare, unadorned, and sophisticated." The New York Times estimates him "one of the best of a new breed of western writers." Now, in The Far Canyon, Kelton once again surpasses his previous novels, recalling with vivid simplicity the glories and hardships of life on the American frontier. Jeff Layne, the young Confederate veteran and hide hunter of Kelton's award-winning epic, Slaughter, is older and ready to forsake the Staked Plains, now littered with the bleached skeletons of massacred buffalo. He has decided to return to his southern Texas homeplace and settle into the relatively peaceful life of a cattle rancher. Accompanied by his business partners Nigel and Arletta Smithwick, and his irrepressibly cheerful friend Cap Doolittle, Jeff retraces his steps along the Dodge City-Wichita trail. Unfortunately, times have changed in the border town of Piedras, Texas, and the disillusioned Jeff finds himself caught in the midst of a fierce border war between dispossessed Mexican ranchers and his longtime enemy, Vesper Freed. Jeff has never forgotten how Vesper ousted the Laynes from their land under the carpetbagger regime. Nor has he forgotten that Freed married the woman he once loved. When the violence escalates, Jeff sides with the Mexicans. If Jeff can get out alive, he plans to drive his Longhorn herd north to a distant canyon he remembers from his hide-hunting days, a natural sanctuary where the buffalo once roamed free, and where Jeff hopes he can at last find peace.

Elmer Kelton has driven the western genre into new territory, and The Far Canyon continues the saga of two of his most memorable characters. Both Confederate veteran, Jeff Layne, and the Comanche warrior, Crow Feather, return to face bitter challenges to their freedom and ideals. For both men, a remote canyon becomes the place they choose to make a final stand.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Veteran western writer Kelton begins this sequel to Slaughter exactly where that Golden Spur-winning yarn ended, in Texas, 1874. After the Battle of Adobe Walls, the Commanche warrior Crow Feather lies bleeding but alive. Jeff Layne, too, has survived--just as he survived both a Union slug during the Civil War and his days as a buffalo hunter during the great bison slaughters. Now Layne, tired of death and killing, is headed back to south Texas to resume ranching. But when he and his wayward band including old friend and camp cook Cap Doolittle, and Englishman Nigel Smithwick and his untutored American bride, Arletta reach their destination, Layne discovers that a ruthless Yankee reconstruction government has wreaked havoc and that his ranch is now owned by his old enemy, Vesper Freed. But Texas is a big place, and, rather than fight for his land, Layne decides to move north and start again. Still, he can't avoid the inevitable tangle with Freed. Layne and his companions' story is interlaced with that of Crow Feather, whose hope of living a peaceful, isolated existence with his people seems to have been dashed when he's confined to a degrading and violent reservation. Despite being longer than the average western, this well-plotted novel holds interest and will prove especially rewarding for those already caught up in the adventures of Crow Feather, Layne and company. Aug.
Library Journal
Kelton, a prolific and award-winning author of Westerns, has produced another solid success in this sequel to Slaughter Doubleday, 1992. Ten years after the Civil War, Jeff Layne, a Confederate veteran weary of killing both men and buffalo, wends his way along dusty cattle trails toward his family ranch in Texas. When he gets to his hometown, however, he finds that the property has been stolen by the dastardly Vesper Freed, who also stole Jeff's girl, Eva, some years ago. Jeff decides to gather up some cattle and a party of companions and head to a remote canyon in north Texas to start up a new ranch. Along the way, the party encounters Crow Feather and his Comanche family, who are trying to escape from the newly formed reservation. Written with obvious knowledge of the American frontier and Native American culture, this grand saga will appeal to fans of Larry McMurtry. Highly recommended.-Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, Ind.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780875654119
  • Publisher: Texas Christian University Press
  • Publication date: 4/13/2010
  • Series: Texas Tradition Series , #41
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 958,735
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Elmer Kelton was voted All-Time Greatest Western Author by Western Writers of America. He received seven Spur Awards, four Wrangler Awards from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Museum, and lifetime achievement awards from WWA, Western American Literature Association, and the Texas Institute of Letters. He was the author of more than fifty novels.

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