Hondo by Louie L’Amour

by

Author: Louis L’Amour

Title: Hondo

Genre: Western

Publication Date: 1983

Number of Pages: 191

Geographical setting: South East Arizona, Desert

Time Period: 19 century, During U.S. Westward expansion

Plot Summary: Army scout, part Apache, and very deadly with a gun, Hondo Lane, along with is dog Sam, are tactfully making their way across the desert on their way back to the fort after a run in with the Apache’s left Hondo horseless and the Apaches’ dead. He comes upon a ranch where he hopes to borrow a horse and finds the ranch is home to a woman and her son, whose husband is out with cattle, at least that’s the story she is telling. They are in a very dangerous situation, being all alone in Apache country without a man around, and Hondo tries to take them with him, for reasons other than their safety. The woman refuses to go, but later will regret that decision. After arriving back at the Army fort Hondo hears of the Apaches continued attacks on the “white man” and decides he is going back out to the dangerous desert to rescue the woman and her boy. Hondo is anticipating trouble from the Apaches as he makes his way across the desert, but unbeknownst to him, there is also trouble following him from the fort that has a particular interest in making sure he never makes it back to the ranch. Hondo must use his knowledge of the desert, his knowledge of the Apaches, as well as his colt rifle, if he wants to ever see the woman and her son again.

Subject Headings: Western; Arizona; Desert; Desert living; Indians–Apaches; Indian–wars; Tracking; Horses; Man–dog relationships; Man — boy relationships; Man–woman relationship; U.S Army–Apache wars; Gunmen.

Appeal: Steady pace, engaging characters, lifelike characters, realistic characters, action oriented, semi-violent, straight forward plotline, detailed setting, desert setting, accurate setting, details of life in the desert setting, details of Apache life setting, menacing atmosphere, foreboding, candid language, natural language, western dialect language.

Red Flags: Scalping, descriptions of death by guns, stabbed dog, horses shot.

Suggested Fiction

The Searchers by Alan Lemay. Man–Child relationship; Desert setting; Indians

A Town Called Fury by William Johnston. Indian aggression; Details of Western life; Man–Woman relationship.

Gunmen of the Desert Sands by Ralph Cotton. Details of Western Life; Gunmen; Man–Women relationship.

Suggested non-Fiction

Frontier by Louie L’Amour. A history of the people, the places and the ideas that shaped the West. This book will help the reader understand where one of the greatest writers of Western novels, L’Amour, gets his motivation and characters.

Shadow’s at Dawn: a Borderland Massacre and the Violence of History by Karl Jacoby. The True account the massacre of Apaches Indians performed by Americans, Mexicans and other Indian tribes early one morning in the desert. The book looks at the attack form all four viewpoints of the groups involved. The reader will gain a better understanding of the thoughts of the inhabits of the west in regards to each other and why they acted the way they did.

Elite 91: U.S Army Frontier Scouts 1840-1921 by Ron Field. The true stories of U.S. Army scouts who were used to guide soldiers, advise the Army about Indian war tactics and knew how to live off the land. Western readers will recognize the survival tactics described in this book as ones that characters in westerns often employ.

John B.

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