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Book Reviews

Milt Gross Book Review: "Showdown at Yellow Butte" by Louis L'Amour
By Milton M. Gross
Nov 4, 2012 - 3:37:06 AM

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This paperback of Showdown at Yellow Butte is typical of many of Louis L'Amour's 105 titles, most if not all of them westerns. Milt Gross photo.
A basically mindless, action-packed, good-guy-wins western, Showdown at Yellow Butte is a good, easy read.

And there are no commercials, which is why I usually read with the TV sound on "mute."

About the late Louis L'Amour, Wikipedia offers, "At the time of his death some of his 105 existing works were in print (89 novels, 14 short-story collections, and two full-length works of nonfiction) and he was considered "one of the world's most popular writers."

In most cases, the particular book is what is important, and the author is just who wrote it. But in the late L'Amour's case, I think the writer was really interesting. He was born in 1908 and died from cancer in 1988.

From "About the Author" in this 1953 paperback, kind of yellowed with maturity, I read that he " his writing began as a 'spur-of-the-moment thing,' prompted by friends who relished his verbal tales of the West..." It states that "...his grandfather was scalped by the Sioux..." L'Amour was still living when Showdown at Yellow Butte was published, and "About the Author" continues, "Since leaving his native Jamestown, North Dakota, at the age of fifteen, he's been a longshoreman, lumberjack, elephant handler, hay shocker, flume builder, fruit picker, and an officer on tank destroyers during World War II."

The plot of Showdown at Yellow Butte is pretty typical western, but pretty good too. It features the tall, quiet hero, the beautiful woman waiting to become "his," the usual crew of bad guys led by an obese evil character, a mystery horse, and the common plot of the bad guys trying to drive the homesteaders off their farms.

There is lots of galloping around the prairie, lots of rapid from-the-hip shooting -- with accurate descriptions of types of weapons, lots of long-distance rifle firing, too many people being killed, and a surprise ending that kept me guessing.

There was that part right at the end,, never mind, you'll have to find it and read it yourself. Or, keep on guessing like I did until the end.

Finding a 29-year old book seems as if it might be a bit daunting. But, being lazy and a follower of Google and those other search-engine types, I went online and typed "Louis L'Amour books" into the box and found dozens of sites featuring his books.

At, within 30 seconds I found Showdown at Yellow Butte, new for $9.23 or used for $3.98.

Too bad you can't get them by mailing $2.50 to Bantam Books, Inc., which long-lost opportunity I discovered at the end of the book. Oh yes, you'd have to add $1.25 to cover postage.

I don't know if you'd find this book in your local library. I haven't looked in ours.

My way was much, much less expensive. After I deposited the plastic containers at our recycling center, I turned around to the 20-foot long shelves holding discarded books. There it was.



Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2012

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