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jerry9491

Louis Lamour - What has he taught us?

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Just FYI, I have been on a Louis L'Amour binge now, thanks to you all. I have read The Last of the Breed and most of the Sackett novels by now, including:

 

  • Sackett's Land
  • Jubal Sackett
  • Ride the River
  • The Daybreakers
  • Lando
  • Sackett
  • Mojave Crossing
  • The Sackett Brand
  • The Skyliners

 

Some tips that I have picked up:

 

  • Never trust a black-eyed woman, especially if you are a homely man.
  • Bees can lead you to water - if you're parched, pay attention not only to animal tracks but to the buzzing of insects.
  • Horses can also sense nearby water, so if you're on horseback, let a thirsty horse have its lead.
  • If you're in the cold, avoid sweating. It can freeze to your skin and deplete you of needed body heat.
  • Unless you are certain you have no enemies about, never use the same trail out of a place as you did going in. You're just asking for an ambush.
  • Along those lines, any well-traveled trail is a temptation to travel, but if you're being pursued or if you want to remain undiscovered, choose indirect routes - and even look for the least likely, most difficult terrain as an option.
  • Keep a handful of shavings or tinder with you so that you can get a fire going in a hurry if you need one.
  • Candles can be used for more than light; they can also spark a little heat and be used to boil water if you can't afford to have smoke seen/smelled.
  • Frequently look behind you. This not only allows you to see if you're being followed (a must), it also gives you landmarks/reference points for traveling through the same area again if you are heading in the opposite direction. Landscape doesn't look the same coming as it does going.

I just hope you didn't lose your job lol....

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OC, I'm glad you are enjoying them. I find it fascinating that you picked up

 

Never trust a black-eyed woman, especially if you are a homely man.

 

as the first bullet in your list. As a more than just a little homely man I think it definitely applies to me. I actually missed that one. I guess I've been married to my bride for so long (married 2 weeks after my 20th birthday) I just missed it. Oh, she's a blue eyed redhead.

 

Those are some good ideas on which to think. I find that as I re-read his books I keep picking up things I've missed the first few times.

 

Oh, I found I had not actually read 'Last of the Breed' (I just missed it!) so I'm doing so now. Thanks for mentioning it.

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I picked up the black-eyed woman thing because it was repeated several times, but also because it makes sense. Not even in the sense of having someone who might be considered "out of your league" hitting on you, but actually ANY time someone responds to you in a way that doesn't make sense for the situation, you should go on red alert... even when what they are doing seems friendly or likely to help you. Like the person who kindly offers to haul something away for free (and fails to mention that it's valuable), or the selfish roommate who suddenly suggests you borrow his truck to go to the grocery store (but doesn't volunteer that there's nothing but fumes in the tank, which will force you to put some gas in it simply to be able to get home), or the smiling stranger who offers advice on the "safest" route for you to take (by way of the ambush his pals will set up). Gavin de Becker (who wrote the amazing book, The Gift of Fear) even describes several scenarios where women were attacked by men who initially seemed charming and helpful ("here, let me help you with that grocery bag... I'll just get you to your car...").

 

So glad you found a "new" Louis L'Amour book to read! Is it wrong that I kind of enjoyed reading something that was set during the end of the Cold War? It seems like life was easier when we just had to worry about the Soviets getting frisky.

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I really liked Jubal Sackett, both his story and the character. Yes, there's some alternative/theoretical history going on there, but that has to happen when you're writing about a combination of real and fictional events and people. I'm not sure I agree with all of the conclusions drawn about how the Native Americans lost their land and their way of life, but I think that he identifies quite a few of the factors in this and other books. What I do appreciate is that Louis L'Amour always presents it more as one man's opinion than "here's the absolute truth of the way that it was."

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Well stated. I also like when he puts in some thinly believed theories, that he usually has an explanation in the back of the book. I know the "crypts" in the Midwest caverns have been a source of some arguments (debates are civil and some of these are far from civil...lol). The mastadon theory I have seen in a few books, but no evidence to support it that I know of.

As for the Natives, I have several theories myself....lol.

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I thought the mastadon story was a great tribute to a long line of speculation, and very possibly just meant as a metaphor for the Native Americans themselves. Whether there were mastadons (or some variant) around is impossible to say definitively, IMO, since there WERE stories even if we haven't unearthed remains. When you think of all of the bones, fossils, etc. that have never been uncovered - or that likely disintegrated long before we came across where they fell - then NOT having physical evidence doesn't mean that something didn't exist. (Granted, it also doesn't do much to prove it DID exist.)

 

The fact that there were mummies, mastadons, and a dude riding a buffalo in that book somehow didn't make it any less believable to me. LOL

 

And we all know that other people "discovered" the New World long before Columbus landed here. For the record, Europe was discovered by the Indians long before the Europeans crossed the Atlantic - there's a record of two Native Americans landing in what is now Holland in 60 B.C.! I've even read that some people are starting to compare Old Norse to some of the languages of the tribes living along the northern Atlantic coast to see if there are any similarities, so maybe Iroquois slang came from something said by Erik the Red's children. LOL Anyway, my point is that Louis L'Amour speculating that other "old peoples" with weird burial customs ventured into the American wilderness isn't completely crazy. Why not incorporate that idea into his stories, especially since he's known to appreciate a good yarn?

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A couple of other tips, when travelling cross country, stop before you 'skyline' yourself & look over the area you are approaching.

Never 'hog' or camp at a water source in dry country it keeps the animals away but more importantly it's where other people will come. Get what you need & move on.

Also pay attention to the actions of animals around you, for example; ask yourself why that bird just flew up from where it was sitting, is it alarmed or acting natural.

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I'm bumping this thread so the spam moves down the list... And I'll add another tip:

 

If you carry a gun, you need to be prepared to use it. There's no sense in having one if you won't, and others who see you with it will assume that you're willing to draw when push comes to shove - which can invite trouble.

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OC,

Gavin de Becker (who wrote the amazing book, The Gift of Fear) even describes several scenarios where women were attacked by men who initially seemed charming and helpful ("here, let me help you with that grocery bag... I'll just get you to your car...").

 

I once gave a lady I saw arguing with a valet (I'd never seen her before or since) at a hotel a ride to the airport - she was an Aussie and her kid was sick in LA and she needed to be there NOW! I helped her out but then I pointed out to her that getting into the truck with me was really DUMB! She was very nice looking, young and there was NO ONE in the US who would have been looking for her if she went missing! I suspect she was scared when she thought about it but her sick child over rode her caution. Remember, haste can get you killed - the scene in 'the Searchers' where Wayne's character rests his horse when everyone else takes off is instructive.

 

If you carry a gun, you need to be prepared to use it.

 

Agreed. When you put on a gun a lot of things change. I've said over and over, wear a gun and you lose your right to get annoyed, insulted, belligerent, angry, pushy, drunk, or a whole host of other emotions/actions. When you put on a gun, you have put death on your hip. NEVER forget that fact; never forget that you have assumed the right to make life/death decisions on everyone you meet. That being the case, you have NO right to let ANYTHING interfere with your judgement.

 

Just my not so humble opinion.

Edited by Capt Bart

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I once gave a lady I saw arguing with a valet (I'd never seen her before or since) at a hotel a ride to the airport - she was an Aussie and her kid was sick in LA and she needed to be there NOW! I helped her out but then I pointed out to her that getting into the truck with me was really DUMB!

 

It's so SAD that, in this world, you have to be suspicious of people who offer help... but that kind of wariness is exactly what can keep you from winding up in a world of trouble. In The Gift of Fear, de Becker actually says you'd be better off approaching someone to ask for help than accepting help from someone who offers it. The reasoning is, your odds of YOU picking someone who will harm you are far less than the odds of someone who has picked YOU harming you. (After all, predators don't wantonly attack a whole herd, they single out their prey, don't they? And the person who offers help IS singling you out... whether their intentions are good or bad.)

 

I wholeheartedly recommend that any woman - actually, ANYONE, man or woman - read The Gift of Fear. Here are a few quotes from the book:

 

Regarding why you need to listen to that little warning voice in your head: "Intuition is always right in at least two important ways: It is always in response to something. It always has your best interest at heart."

 

Regarding interactions with strangers: "It is understandable that the perspectives of men and women on safety are so different--men and women live in different worlds...at core, men are afraid women will laugh at them, while at core, women are afraid men will kill them."

 

On listening to your instincts: "Denial is a save now, pay later scheme."

 

On people who won't take no for an answer: "'No' is a word that must never be negotiated, because the person who chooses not to hear it is trying to control you… Declining to hear 'no' is a signal that someone is either seeking control or refusing to relinquish it."

 

And here's the quote I couldn't find yesterday, about how someone seeming nice and charming doesn't actually mean they are not a threat: "We must learn and then teach our children that niceness does not equal goodness. Niceness is a decision, a strategy of social interaction; it is not a character trait. People seeking to control others almost always present the image of a nice person in the beginning."

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OK, I just finished re-reading Bendigo Shafter. I had forgotten how really good that book is for young folks trying to grow up!

 

Beginning with the dedication:

 

To the hard-shelled men who built with nerve and hand that which the soft-bellied latecomers call the "western myth."

 

WOW! You just know the book is going to be great - and it is outstanding. This is a book with a lot of deep thought in in the writing. The fight against the cold, the fragile nature of civilization, solutions for social problems, and the mysticism of the great story tellers. I really want to get up to Wyoming and see the Medicine Wheel. I've been to Stonehenge .... now I want to go to the Medicine Wheel.

 

OH, OC, I'm part way through the "Gift of Fear". You are correct, it is an interesting book.

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OK, I just finished re-reading Bendigo Shafter. I had forgotten how really good that book is for young folks trying to grow up!

 

Beginning with the dedication:

 

 

 

WOW! You just know the book is going to be great - and it is outstanding. This is a book with a lot of deep thought in in the writing. The fight against the cold, the fragile nature of civilization, solutions for social problems, and the mysticism of the great story tellers. I really want to get up to Wyoming and see the Medicine Wheel. I've been to Stonehenge .... now I want to go to the Medicine Wheel.

 

OH, OC, I'm part way through the "Gift of Fear". You are correct, it is an interesting book.

Yep thats one of my favorites too, I'm gonna have to read again, might put me in a better mood....

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Thanks for posting this, Capt Bart! I am going to need to find a Louis L'Amour book soon just for fun, and since I've read all of the Sackett novels, it's good to have another title in mind. Yay!

 

Glad you're finding The Gift of Fear interesting. It's not really a post-SHTF survival book, but a book that could help you survive in the world as it is. I've recommended it to several people and have not heard from anyone who didn't feel they got SOMETHING out of it. I like how he uses real-life stories and interviews with victims to talk you through how violent crimes occur. It's really eye-opening since few of us look at the world the same way as criminals do.

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OC,

I'm about 1/2 way through it. I find that it reinforces quite a few of my "gut" instincts. It is sometimes very good to find others confirming one's instincts. I like to read multiple books at once and the L'Amour stuff is just right to keep me interested in things like Plutarch. The Gift of Fear (by the way, my complements to your English teachers in grade/high school. I've gotten sloppy about underlining book names - nice to see someone who remembers the correct way!) is an excellent book for forcing you to talk a solid look at what goes on around you. That the guy offering to help may not have your best interest at heart I knew. I had not considered the role of the "primitive" brain in keeping me vertical, breathing, and above room temperature in today's world.

Again thanks for that recommendation.

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The only reason I do that now is because Texas Bill does on the other book threads, and I've worked in communications so I tend to tailor my writing and formatting based on whatever the norm seems to be for wherever I'm writing. Again, because I've been in communications and because I'm kind of a nerd, I will admit that underlining is likely to go the way of the dodo in the near future. The people who create fonts don't like the way it interferes with the clean look of letters, and it's more difficult to read on screens, so at some point, it will likely become the norm to use italics or quotes instead. FWIW, using a double-space after a period is largely considered wrong now, too. LOL

 

And my high school composition teacher would have issues with my writing because I use WAY too many words. I still hear his rules in my head:

 

  • Good writing is clear, simple, and brief.
  • What comes first? Clarity, clarity, clarity!
  • Simple does not mean simple-minded.
  • Brevity is the outgrowth of vigorous writing.

 

Sad, isn't it? LOL

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The only reason I do that now is because Texas Bill does on the other book threads, and I've worked in communications so I tend to tailor my writing and formatting based on whatever the norm seems to be for wherever I'm writing. Again, because I've been in communications and because I'm kind of a nerd, I will admit that underlining is likely to go the way of the dodo in the near future. The people who create fonts don't like the way it interferes with the clean look of letters, and it's more difficult to read on screens, so at some point, it will likely become the norm to use italics or quotes instead. FWIW, using a double-space after a period is largely considered wrong now, too. LOL

 

And my high school composition teacher would have issues with my writing because I use WAY too many words. I still hear his rules in my head:

 

  • Good writing is clear, simple, and brief.
  • What comes first? Clarity, clarity, clarity!
  • Simple does not mean simple-minded.
  • Brevity is the outgrowth of vigorous writing.

 

Sad, isn't it? LOL

 

Yep, sad. I'll probably go the way of the do do myself in the not too distant future. Double space after periods? Good grief, I've done that since about 3rd grade (yeah, I learned to type really early - a bit of a nerd I was (some would say still am)). I remember all the drills; single space after commas and semi-colons, double space after periods and colons etc. Now the style guides say just single space. One of my pet peeves (of which I am occasionally guilty) is to end a sentence with a prepositions. Sister Jean de Matel would have my hide for doing it (see! should have said for doing it that way!). Oh, well, the things we do to the most powerful language in the world and one of great beauty. Sigh, I guess I really AM an anachronism.:rolleyes:

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Just read Bendigo Shafter. Aside from the fact that I'm not crazy about his name, I did really love this character! He's still young and a little naive, and definitely invites trouble by not killing people who would do him harm when he has the chance. Nonetheless, he's principled, thoughtful, and hardworking, and you can't help but want only good things to come his way. Plus he's befriended by a Sackett, so you know he's good people. LOL

 

I also found this quote to be particularly apt, given our own current political situation. It would be nice if both sides listened to this kind of wisdom:

 

There can be no living together without understanding, and understanding means compromise. Compromise is not a dirty word, it is the cornerstone of civilization, just as politics is the art of making civilization work. Men do not and cannot and hopefully will never think alike, hence each must yield a little in order to avoid war, to avoid bickering. Men and women meet together and adjust their differences; this is compromise. He who stands unyielding and immovable upon a principle is often a fool, and often bigoted, and usually left standing alone with his principle while other men adjust their differences and go on.

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OC,

Glad you liked it. Lot of thought there. I just read The Man from Skibberee again. It is a fun story in the vein of the Saturday matinee. Kind of a 'bang bang shoot-em-up kind of thing. It was OK but not a great teaching book.

 

Some of his books seem to be just about a good story; some have greater meanings. I liked The Proving Trail as another of the 'what it takes to become a man and survive' style.

 

A book you might enjoy is The Cherokee Trail. The hero is unique for L'Amour because the hero is a heroine! Mary Breydon takes a job running a stage station for her deceased husband and has to learn FAST how to survive the west. I rather enjoyed it. L'Amour had a great deal of respect for the frontier woman (Conagher or Hondo are both decent examples as well. There are others of course.

Edited by Capt Bart

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Capt Bart, I don't know if you're just pointing me at the best novels, or if Louis L'Amour really is fantastic regardless of which book you read, but oh. my. goodness. I absolutely ADORED The Cherokee Trail and Conagher. Granted, they have far less survival tips in them than a lot of the other books do, but the characters are really so well-drawn and interesting! I love the world-weariness of Conagher himself and the loneliness that echoes throughout most of the book. And Mary Breydon is genteel and tough as nails, which makes her kind of fascinating.

 

One of the things I truly appreciate about L'Amour's work is that he doesn't end the story with "they all lived happily ever after" or some trite wrap-up where every last hardship has been overcome and everyone is joyful. Instead, he ends quite a few of his novels with the major trials handled, but a range of possible futures for his characters. The Cherokee Trail is a great example of that - Mr. Boone and Mr. Stacy are both available, but Mary doesn't have to choose either of them to be in a good place... so he leaves it up in the air. It's like a reminder that life goes on, unexpected things happen, but you can trust these good, hardworking folks to make it right no matter what comes their way, so you can rest easy without having to know every last detail of their lives.

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