The Cowboy and the Cossack

This is embarrassing… I wrote this post a few months ago and thought I’d published it… but it’s actually been sitting in my “drafts” folder all this time. If you are looking for a great book to read, I have a strong recommendation for you:

For years, Paul Bishop has been telling me that Clair Huffaker’s THE COWBOY & THE COSSACK is one of the greatest westerns he’s ever read & one of his favorite books. I finally got around to reading it and, holy crap, he was underselling it. It’s everything he said and more… yes, it’s another cattle drive story, and filled with the usual archetypes and tropes, but none of it feels like a cliche, largely because of the unique setting, the culture clash, the spare writing, and the colorful characters. What I wasn’t expecting, and greatly appreciated, was the humor and the little, surprisingly moving, touches of humanity. In many ways, the book reminded me of my favorite book of all time: Larry McMurtry’s LONESOME DOVE. I don’t understand why THE COWBOY AND THE COSSACK hasn’t been made into a movie yet. But it’s definitely one of my favorite westerns now, too… right up there with DOVE, A.B. Guthrie’s THE BIG SKY (and the sequel, THE WAY WEST), Thomas Berger’s LITTLE BIG MAN, James Robert Daniel’s THE COMANCHE KID, Elmer Kelton’s THE GOOD OLD BOYS, Frederick Manfred’s RIDERS OF JUDGMENT (and SCARLET PLUME), and Jim Bosworth’s THE LONG WAY NORTH. Stop whatever you are doing and read THE COWBOY AND THE COSSACK. Don’t wait years like I did…

3 thoughts on “The Cowboy and the Cossack”

  1. OMG, I ***LOVE*** that book!!! First read it when the author was interviewed on a chat show back in the day, and it stayed with me all these decades.

    My big sister was mad about all things cowboy and had other of the author’s titles. I couldn’t get into Zane Grey, but Mr. Huffaker’s works are teh bomb.

    OTOH, seeing “Flaming Star” 6 times when it played at the local movie house was not something she should have dragged a 6-year-old to — a bit too violent and sad, even if it was Elvis.

    Reply

Leave a Comment