Yesterday I treated myself to Frederick Manfred's CONQUERING HORSE, a wonderful novel told entirely from the point-of-view of a young Sioux experiencing various rights-of-passage before leading his tribe of Yanktons. The book is beautifully written and remarkably detailed — either Manfred did an extraordinary amount of research or he had a particularly vivid imagination. I suspect that it's equal parts of both.
Manfred, who also wrote as Feike Feikema, is probably best known among western readers for LORD GRIZZLY and RIDERS OF JUDGEMENT, and writers like Larry McMurtry (who adapted RIDERS for a mini-series some years back) consider him influential in their work. Over the years, I've collected signed copies of all of Manfred's books — most of them first editions — and even have some signed & annotated volumes from his personal library (like the complete works of Edgar Alan Poe). Manfred died in 1994, so I ration myself to one or two of his books each year. (I know that's silly, but I do the same thing with John D. MacDonald and some other writers). It's a shame that most of his books have fallen out-of-print.
3 thoughts on “Conquering Horse”
Manfred is one of my literary heroes. He has been the subject of a fine documentary, for PBS if I remember correctly. For Lord Grizzly, which deals with the three-hundred-mile journey of Hugh Glass, gravely wounded by a grizzly and left to die by friends, Glass crawled most of the way to the nearest post. So Manfred crawled a few miles himself to grasp the nature of that ordeal and then wrote about it.
Yes, I remember Lord Grizzly well. It’s one of the most the most famous bear tales of all time.