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…

10 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.

  2. Supposedly it was made into a movie way back when. Never been able to find it. My mom and I bith loved the book.

      • I read a movie script of The Cowboy and The Cossack in 1980 but I don’t think it ever made it to the screen. The producers were trying to interest Omar Sharif to play the Cossack.

  3. Love finding these posts about his books, Clair is my great uncle. Miss him so. Everyone that’s ever read agrees it would be a great movie. I know I’ve casted and re-casted it about 100x.

    • Did you know if anyone has the writes for the movie? After seeing the Power of the Dog about family members on our Montana Ranch we all started talking about other westerns.

      Your great uncle book is one of our favorites and we believe it should be made into a movie.

  4. SPOT ON review sir!!
    1st read it back in 1978 and several times since. Have lent it to everybody I know who loves a great read.
    YES…Why no movie


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