David Whitehead




I've been reading westerns now ever since I was about ten or eleven years old, and watching them on TV and at the movies even before that. So here's a list of what I consider to be the top fifty westerns that no serious fan can afford to be without, arranged in chronological order. How many have you read?


The Virginian (1902) by Owen Wister
The Log of a Cowboy (1903) by Andy Adams
Riders of the Purple Sage (1912) by Zane Grey
The War Chief (1927) by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Cowboy (1928) by Ross Santee
Apache Devil (1933) by Edgar Rice Burroughs
30,000 on the Hoof (1940) by Zane Grey
Bugles in the Afternoon (1944) by Ernest Haycox

And the Wind Blows Free (1945) by Luke Short
Blood Brother (1947) by Elliot Arnold
Shane (1949) by Jack Schaefer
The Way West (1949) by A B Guthrie Jr

Adobe Empire (1950) by Lauran Paine
Indian Country (1953) by Dorothy M Johnson
Hondo (1953) by Louis L'Amour
The Last Hunt (1954) by Milton Lott

The Searchers (1954) by Alan LeMay
Rimrock (1955) by Luke Short
Drift! (1955) by Marshall Grover
Chainlink (1957) by Owen Evens

They Came to Cordura(1958) by Glendon Swarthout
Trouble Rides Tall (1958) by Harry Whittington
The Buffalo Soldiers (1959) by John Prebble
From Where the Sun Now Stands (1960) by Will Henry

Welcome to Hard Times (1960) by E L Doctorow
Monte Walsh (1963) by Jack Schaefer
The Legend of Lonnie Hall (1963) by Clifton Adams
Little Big Man (1964) by Thomas Berger

True Grit (1968) by Charles Portis
Death of a Gunfighter (1968) by Lewis B Patten
The Easy Gun (1970) by E M Parsons
The Day the Cowboys Quit (1971) by Elmer Kelton

Wagontongue (1972) by Elmer Kelton
The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales (1973) by Forrest Carter
The Time It Never Rained (1973) by Elmer Kelton
The Mustang Men (1975) by Thorne Douglas

Centennial (1975) by James A Michener
The Shootist (1975) by Glendon Swarthout
Gaylord's Badge (1975) by Richard Meade
Cartridge Creek (1975) by Richard Meade

Riders to Cibola (1977) by Norman Zollinger
Killer Kane (1979) by Louis Masterson
Killdeer Mountain (1983) by Dee Brown
Claws of the Eagle (1984) by Andrew J Fenady

Blood Meridian (1985) by Cormac McCarthy
Lonesome Dove (1985) by Larry McMurtry
Runaways (1994) by Andrew J Fenady
There Came a Stranger (2001) by Andrew J Fenady

Nowhere, TX (2004) by Ralph Compton/David Robbins
Riders to Moon Rock (2005) by Andrew J Fenady