American Cowboys

Saddle up for Kansas City’s American Royal, running from September through November. On September 16, 2008 at the Plaza Branch, Dr. Jim Hoy gave a presentation inspired in part by Western novelist Louis L’Amour’s legacy entitled American Icon: The Enduring Appeal of the Cowboy. Check out a few books by Jim Hoy, enjoy a few classic cowboy novels, or discover a recent award-winning Western.

Books by Jim Hoy | Cowboys | Award-winning Westerns

Books by Dr. Jim Hoy

Flint Hills Cowboys: Tales From the Tallgrass Prairie

By Jim Hoy This 2007 Kansas Notable Book tells the story of exemplary cowboys from the rugged hills. These stories run from the late 19th through the mid-20th century and they are told by a scholar who is one of them.

Cowboys and Kansas

By Jim Hoy In Cowboys and Kansas Jim Hoy educates and entertains us with essays and tales about cowboy life that are based on personal experience, folklore, and history.

Plains Folk

By Jim Hoy and Tom Isern This book contains a collection of articles previously published in newspapers about the Great Plains, its customs, traditions, and communities.


Lonesome Dove

By Larry McMurtry 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Award Winner A love story and an epic of the frontier, Lonesome Dove is a grand novel written about the last, defiant wilderness of America. It chronicles a cattle drive in the nineteenth century from Texas to Montana, and follows the lives of Gus and Call, the cowboys heading the drive.


By Louis L'Amour He was a big man, wide-shouldered, with the lean, hard-boned face of the desert rider. His toughness was ingrained, quick, hard and dangerous – yet without cruelty. He was Hondo Lane, a man not soon forgotten by those he encountered on the danger trail. Hondo is a classic Louis L'Amour novel as well as a motion picture starring John Wayne.

Down the Long Hills

By Louis L'Amour 1968 Spur Award Winner - Novel After the massacre, Hardy and Betty Sue were left with only a horse and a knife with which to face the long battle against the wilderness. Stranded on the limitless prairie, the children were up against starvation, Indians, and wild animals. They were both mighty stubborn – but the odds were against them.

Recent award-winning Westerns

High Country

By Willard Wyman 2006 Spur Award Winner - Best First Novel & Novel of the West The packer's business is guiding mule trains into mountains where wagons can't travel. Writing in the tradition of Norman Maclean's A River Runs through It, Willard Wyman shares techniques of breaking and packing and leading animals into forbidding country, hunting and tracking, and making camp. Wyman brings you so close to the packer's life you smell the leather, sweat, and oil.

The Shape Shifter

By Tony Hillerman 2007 Spur Award Winner - Best Western Short Novel Legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn is back in this tale of murder and mystery from New York Times bestselling author Tony Hillerman. With Jim Chee and Bernie Manuelito on their honeymoon, Joe's left on his own to pick up the threads of a crime he thought impossible to solve.


By Rilla Askew 2008 Western Heritage Award Winner – Western Novel Set in Oklahoma during the Depression, two young newlyweds, Harlan and Sharon, hitchhike and hop on freight trains throughout the Great Plains, but always return to Oklahoma. The novel’s narrative combines Sharon’s voice and Harlan’s poetry with history. Find more Spur Award winners. Book descriptions provided by BookLetters.