I wonder how much history I have learned through the simple western novels I have read by the greatest western storyteller that ever lived. If asked who my favorite western novel writer is/was, I'd be in trouble. How can I say who my favorite is? I began reading the works of L'Amour, and never had the desire to try anything else. He had me hooked from the first page.
In almost every story L'Amour ever told, somewhere within the book, the cowboy he was writing about carried a book within his saddlebags. Most often he mentioned the work of Dickens. He promoted reading within his writing. A brilliant author.
"Reilly's Luck" is my favorite of the 120 plus paperbacks I've read by L'Amour. Also, if I were to recommend other titles I would advise reading the following:
Flint, Showdown at Yellow Butte, Where the long Grass Blows, The First Fast Draw, and The Ferguson Rifle. They read fast. But there is, within his stories, romance, adrenalin, adventure, lessons in right and wrong, etc.
So, if you've never read a western, and this winter it's too cold to go outside, and you feel like hunkering down by a crackling fire, or bundling up under the blankets on your sofa needing to try something different, have a L'Amour book handy and give it a try. You won't be sorry.
I miss you Louis. Rest in peace my friend!