Cover image for Still wild : short fiction of the American West, 1950 to the present
Still wild : short fiction of the American West, 1950 to the present
McMurtry, Larry.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2000]

Physical Description:
414 pages ; 23 cm
Buglesong / Wallace Stegner -- The closed season / Dave Hickey -- Chickens / Dao Strom -- Romero's shirt / Dagoberto Gilb -- Good rockin' tonight / William Hauptman -- The Mexican girl / Jack Kerouac -- True romance / Ron Hansen -- White line fever / Diana Ossana -- Glissando / Robert Boswell -- Dogs / Tom McGuane -- The red convertible / Louise Erdrich -- Gas stations / Max Apple -- Cul-de-sacs / Mark Jude Poirier -- Mahatma Joe / Rick Bass -- Indians / Jon Billman -- Rock springs / Richard Ford -- The third thing that killed my father off / Raymond Carver --Brokeback Mountain / Annie Proulx -- Lullaby / Leslie Marmon Silko -- The Pedersen kid / William H. Gass.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS561 .S75 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PS561 .S75 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Features contemporary short works of the Western genre, including contributions from writers not usually associated with Westerns such as Jack Kerouac and Wallace Stegner, as well as stories from Annie Proulx, Louise Erdrich, and Raymond Chandler.

Author Notes

Larry McMurtry, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, among other awards, is the author of twenty-four novels, two collections of essays, two memoirs, more than thirty screenplays, & an anthology of modern Western fiction. He lives in Archer City, Texas.

(Publisher Provided) Novelist Larry McMurtry was born June 3, 1936 in Wichita Falls, Texas. He received a B.A. from North Texas State University in 1958, an M.A. from Rice University in 1960, and attended Stanford University. He married Josephine Ballard in 1959, divorced in 1966, and had one son, folksinger James McMurtry.

Until the age of 22, McMurtry worked on his father's cattle ranch. When he was 25, he published his first novel, "Horseman, Pass By" (1961), which was turned into the Academy Award-winning movie Hud in 1962. "The Last Picture Show" (1966) was made into a screenplay with Peter Bogdanovich, and the 1971 movie was nominated for eight Oscars, including one for best screenplay adaptation. "Terms of Endearment" (1975) received little attention until the movie version won five Oscars, including Best Picture, in 1983.

McMurtry's novel "Lonesome Dove" (1985) won the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 and the Spur Award and was followed by two popular TV miniseries. The other titles in the Lonesome Dove Series are "Streets of Laredo" (1993), "Dead Man's Walk" (1995), and "Comanche Moon" (1997). The other books in his Last Picture Show Trilogy are "Texasville" (1987) and "Duane's Depressed" (1999).

McMurtry suffered a heart attack in 1991 and had quadruple-bypass surgery. Following that, he suffered from severe depression and it was during this time he wrote "Streets of Laredo," a dark sequel to "Lonesome Dove." His companion Diana Ossana, helping to pull him out of his depression, collaborated with him on "Pretty Boy Floyd" (1994) and "Zeke and Ned" (1997). He co-won the Best Screenplay Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Brokeback Mountain in 2006. He made The New York Times Best Seller List with his title's Custer and The Last Kind Words Saloon.

McMurtry is considered one of the country's leading antiquarian book dealers.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

No, not Louis L'Amour, but 20 tales of the West from the likes of Richard Ford, Raymond Carver, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Jack Kerouac. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Introduction Still Wild is meant to remind readers of, or introduce them to, short fiction by twenty good writers who, at one point or another in their careers, have taken as their subject life in the American West -- but taken it in a special way. Theirs is not so much the West of history or the West of geography as it is the West of the imagination: funny, gritty, isolate, searing, tragic, complex. Part of my intent as a compiler has been to assemble a coming-of-age anthology, because it seems to me that it has only been in the second half of the twentieth century that the West has come of age as a producer -- as opposed to an importer -- of first-rate writers. From the time of the California gold rush to at least the end of World War I, most of the writers who achieved popularity by writing fiction set in the West -- writers whose work aspired to be at least a rung or two above the dime novel or the family anecdote -- came from the East. Jack London was a native, but most were not, and the work of Owen Wister, Charles King, Zane Grey, Eugene Manlove Rhodes, and others reads now like dude-ranch fiction, a sort of white-collar pulp. Many of these writers loved the West deeply, and, once they found it, never left it, but, still, they wrote as outsiders: fans, rather than natives; and, as fans, they were likely to wax romantic about the western life that they saw, or, perhaps, imagined. Most of them wrote for the illustrated magazines of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, where they were matched in their romanticism by two generations of equally romantic illustrators: Frederick Remington, Alfred Jacob Miller, Charles Schreyvogel, Frank Schoonover, Nick Eggenhofer, Edward Borein, Will James, and others. Most of the stories were quite flimsy; the writers needed the illustrators and perhaps were not aware to what an extent they were in competition with the artists whose drawings supported their stories. Indeed, competition with the image is a factor in the development of western writing that is seldom mentioned, though it was certainly serious. The grandeur of western landscape drew gifted painters immediately; gifted writers followed in their wake. Washington Irving's Tour of the Prairies (1835) contained some fairly vivid word pictures, but not as vivid as the actual paintings of George Catlin, Karl Bodmer, Alfred Jacob Miller, or Thomas Moran. Then, before the painters quit, the camera arrived, followed in only a few decades by the motion pictures, which, throughout the whole of the twentieth century, competed vigorously not just with western literature but with all literature, though it was probably in relation to the West that the challenge movies raised to literature was most acute. It takes a genius-level descriptive sentence to compete with the beauty of horses running, a pure kinetic joy that can be had in even the trashiest western films. Image-competition apart, there were other reasons why good writers, in any sort of critical mass, were slow to appear in the West, the main one being that until the 1950s much of the West either wasn't settled enough or hadn't been settled long enough to produce first-rate writers. The severities of pioneer life yield up no Prousts. The native peoples of the nineteenth-century West, whether of the plains, the desert, or the coast, at least had societies, whereas the whites who fought them and displaced them for a time, and a considerable time, mainly just had families. Writers need schooling, need to have at least some contact with a society that values literary effort, but it was not until almost the midpoint of the twentieth century that literate society and reasonably good schooling could be assumed in the West. Though it may startle several of them to hear it, the simplest thing one can say about the writers in this anthology is that they are not self-educated. Though only a few of them, notably Wallace Stegner and William H. Gass, made full and prominent careers in the academies, all of them have at least drifted through a college campus and gone to a party or two -- by which I mean that all of them write with a developed awareness of literary tradition. Wallace Stegner and Jack Kerouac wrote very different prose; Stegner stayed in the academy, whereas Kerouac left it, but both were men who had studied hard, and the same can be said for most of the writers whose stories I have chosen for this book. The younger among them may have gone to school to Donald Barthelme or Raymond Carver, the older ones to Chekhov, Hemingway, Lawrence, Joyce, or Faulkner, but they are all aware -- as earlier generations were not -- that there had once been giants in the land and that they must first read them if they hope to extend what they had done. Perhaps the most famous quote in D. H. Lawrence's Studies in Classic American Literature, published in 1924, is this: "Never trust the artist. Trust the tale." I take that to mean that, having located and arranged these twenty stories, I now have license to leave, so that the process of trusting can begin. I could go through the table of contents, pointing out the obvious: that Wallace Stegner never lost sight of the cruelty within the beauty of the West, that Jack Kerouac, in "The Mexican Girl," wrote a great love letter to L.A., and so on. But to track through these twenty stories and chart, for the reader, their themes and affinities, is not my job. Better to go to Lawrence again, to the essay called "The Spirit of Place," written in 1924: The real American day hasn't come yet. Or at least, not yet sunrise. So far it has been the false dawn.... It is no longer 1924. By the time of Lawrence's death, only six years later, Hemingway and Faulkner had already published their best work. The sun had well risen, and it's up there still. The writers in this book all work in the strong western sunlight of the real American day. -- Larry McMurtry Copyright © 2000 by Larry McMurtry Excerpted from Still Wild: Short Fiction of the American West - 1950 to the Present by Larry McMurtry All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Wallace StegnerDave HickeyDao StromDagoberto GilbWilliam HauptmanJack KerouacRon HansenDiana OssanaRobert BoswellTom McGuaneLouise ErdrichMax AppleMark Jude PoirierRick BassJon BillmanRichard Ford
Introductionp. 11
Buglesongp. 17
The Closed Seasonp. 26
Chickensp. 44
Romero's Shirtp. 65
Good Rockin' Tonightp. 73
The Mexican Girlp. 99
True Romancep. 124
White Line Feverp. 135
Glissandop. 157
Dogsp. 178
The Red Convertiblep. 184
Gas Stationsp. 196
Cul-de-sacsp. 203
Mabatma Joep. 219
Indiansp. 254
Rock Springsp. 267