Join us in celebrating the 40th anniversary
of the publication of Sackett novels and enjoy SPECIAL
Throughout this year the Sackett Novels will
be reintroduced as a newly repackaged set.
In 1959 Louis L’Amour wrote The Daybreakers,
his first novel about his fictional Sackett family. It chronicled
the story of two brothers moving west to escape the feuding
and poverty of the Tennessee mountains. They join one of the
first cattle drives to Kansas, seek their fortunes on the
southern plains and finally settle in Mora, New Mexico. As
they explore the landscape of the west they learn the cost
of friendship, love, and the value of education.
The Daybreakers stands out as one of Louis’
finest novels and was certainly one of his favorites. It spans
a great deal of western history from the early cattle drives
to the legal battles and racial tension over land distribution
in early New Mexico Territory. It includes some of L’Amour’s
greatest characters; the hard bitten Tyrell Sackett and his
all too affable older brother Orrin; Tom Sunday, the powerful
man who starts as their mentor only to become consumed with
hatred and jealousy; the scheming Jonathan Pritts and his
lovely daughter Laura, soon to become Laura Sackett; Don Luis,
the embattled owner of the Alvarado Land Grant and his feuding
lieutenants Juan Torres and Chico Cruz.
L’Amour established the family’s
roots in Elizabethan England.
While continuing to write Sackett stories set
in the old west, Louis L’Amour also went back to establish
the family’s roots in Elizabethan England. “Sackett’s Land”
and “To the Far Blue Mountains” have much of their action
set in the British Isles. “The Warrior’s Path” splits it’s
local between the Spartan conditions of the early Pilgrim
colonies and the tropical chaos of Port Royal, Jamaica, headquarters
to the pirates plying the Spanish Main. “Jubal Sackett” travels
west to what would become Colorado in the time of the Conquistadors.
intended to write another
or eight Sackett stories.
The jump in time to “Ride the River” unfortunately
shows us how much this series suffered from Louis’ death.
This story is set in the 1830s and concerns young Echo Sackett
and her troubles claiming an inheritance in Philadelphia and
along her way home. Louis had originally intended to write
another seven or eight Sackett stories. One was to have covered
the Revolutionary War period, there was to have been a Mountain
Man novel about Tell and Orrin’s father, a story about Tell’s
experiences in the Civil War, and several others. Luckily,
the stories were not written as an ongoing “serial” and so
each can be enjoyed for it’s own sake. In addition, Sackett
characters appear momentarily in other L’Amour novels and
there are two Tell Sackett short stories available.
. . if you fight one of us and beat him
you’ve got to fight us all.”
Louis L’Amour’s inspiration for the Sackett
characters was a pair of young cowboys that pulled him out
of a street fight in Tucumcari, New Mexico when he was fifteen.
When Louis asked them why the other boys had seemed so afraid
of them the older one explained that they were cousins and
between them they had over a dozen brothers . . . “and if
you fight one of us and beat him, you’ve got to fight us all.”
Louis spent only a few days with them, talking through the
evenings and riding the Pecos valley but their sense of clan-like
loyalty and simple but honest philosophy stayed with him.
Years later, exploring the desert west of Yuma,
Arizona, Louis came upon a spot called Sackett’s Well. Named
after a Lt. Delos Sackett, this bleak desert watering hole
gave him the name for his fictional family. After his initial
success with “The Daybreakers,” “Lando,” and “Sackett,” L’Amour
committed himself to an enormous project; to write a series
of adventure stories touching on all eras of American history.
Through the eyes of three families, the Sacketts, the Chantrys,
and the Talons, he intended to take us on a tour of the past
from the 1590s to the 1890s. Sadly, Louis did not live long
enough to write more than half of the stories that he intended.