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The Searchers

The Searchers

Book - 2013
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From the moment they left their homestead unguarded on that scorching Texas day, Martin Pauley and Amos Henry became searchers. First they had to return to the decimated ranch, bury the bodies of their family, and confront the evil cunning of the Comanche who had slaughtered them. Then they set out in pursuit of missing Lucy Henry. In the years that follow, Amos and Henry survive storms of nature and of men, seeking more than a missing girl, and more than revenge. Both are driven by secrets, guilt, love, and rage. Defying the dangers all around them, two men become frontier legends, searching for the one moment, and the one last battle that will finally set them free.
Publisher: New York : Pinnacle Books/Kensington Publishing Corp., 2013
ISBN: 9780786031429
0786031425
Branch Call Number: WESTERN LEMAY 2013
Characteristics: xl, 308 pages ; 18 cm

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Petehere99 Jul 20, 2020

My interest in the The Searchers began some years back as I was leafing through an old Hollywood book for an image to paint. One photo that captured my attention was of an old western, The Searchers, starring John Wayne. The still photo takes place at the end of the film where Wayne, as Ethan Edwards, stands apart from the rest of the cast looking out onto an open prairie and to an uncertain future now that the search (not to mention the movie) was over. I love that now iconic image and hope the painting did it justice. Of course, after the paint had dried I just had to watch the movie. I am pleased to write that the film did not disappoint. John Wayne was at his best and it was great to see Jeffrey Hunter and Natalie Wood in co-starring roles. And if you loved the movie as much as I did, I highly recommend a book about the film called The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend by Glenn Frankel. In his book you will learn about the true story The Searchers was based upon (that being the 1836 abduction of 9 year old Cynthia Ann Parker by Comanche warriors on the edge of the Texas frontier), the myths that sprang from the true story, and the subsequent novel The Searchers by Alan LeMay that the film was based upon. After reading Frankel’s book, I checked out LeMay’s novel from the library. I expected a dime store western (boy is that a dated reference), but what I got was an astonishing novel that is not only about the search for a kidnapped girl, but also a novel about revenge and racism and the possibility of redemption in a hard land with changing times ahead. It’s no wonder that the book was made into a film so soon after its publication. As a western, I would have to rank it right up there with True Grit by Charles Portis (its movie also starring John Wayne!) and any of Cormac McCarthy’s classic novels such as Blood Meridian and No Country for Old Men, and Shane by Jack Schaefer. I confess I’ve only read the beginning of Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, which I know is a favorite of many. I hope to pick that one up again soon. So now am I finally done with The Searchers? With such a fascinating history of Native Americans and the prairie settlers alike, and with the excellence of artistic representation, I just don’t know if I ever can be.
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Mar 17, 2020 [edit]

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