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Bill Goodman

This Month's Theme:
Short Month, Long Books
Books for February

The Way West
by A.B. Guthrie Jr.

Sunday, Feb. 14 at 6:30/5:30 am CT and 11:30/10:30 pm on KET2

The Way West—the winner of the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction—tells the sweeping tale of a wagon train journey from Missouri to Oregon in the 1840s. In spare, straightforward language, A.B. Guthrie captures the vast majesty of the Western landscape and the daunting challenges that pioneering families faced along the Oregon Trail.

Guthrie was an Indiana native who spent his childhood in Montana. But in 1926, after graduating from college, he came to Kentucky to work as a reporter and editor for the old Lexington Leader. He was still there more than 20 years later, when he published The Big Sky, the first of six novels on America's westward expansion. The last in the series, Fair Land, Fair Land (1982), continues the story of Dick Summers, the mythic scout featured in The Big Sky and The Way West.

In 1957, after a successful 1952 screen adaption of The Big Sky, The Way West was made into a film starring Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, and Richard Widmark. Guthrie also wrote the screenplay for Shane, the Oscar-nominated Western masterpiece that debuted in 1953.

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