Winner of the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, A.B. Guthries The Way West charts the journey of a wagon train from Missouri to Oregon. Sweeping in its depiction of the Western landscapes traversed, the novel is also filled with insight into the everyday details of human nature, exploring not only the physical trials involved in such an arduous journey but also the motivations for undertaking it in the first place. Lije Evans, the fair-minded and well-respected man who ends up leading the train, and Dick Summers, the mountain man who is showing the way (a recurring character in several of Guthries Western novels), anchor the story. But Guthrie also lets us walk alongside many other members of the train at various times, shifting the point of view to show the same events through more than one set of eyes. His eloquent but never overly romantic prose puts the reader fully in the setting and the moment, whether its a massive buffalo stampede, a treacherous river crossing, a poignant death, a matter-of-fact frontier wedding, or the everyday heroics required simply to keep the people and animals fed and the wagons rolling ever westward.
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Works by A.B. Guthrie Jr.