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Heller with a Gun: A Novel Paperback – June 1, 1998

4.3 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

It was a hard land that bred hard men to hard ways. King Mabry survived by his guns. He wasn't proud of his deadly skill, nor was he ashamed. He just lived with it every hard day on the frontier. When a traveling theatrical troupe hired a ruthless killer to guide them through the Wyoming wilderness, King Mabry--his guns at the ready-set out to follow their trail, and not blizzards, nor Indians, nor the wily guide would stop him.

From the Inside Flap

Tom Healy was in trouble. His theatrical troupe needed to get to Alder Gulch, Montana, and the weather was turning. Andy Barker promised Tom he could get them there safely, but Tom was reluctant to trust him: he had the lives of three actresses to consider, and his personal feelings for Janice further heightened his concern. Then King Mabry showed up. Although Tom didn't like the way he looked at Janice, he could see that Mabry made Barker uneasy. So Tom invited Mabry to join them. Tom was right to be worried, because Barker had a plan. He knew that the wagons carried something more than actors and scenery. He and his men were going to steal it any way they could. And that included murder.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (January 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553252062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553252064
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Easily in my top ten L'amours! The story may sound familiar - innocents led astray by sweettalking baddies and hero to the rescue. Thinking about it it seems to fuse "Westward the tide" and "The empty land"! But still the way L'amour develops the story - his dark portrayal of the hero - the way he builds the relationships between the characters - the action scenes - the not-so unpredictable twist in the end (quite like "The Empty Land"), give the work its individuality that will remain in your memory for a while. It still is in mine after years!
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Format: Paperback
This novel takes you from a warm fire to the icy wastes and carries you on a wild flight to survive the elements and overcome the threat to innocent travellers. A excellent adventure with a unexpected ending.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of Mr. Lamour's first books as the copyright in mine said 1955. Although I have seen a lot of themes repeated in later books. This book was a charm to read. A lot of wilderness survival in this book, compared to some of the others. It was a quick read and a pleasant one. The main character King Mabry I would have liked to see in his other books, but I doubt I will. I have read 15 book from Lamour at the time of this review. I would recommend it. For being a earlier example of his work, just goes to show he was always a good writer.
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Format: Paperback
I've read a lot of Louis L'Amour. I love the Sackett books, but of his non-series novels, this is one of the best. King Mabry is no hero, by his or any other's opinion. But when he sees that an innocent theatrical troupe is being set up for ambush, he can't help himself. Great action, good characters, and a surprise ending make this one of the better L'Amours.
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Format: Paperback
Why did Louis L'Amour have to shoehorn a schmaltzy romance into what could have been a lean, mean Western yarn? That infernal love triangle with King Mabry, Tom Healy and Janice Ryan just ground to a halt the momentum of the story and soured the closing quarter of the book, where this long-simmering subplot began boiling over into the primary plot, that of King Mabry escorting a hapless theater troupe up through Wyoming into Montana in a brutal winter, their tracks dogged by a band of greedy gunmen as well as by roving bands of renegade Sioux Indians.

A strength of the story is seeing a seasoned man of the west--King Mabry--saddled with a group of five city-folk from back East. Mabry originally wanted nothing to do with them, meeting them at the Hat Creek Station as he was moseying south and they northwest. But their naivete, Tom Healy's plucking a gold coin from a full pouch in full view of wide-eyed, greedy dry-gulchers, for example, troubled his conscience, knowing they would be easy prey for the hard-bitten men bred by a hard land to hard ways (to paraphrase my copy's cover blurb, pulled from the closing line of Chapter One). And not only Mabry's conscience was stirred--he had an eye for Janice Ryan, one of the singers in the troupe. That coupled with his learning that Andy Barker--a fugitive killer from the Plummer Gang--was hired to lead the two wagons over the wintry expanse, motivates Mabry to follow along and watch for trouble, which invariably arises.

The troupe of tenderfoot thespians is led by Healy, who is also in love with Janice. Doc Guilford is a "charming old windbag," writes L'Amour. A 17-year-old ingenue, Dodie, and an older woman, Maggie, who is stricken with pnuemonia, round out the cast.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As alway, a good read. I don't think Louis L'Amour could write a boring book if he tried. Yes, there are some things we know to expect: tough guy, a little romance, but I like that. I just like the way L'Amour tells a story.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book decades after I saw the movie. If you aren't aware of it, the movie is "Heller In Pink Tights." It stars Anthony Quinn and Sophia Loren.
The movie version has few changes in the story. Fortunately, the changes are not enough to ruin the story. I liked the movies and the book that the story
came from.
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Format: Paperback
This Louis L'Amour western book is one of the best!
I have read it many years ago and I bought again this book recently !
If you like Hondo as well as Last Stand at Papago Wells,then this book is a must to read and to have!
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