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The Hi Lo Country Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 1998

3.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Max Evans was a rancher and best friend of the Big Boy Hittson, the character who was the subject of The Hi Lo Country. Max is the real deal, and his cowboy authenticity comes through on every page. Max has written 30 books of fiction and non-fiction, including The Rounders, which, like The Hi Lo Country, was also made into a major motion picture as well as a TV series.


Keith Walters grew up in Springer, New Mexico and graduated with a BS from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff in 1980. A self taught artist, illustrator, and sculptor, he spent more than ten years as a working cowboy on ranches of Nevada, Wyoming, and New Mexico. He has spent the past twenty three years in the art department as a feature filmmaker with credits in such films as NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, TRUE GRIT, and LINCOLN. He makes his home in Miami, New Mexico. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (December 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425168077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425168073
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,345,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The Hi-Lo Country, by Max Evans; published 1962

I was attracted to this book after seeing only part of the movie on the Independent Film Channel a few years ago. Of what I saw, I liked the job Woody Harrelson did and the story was about one of my favorite subjects - cowboys. I found the book by researching the movie. I was even more intrigued when I learned that Sam Peckinpah had tried and tried to make this story into a film for over 20 years. Due to multiple battles with studios, ownership of film rights, money, and lawyers, he couldn't get it done. Evans said: "The book was batted around like a rock `n' roll groupie." In the end, Scorsese was one of the producers of the 1998 film.

The out-of-print book is only 180 pages long and it tells the story of Big Boy Matson, the protagonist, from the voice of his best pal Pete West. The problem presented to the reader comes early and isn't resolved until the end - they both fall in love and are obsessed with the same woman on the same day - and she's married. An underlying theme, however, is the nature of the land and the character of the people who inhabit it. Hi-Lo country refers to an area covering the northeastern half of New Mexico, much of southern Colorado, and extends into West Texas. There is constant wind "about 300 days a year" and descriptions of the severe cycles of drought and debt with the occasional year of prosperity.

It's also about the transition of the old ways taught by the real cowboys of 1870 to 1900 to another generation still living in the 30's and 40's - from the use of horses and wagons to the increasing use of pickup trucks after the war. In the 1988 introduction, Evens said: "The younger cowboys I worked, sweated, fought, and played with are aging now.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This little book is nearly on par with Steinbeck's masterpiece, Cannery Row. It may be hard to believe, as with Cannery Row's Mack and the Boys, that these people were real. Evans had the good fortune to spend time in these wild places where people of the same spirit somehow came together and as individuals were doing battle every bit as much with the coming of the reign of accountants and bankers as they were the harsh elements of the land they inhabited. They could fend off years of drought, blizzards and coyotes, but in the end were undone by the stealthier predator, finance.

It is a dull man who can not understand Pete's infatuation with Mona and how he could risk everything of value to have her. I feel sorry for anyone who has not known that feeling certain women can bring on, and would not care to drink with the man who would act more sensibly

The clash of an era quickly dying with the onslaught of modern ranching makes for not only a good story, but an important one. Max Evans does a good job of telling that story.
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By A Customer on January 12, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was disappointed in the setup of the love triangle upon which the story depends. The author violated that old rule of thumb--"Show, don't tell." This weak launchpad left me wondering throughout the story: Why is he so nuts about this woman?
On the other hand, there's a whole parade of colorful characters throughout the book, and they're all great. A typical problem with such characters is that they seem contrived--merely the product of some novelist's desire to invent the quirkiest possible cast. But not these folks. You believe that every last one of them could, and in fact do, exist.
The ending's good too. I won't give it away. I'll just say that it's realistic, and the way the protagonist reacts to the whims of fate shows his admirable character at its best.
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By S. Hall on February 22, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I greatly enjoyed the film adaptation was a pleased to finally read the book it is based off it. It is an excellent story and has much more depth than the film--both are equally good and the film is one of my all time favorite Westerns. I just wish I had brought a psychical copy of the book instead of a kindle download.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This classic (and filmed) book chronicles, on one level, a story of male friendship and rivalry over a beautiful woman, and, on another level, set in Hi Lo, New Mexico, with its vast cattle ranches, and derelict town with two saloons, the ways of the cowboy in the mid-twentieth century. Pete tells the story of the life and death of his friend, Big Boy Matson, with the traditional, rousing ingredients of rodeos, fist-fights, games of poker, the stubborn bonds of friendship between men, the powerful emotions and passions between men and women, the integral inter-dependence of horse and man, and the terrain and its cowboys, all told in a restrained, yet authentic voice, as quiet and firm as the features of the haunting landscape. This graphically-written novel reads like an elegiac farewell to a cherished way of life, with its loyalties, loves, excitements and diversions, etched in such clearly-defined lines that its filmic possibilities--dark figures drawn across a haunting landscape--stand out a mile. Superb.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book on ranch life in New Mexico following WWII. The book was made into a movie and I thought the movie was better and more vivid than the book.
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