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North to the Rails: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 1982

4.6 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
Book 4 of 5 in the Chantry Series

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Tom Chantry wore no gun and wished no man harm. French Williams was a ruthless cattleman more than willing to use his weapon. But Tom needed Williams to help him drive a herd north to Dodge. Setting off together on a trail alive with danger, soft-spoken Chantry and hard-bitten Williams faced storms, treachery, and Indian attacks. Now the man some call a coward and the man many call a killer have no choice but to trust each other with their lives--for both have enemies and both are pursued by a violence from the past.

From the Back Cover

GUNNING FOR TROUBLE

Tom Chantry vowed he would live his life without ever carrying a gun. But when he drives a herd of cattle north of Dodge, he discovers that life is treacherous for an unarmed man -- especially for one who's been branded a coward. On the drive, Chantry encounters some of the land's most dangerous characters -- from notorious gunman French Williams and the murderous Talrim brothers, to a threatening tribe of Kiowa and an enigmatic femme fatale. As the drive twists Chantry's past and present together into a tangle of guilt, redemption, and buried family history, the line between friends and enemies grows faint -- and Chantry must sort out the people he can trust from those who want to do him harm....

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (December 1, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553280864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553280869
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Tom Chantry came from the East to the West to buy cattle then bring them to the railroads at Dodge. But when he backs down from a shoot-out with a drunk named Dutch Akins, everyone takes him for a coward and a man who doesn't keep his word. Tom can't find anyone now to buy cattle from or even help move them to the railroads. Tom must learn that he is now in the untamed land of the west where there is no law but only a man's courage and his gun.
Then Tom shocks everyone with how much nerve he has. He makes a deal with French Williams, a well-known man who everyone accuses of stealing cattle though there is no proof. He is said to be able to swindle anyone out of a cow deal. Tom says to Williams that if French Williams will supply the men to help take the herd to the rails, Chantry will give him some shares of the profit. Then Tom makes the deal more interesting. He says that if he himself can't keep up with the outfit and doesn't make it to Dodge City, French Williams will get all of the profit. Williams agrees to it.
Now Tom must be sure to keep up with the herd. But everyone forgets that his father was the famous Borden Chantry and that Tom knows what he's doing. Though at first he is against having a gun, he buys himself a gun and a rifle. And not only does he know how to shoot, he knows how to fight. Local outlaws and gunmen mistake him for a victim but they were going to learn that he is no greenhorn and not a man to be trifled with.
This is a great book to read!! When I first read it, I had such a hard time putting it down when I had to do other things. I couldn't stop reading it. It's very exciting and suspenseful. The character of Tom Chantry is really likable and I was rooting him on throughout the whole book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I miss Louis L'Amour. I first discovered him when I was in high school in the '80s, and I remember devouring his books one after another. I remember the sadness I felt when I found out he'd passed away. Though I prefer his Sackett stories (especially William Tell, my favorite Sackett), his chronicles of the Talon and Chantry families also make excellent reading. Heck, even his non-series novels are gripping (FALLON, FIRST FAST DRAW, BENDIGO SHAFTER, FLINT, REILLY'S LUCK...and these are just the ones off the top of my head; he's got many other fine novels). The very enjoyable NORTH TO THE RAILS is a Chantry novel.

NORTH TO THE RAILS tells the story of young Tom Chantry, a businessman from New York who journeys to rugged Nevada and quickly garners a reputation for cowardice when he backs out of a gunfight. This hampers his attempts to purchase a herd of cattle as most folks in the Old West hold the quality of courage in high esteem, and no one now trusts Chantry. Tom does finally end up with steer when he makes a chancy deal with French Williams, a cattleman of canny but dubious nature. The deal is that Williams and his shifty cowhands will herd the beef if Chantry accompanies them for the duration of the cattle drive. If, at any time, Chantry falls out before the trail's end, then Williams gets every last steer for himself.

Williams doesn't waste time in testing Chantry's mettle as he comes up with challenges and obstacles for Tom. But, here's the thing: just because a man doesn't believe in killing doesn't mean he won't fight for what he believes in. And Chantry may now be from the soft and civilized East, but he was born in the wild West, and his father, who had been a respected marshall, had taught him some things...

Two things about the prolific Mr.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I used to wonder why anyone read L'Amour when all the plots seemed the same. At some point, I picked up one (probably on vacation) and now I'm hooked. Sure, they're predictable - but so are 98% of the shows on TV. It doesn't mean they're not enjoyable.
I probably won't review many westerns, but this is a great one if you don't know which of his dozens to choose.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Tom Chantry, the son of Borden Chantry, starts out with the reputation of a coward with a distaste for guns - a character vastly different from the sort usually presented by L'Amour. L'Amour took a strong stance on guns in this book, with the wild west eroding Tom's idealism in an effort to show why guns are sometimes necessary. This story will appeal to advocates for the Second Amendment, serving as a clear example of how criminals don't bother to pay attention to laws.

The story felt splotchy, as though the seams showed in between the scenes. I know L'Amour didn't enjoy editing but this book, like many of L'Amour's books, contains typos and printing errors that I blame on the publishers. It's a missing (conjunctive) word or the wrong tense of a word in a passage not attempting a vernacular dialect; small things that should've been weeded out long ago because these books have been through multiple printings. The errors don't inhibit understanding of the passage but they are a minor annoyance that momentarily distracts me from the story.

My favorite part of this book is the ending because it exemplifies hubris. I'm not giving away more spoiler than that; I just want to note that the ending of this book has been my favorite from any of the books in either the Sacketts or Talon and Chantry series.
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