Books: Horse Opera Trail

THESE THOUSAND HILLS (346 pp.)—A. B. Gufhrie Jr.—Houghton Mifflin ($3.95).

The events and characters of most historical novels about the U.S. West are interchangeable parts that have worn smooth with use. But in 1947 Montana's Alfred Bertram ("Bud") Guthrie Jr. took the opening of the West away from the cliché specialists with The Big Sky, a knowing, realistic book about the early traders, trappers and scouts that was as unashamedly rich in poetic evocation as it was in gritty plain talk. In 1949 came The Way West, a sober but richly authentic account of the great migration by wagon to the Pacific...

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