But I Digress – Louis L’Amour, Favorite Son of Jamestown North Dakota

Jamestown, North Dakota.

One of the more interesting attractions in Jamestown’s Frontier Village (see last week’s Travel Tuesday post,) is the building known as Louis L’amour’s writing shack. The building has nothing to do with where he wrote as he left Jamestown as a teenager, but is instead an homage to his prolific writing. Born the last of seven children in the midwestern farming community of Jamestown, North Dakota, Louis spent the first fifteen years of his life there. Though he never finished high school, he was a self-educated man, for a short time a prize fighter, a hobo riding the American railroads, and eventually one of the most successful and prolific writers in the 20th century. 

The writer’s shack features a minuscule display of his books. For most of his career, he wrote for Bantam Books. Continually popular, none of his many Bantam Book titles have ever been out of print. Born in 1908, L’Amour spent most of his eighty years on the planet practicing his craft. Shortly before his death in 1988, he learned that total global sales of his works exceeded 200 million copies. Since his death, re-releases and newly released materials have generated over 120 million more sales.

A collection of his typewriters on display in the writer’s shack along with photographs and other memorabilia surround a television featuring a video interview of the author. While mostly known for his western novels, L’Amour also wrote poetry and his years as a merchant seaman brought him around the world from Asia to the Arabia. Novels of his far east travels include “West from Singapore,” and “Night over the Solomons.”

Step into the writer’s shack on Louis L’Amour Lane and take a glimpse of one of the world’s most successful writers. The information on Louis L’Amour’s biography was gleaned from http://www.louislamour.com, a site dedicated to his books, movies and memorabilia.  The Louis L’Amour Trading Post offers much of his work for sale. For about $600 USD, you can buy the entire paperback collection of 117 novels plus other special books. You can check out the trading post site here. Maybe it’s about time I reacquainted myself with some of my favorite stories.

John Steiner

Postscript: One thing I discovered in my research is a collection of titles in a series about Hopalong Cassidy. I didn’t think Louis L’Amour had anything to do with those original books, or the movies and TV series that followed. In a very interesting article written by L’Amour’s son, I would discover the history behind four stories that L’Amour never admitted he wrote. His son would soon learn the truth and came to understand why his father chose to hide the fact that these stories, similar in style to Clarence Mulford’s original Cassidy books, were a product of L’Amour’s prolific pen. If you’re a fan of Hoppy or L’Amour, you’ll find the story of L’Amour’s Cassidy series an interesting read. Check it out here.


  1. Very interesting. My grandfather adored reading L’Amour’s books. I think I still have a few of them, I should dig them out and read them!

  2. Oh-man-I-used-to-read-the-hell-outta-L’amour!Especially-the-Sackett-series.

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