Telegraph Days: A Novel
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From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lonesome Dove comes a big, brilliant, unputdownable saga of the Old West, told in the spunky courageous voice of a young woman named Nellie Courtright.
When twenty-two-year-old Nellie Courtright and her teenage brother Jackson are unexpectedly orphaned by their father’s suicide on his new and unprosperous ranch, they make their way to the nearby town of Rita Blanca, where Jackson manages to secure a job as a sheriff's deputy, while Nellie, ever resourceful, becomes the town’s telegrapher.
Together, they inadvertently put Rita Blanca on the map when young Jackson succeeds in shooting down all six of the ferocious Yazee brothers in a gunfight that brings him lifelong fame but which he can never repeat because his success came purely out of luck.
Propelled by her own energy and commonsense approach to life, Nellie meets and almost conquers the heart of Buffalo Bill, the man she will love most in her long life, and goes on to meet, and witness the exploits of, Billy the Kid, the Earp brothers, and Doc Holliday. She even gets a ringside seat at the Battle at the O.K. Corral, the most famous gunfight in Western history, and eventually lives long enough to see the West and its gunfighters turned into movies.
Full of life, love, shootouts, real Western heroes and villains, Telegraph Days is Larry McMurtry at his epic best.
pretended to be. Sometimes Billy Hickok would clap his hands to Father’s fiddling—that was about as excited as the man ever got. Thinking of Father undid me—right there in Mrs. Karoo’s kitchen a Mississippi of tears flooded out of my eyes. The tears fell like a waterfall. I tried to push my way outside but instead I stumbled into the churn. It was the thought of Father fiddling and Billy Hickok clapping that undid me. I guess my sobbing woke up Josh—by the time I caught my breath and dried my
Mrs. Karoo had persuaded Aurel to fight the Poles off a nice mess of buffalo liver, which turned out to be as good as advertised. Josh, the old mail runner, taught us how to season it with just a drop of bile from the creature’s spleen. Andy Jessup had allowed me to mend his vest—he even borrowed some trousers, so as not to appear a fool in Mrs. Karoo’s eyes. We were a jolly company, stuffing ourselves with liver and sauerkraut and fresh snap peas until two fools wandered in and interrupted our
fatal—but those six were instantly fatal, and you can quote me on that.” I did quote him on that, only to have various experts from various countries weigh in on the matter, most of them contradicting our good doctor and claiming that nothing of the sort could have happened. All afternoon, while Beau and Hungry Billy took pictures, I stayed in the office and let my pen race. Oh, how it raced! Before it stopped racing I had more than fifty pages ready for the printer, who, inconveniently, did
turtles in his trap, but none of his catch resulted in wonderful meals. “I expect you’ll be needing a job,” Aurel said to Jackson, as he was getting ready to lope off toward Rita Blanca—Percy’s pace was far too slow for Mr. Imlah. “Come see me at the hide yard,” he suggested. “I can usually find work for a stout young fellow like you.” Jackson, I could see, was about to burst out with thank-yous—but I had other plans for my little brother. Working with hides was smelly and I couldn’t hope to
saloons, warming up for their day by drinking beer. 6 HUNGRY BILLY WHELESS was a slouchy youth with buckteeth and a flagrant cowlick. He looked glad to see us and probably was—a day in Rita Blanca would make any decent person welcome the arrival of any other decent person, in my opinion. Hearing that Jackson had become a deputy sheriff gave him a start, for sure. “Why’d you want to be a deputy?” he asked. “Now all the killers will be after you, lickety-split. “Especially Mexican Joe,”