Book Review: The Day The Cowboys Quit

October Book Review by Jeremy Krones

The Day the Cowboys Quit

BY Elmer Kelton

It is a great shame that the book that was once called “one of the Best Western Novels of all time” has so quickly fallen into obscurity. The Day the Cowboys Quit by Elmer Kelton is indeed one of the best Westerns ever written - it has every story element needed in a good, solid novel, and is only enhanced by the fact that the story is based on a real-life tale of unity, protest, and self-determination.

Kelton used events from the mid-1880s, wherein a number of cowboys effectively unionized against their overbearing ranch owners and managers, to promote the classic Western values of individualism, open space, and freedom. While this exact story certainly wouldn’t happen today, the book club noticed many similar elements (on all sides of the fight) reminiscent of modern events. The biggest complaint, however, was that the women (two with any significant lines) were one-dimensional. That is a facet of most classic Westerns, but one that is changing.

We highly recommend this book for your immediate pleasure!