25 Best Western Novels

A list of the 25 best western novels as chosen by the Western Writers of America.


Western Writers of America (WWA), founded in 1953, is an organization of people interested in western literature, biography, history, and cinema. To qualify for membership, an individual must have contributed significantly to the literature of the West. Recently, the more than 300 current members of WWA were asked to select the 25 best western novels ever written.

1. The Virginian by Owen Wister

2. The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter van Tilburg Clark

3. Shane by Jack Schaefer

4. The Big Sky by A. B. Guthrie, Jr.

5. The Searchers by Alan Le May

6. Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey

7. Paso por Aqui by Eugene Manlove Rhodes

8. Bugles in the Afternoon by Ernest Haycox

9. The Long Rifle by Stewart Edward White

10. Vengeance Valley by Luke Short

11. The Hell Bent Kid by Charles O. Locke

12. Cheyenne Autumn by Mari Sandoz

13. Destry Rides Again by Max Brand

14. Hondo by Louis L'Amour

15. The Sea of Grass by Conrad Richter

16. Ride the Man Down by Luke Short

17. The Day the Cowboys Quit by Elmer Kelton

18. Stay Away, Joe by Dan Cushman

19. The Time It Never Rained by Elmer Kelton

20. True Grit by Charles Portis

21. Monte Walsh by Jack Schaefer

22. Flint by Louis L'Amour

23. From Where the Sun Now Stands by Will Henry

24. Hombre by Elmore Leonard

25. The Wonderful Country by Tom Lea

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