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Telegraph Days by Larry McMurtry
Telegraph Days finds author Larry McMurtry back in the Old West. It begins in the 1870s with Nellie and Jackson Courtright cutting their farther down from the barn beam where he'd hanged himself. They'd been traveling west from Virginia and they buried their father in No Man's Land, what was to become Oklahoma. Jackson found work in a nearby town as a deputy sheriff, and despite poor shooting skills, he somehow manages to kill six members of an outlaw gang. Nellie writes a dime novel about the gunfight, and its popularity and Jackson's fame provide them opportunities to move around the West. In the process, they meet many of the famous gunslingers of the era, including Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickok, Gen. George Custer, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, William Tecumseh Sherman and the Earp brothers. Telegraph Days pays homage to the Old West while stripping the facade off of many of its mythical characters. It's received mostly positive reviews with BookPage saying, "Telegraph Days is McMurtry at his best - a uniquely personal vision of the West, full of non-stereotypical characters and understated, wry humor."