Bendigo Shafter: A Tale About Homestead Living

An excerpt from a classic 1979 Western Novel by Louis L'Amour.

| Fall 2017

  • Cover of the 1979 Louis L'Amour Western novel Bendigo Shafter.
    Photo courtesy Bantam Books
  • Cover of Louis L'Amour's Lost Treasures: Volume 1, featuring a variety of stories.
    Photo courtesy Bantam Books

Where the wagons stopped we built our homes, making the cabins tight against the winter’s coming. Here in this place we would build our town, here we would create something new.

We would space our buildings, lay out our streets, and
dig wells to provide water for our people. The idea of it filled me with a heartwarming excitement such as I had not known before.

Was it this feeling of creating something new that held my brother Cain to his forge throughout the long hours? He knew the steel he turned in his hands, knew the weight of the hammer and where to strike, knew by the glow of the iron what its temperature would be; even the leap of the sparks had a message for his experience.

He knew when to heat and when to strike and when to dip the iron into the water; yet when is the point at which a group of strangers becomes a community? What it is that forges the will of a people?



This I did not know, nor had I books to advise me, nor any experience to judge a matter of this kind. We who now were alien, strangers drawn together by wagons moving westward, must learn to work together, to fuse our interests, and to become as one. This we must do if we were to survive and become a town.

No settlement lay nearer than Fort Bridger, more than a hundred miles to
the southwest … or so we had heard.






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