This book satisfied tens of thousands of readers almost one century ago when it was first published. White’s tale of young Andy Burnett, carrying Daniel Boone’s own long rifle, is as powerful today as it was when it was written in the 1930s.
The Long Rifle has a marvelous spirit that we have almost forgotten, filled with wonder at creation.
The Long Rifle is a uniquely American novel. It is a timeless coming-of-age story set in the wild Rocky Mountains during the early fur trade era. The Long Rifle recalls a time of endlessly expanding horizons, of extraordinary possibilities, of being one with the natural world, and of refreshing innocence. If you love this period of American history, this is a book you must have in your library.
Our storyteller does not so much write the tale as he does launch onto its primal energies and roar downstream with the current.
Yes, it is old-fashioned. It is heroic, sentimental, and romantic. It is touched with magnificence. It is imbued with the innocence and optimism that young people, about to venture into unknown worlds, want to believe in.
Fleeing his step-father, young Andy Burnett heads for the wild, untamed Rocky Mountains where adventure waits. His shoulder bears the long rifle of Daniel Boone, the very one carried by the legendary man on his first trip to Kentucky.
Our author beats the drums of the American myth. Burnet goes through the rituals of his first buffalo hunt, his first experience with love, a hair-breadth Indian fight-all test his character. He learns what it means to be a partner. He is intoxicated by seeing new country. He has shining times and starving times, and he loves them all.
Burnett changes from a youth to a man, and all that means. Then, much too soon, he feels it all slipping away, the grand adventure coming to its inevitable end. In this way, The Long Rifle is less a novel than a sacrament.
It is a campfire tale as old as the first humans. It reminds us of who we are, as campfire tales always do. This primal story has been told countless times on screen and in books. It is part of the American experience.
“I love the mountain man. The cowboy is a figure from realism, the mountain man from romance. In one of the most delicious scenes of all trapper tales, Vardis Fisher’s Sam rides down a ridge on a thunderstorm bellowing Beethoven back at the gods. No cowboy ever did that, at least not in a book.”
–Win Blevins, General Editor