America Re-Imagined, in Retrospect: Fifty Notable American Novels about the “West”: 6-8.


Capps, Benjamin. The Trail to Ogallala.  New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1964.

The Trail to Ogallala is Capps’s most acclaimed novel, receiving the Spur Award of Western Writers of America, for best western novel of 1964, the Levi Strauss Golden Saddleman Award, for best western writing of 1964, and a citation by National Association of Independent Schools as one of ten best books of 1964 for pre-college readers.  In addition, the American Booksellers Association selected it for inclusion in the White House library.

The novel focuses on one of the last great cattle drives from Texas to the Kansas railheads.  Those who are participating in the cattle drive are aware that the open range is disappearing as ranchers begin to string barbed wire across the plains and that the rails being laid along all of the old trails are making the drives unnecessary.  So there is a poignant…

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