Matagorda – Louis L’Amour

“When the morning came, the storm was gone. A few scattered clouds, ragged with a memory of yesterday’s winds, still remained in the sky. Only a small wind blew, and there was no rain.”

Louis L’Amour in Matagorda


Tap Duvarney has been hardened by war and the west, but now he seeks to make a name for himself in the cattle business. He finds a partner, Tom Kittery, and plans to make a cattle drive from Texas to Kansas. But the Kitterys are involved in a murderous feud with the Munsons, and Tap is now guilty by association. Intent on staying out of the feud, Tap focuses all his energy on the cattle. But his hand is forced to intervene as a hurricane is on Tap’s heels. He can either be hunted or become the hunter.


Before picking up Matagorda, I had been bored with my reading. I was picking up and putting down books one after the other and couldn’t get invested. But this book was so enjoyable and I couldn’t help but find time to read it as often as possible. 

This book is centered around action and keeps the story line constantly moving forward. But it doesn’t leave out the scenery. L’Amour describes the environment and characters so well and in such precision that I feel as if I am walking the dusty streets or riding horseback myself. Louis L’Amour’s use of description never felt overdone, but always just enough to get an idea of the world that Tappan is involved in.

This book also has a female character that I absolutely loved. I can’t give too much away, but she comes in near the end of the book and is the perfect embodiment of female strength and the power of love. I like a touch of romance in my reading now and then, and this was the right mixture of realistic and western romance.

In today’s world, I feel like western books are given a hard boot to the door and become far underappreciated. While at the same time, people are flocking to and loving western TV and films. There are several great western books, many by Louis L’Amour, that can bring just as much action and dust as the films.

Although this is only the second Louis L’Amour I’ve read, I have an entire collection waiting for me to crack open. Many more adventures are on the horizon.

Matagorda is the story of perseverance and one man’s desire to make a name for himself by his own hand – a name that he can be proud of.

Teacher Recommendation: This book is a great read and just short enough for reluctant readers. If you have students who are interested in action and adventure, fights and feuds, and a tiny touch of romance, this is the read for them. Matagorda is easily readable for high school students and even most middle schoolers. You can also use this book for model sentences, teaching sentence structure or appositives, metaphors, or imagery.

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