Larry McMurtry is a prolific writer who spins stories of the American West, many of which take place in Texas. Having read his Pulitzer prize-winning epic novel Lonesome Dove earlier this year, I was curious to read his earliest (and much slimmer) novel, Horseman, Pass By, written in 1961. An unsentimental, gritty, atmospheric work, Horseman, Pass By is set against the backdrop of a cattle ranch in post World War II Texas. Lonnie Brannon is the teenage grandson of Homer Brannon, an honest and hardworking old time cattle man who has owned the ranch for many years. Homer's stepson Hud also lives at the ranch, and Lonnie is both repulsed by and intrigued by Hud's selfish, ruthless and "mean" ways. McMurtry brings the tale to life with his description of the ranch landscape, the open sky, and the way a small town can make a person yearn to see the wider world.