Thursday, July 28, 2022

Sophia Rose Reviews: The Tall Stranger by Louis L’Amour, narrated by Robert Petkoff

Today Sophia Rose is back to review one of her favorite authors in western fiction, The Tall Stranger by Louis L'Amour.

The Tall Stranger by Louis L’Amour, narrated by Robert Petkoff

Western Fiction

Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio

Published: 6.28.22

ISBN:  0593633989

Time:  4 hours 20 minutes

Rating: 4.5 stars

Narration: 5 stars

Format: MP3

Source: Penguin Random House Audio

Sellers:  Amazon

ADD TO: GoodReads


GoodReads Blurb:

Wagon trains heading west were forced to defend themselves against Indians, cope with injuries and illness, and struggle to find food. The group of easterners Rock Bannon was scouting for faced another problem. They were being deceived. When he warned them to remain on the Humboldt Trail, Sharon Crockett and the others refused to listen. Mort Harper, a stranger riding a beautiful black mare, had dazzled them with his charm and good looks. The southern route was the best way to go, Harper told them. But best for whom? Bannon wondered. That route led straight to the Salt Lake Desert. The conditions would be brutal. And if Harper wasn't steering them toward those deadly alkali flats, where were they headed? And what would happen once they got there?


Sophia Rose's Review:

A wagon train headed to California allows themselves to be suckered by a silver-tongued charmer with an agenda of his own and refuse to listen to the tall stranger who advices them to stay on the known trail.  Louis L’Amour’s tale of western conflict balances hard shooting action with character-driven conflict for a winning, quick read.


The Tall Stranger is more novella than novel and presents a tight plot, fast-paced development, and quick character sketches and action points as a result.  This said, it doesn’t lack much.  The backdrop of wagon train and then rancher range war feeds the need of western lovers. 

There is even an interesting romance that is at the center of it all.  Sharon Crockett is part of the wagon train.  She was drawn to the injured stranger they come across and take along to help heal.  She likes tongue-tied Rock Bannon who’s never been around women much and liked his quiet hardworking ways until she let her head be turned by Mort Harper with his slick clothes, speech, and outward veneer of charm.  Rock was hurt by her allowing herself to be charmed and the way she snubbed him and his advice.  But, he tries hard to keep her and the others safe from their own stupidity when they leave the trail to go through Indian country and then try to squat on Hardy Bishop’s ranch land.  I wanted to dislike her for it, but she does eventually get a clue and tries to do what she can to make amends.

This one didn’t have a lot of saddle philosophizing and noticing the landscape around, but the listener is still left in little doubt that they are in wild country and among rough men.  I miss the deeper development of other books particularly of the lead character and his friends, but this was still an entertaining, riveting listen as Rock faces off against a scheming villain while trying to get the wagon train people to see the truth.


Robert Petkoff is a well-known narrator, but this was my first chance listening to his work.  He matched up to the tone of the book and the cast of characters superbly and I was immersed in his storytelling from the beginning.


All in all, this was a solid western tale that drew me into the world and the story.  It went fast, but was still rich in plot, characters, and backdrop.  Western lovers should definitely give it a go particularly in audio.


Author Bio:

Our foremost storyteller of the American West, Louis L’Amour has thrilled a nation by chronicling the adventures of the brave men and woman who settled the frontier. There are more than three hundred million copies of his books in print around the world.



Sophia’s Bio:

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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  1. Getting people to listen when you know they are being led down the wrong path or are listening to the wrong person must have been frustrating for him.

  2. Petkoff is a gem.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

    1. Oh yeah, I can definitely see what all the fuss is about. :)

  3. Legendary author. I haven't read his work in a while.

    1. I hadn't either, but I love getting his books on audio now. :)