Louis L'Amour traveled the world in high style and low, and his exploits and experiences resulted in more than 125
books that have sold more than 300 million copies. But he always found his way back to Durango, and his presence is
still felt at the Strater Hotel and local bookstores more than 20 years after his death.
L'Amour's widow, Kathy, shares her late husband's love for this corner of Colorado, and she still owns a ranch west of
town. She stays involved in local goings-on as a board member of the Mesa Verde Foundation.
She's taking another extended vacation from her Los Angeles home this week and will appear at Sorrel Sky Gallery on
Saturday to sign copies of The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour: Volume Seven, which is the 20th book released
since Louis L'Amour died in 1988.
The L'Amours first came to Durango in 1966 (Louis had visited briefly 40 years earlier seeking mining work, but the
mine was already shut down by the time he arrived), and the author became a fixture in Room 222 at the Strater during
the summers. It was only a matter of time before the couple decided to plant roots in the early 1980s.
Louis and I looked everywhere, but nothing is comparable to Durango," Kathy L'Amour said Tuesday from Los Angeles.
It's unique, and we've had great experiences, but the greatest attraction was the people and the culture."
The latest collection of short stories is the final volume, and it includes a mix of previously published stories and
others that are being read for the first time. It is the third in the series that features Frontier Stories," some of
which first appeared in pulp-fiction magazines in the 1940s and '50s. Previous volumes in the series include crime and
Some of these were very early. Pulps were such a great training ground, so if you could write you had a marketplace,"
In the beginning he wrote for literary magazines, which were a little more prestigious, but you couldn't eat. The
pulps paid a little better, and from there he eventually started writing novels. So even the ones that were published
before haven't been seen in years and years."
L'Amour will appear at Sorrel Sky on the invitation of owner Shanan Wells. L'Amour has been friends with Wells'
parents, former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse and Linda Campbell, since she and Louis first began visiting the area. Wells'
gallery is a regular stop on L'Amour's visits to Durango.
Shanan asked me, and I'm happy to do it," she said.