The Daybreakers ~ Louis L’Amour

Orrin Sackett had to be pushed into a fight.

But Tyrel Sackett was born to trouble.

The night Tye stepped between his brother and a bullet changed them both forever. Now their trail pointed west, to a lawless frontier town called Sante Fe. Orrin took the job of marshal, while Tye commanded respect without a badge. When a loose end from their past turns up, one brother will be forced to revert to his old ways—if the other’s dreams are to be realized.…

The Daybreakers

When we decided to do classic western novels, I grabbed this one FAST before the other Petticoats & Pistols fillies could snag it.

Out of all the estimated one zillion book Louis L’Amour has written, this is my favorite. It’s got a few elements that make it my top choice…and let me say here that I LOVE Louis L’Amour. I’ve read everything he’s written…yes…even the poetry.

But his dynastic family, The Sacketts, were my favorites. Jubal Sackett is epic. But The Daybreakers is the first Sackett novel set in the true cowboy era.

Tyrel Sackett is a dangerous man. He doesn’t like being pushed and when he is, he doesn’t waste a lot of time giving a man a chance to see the error of his ways and back down. Orrin is a silver tongued devil. He’s got the charm, the winning ways, the story telling and singing gifts. He’s a hard man but he’s got a nice polish.

Tye shoots a man with a lot of friends to save Orrin. The need to get out of town because a lot of people are after then. They light a shuck for the western lands and push a herd of cattle along with them.

Tye and Orrin team up with gentleman scholar Tom Sunday and old time mountain man Cap Roundtree as they make their way west.

It is a Louis L’Amour-ism that the west stripped all the artifice off a man’s character. It revealed who he really was. It was a land that a strong man grew into. If he was weak, there was nowhere to hide, no law to smooth his way.

Tyrel and Orrin are strong men and the freedom of the west reveals that. They face the challenges along the way west and find a home. But the real twist in this book is what the west does to Tom Sunday. As it molds Tyrel, Orrin and Cap into hard, honorable men, it reveals an ugliness inside Tom Sunday. The book tells through Tyrel and Orrin the story of the settling of the west, but it also progresses to that day when Orrin Sackett may be forced to kill a man he once called friend, and Tyrel Sackett may once again have to step in between his brother and a bullet.

Tell Sackett is my favorite of the brothers–and off the top of my head I know he starred in three books and had bit parts in several others–so I’m thinking he was L’Amour’s favorite, too. But Tyrel is the best of them, I’d say. He has the mean streak and the speed to be a gunfighter. But he wants home and family and peace. His is an unusually wise and powerful personality and he creates a home for himself that is the envy of all who knows him, and he is wise enough to hold that home, treasure it and defend it with his lightning fast guns–while only using those guns to fight evil.

Orrin isn’t as fast as Tye, though that may make him the SECOND fastest fun in the west. But Orrin would rather talk his way out of trouble. I felt bad about Orrin. He married poorly and that seemed wrong considering that the Sacketts are supposed to be smarter than that. That beautiful, nasty wife of his causes trouble for the Sackett family for years to come.

L’Amour may have written other books as good as this one. But none better. I pick it up and re-read it every once in a while when I want to revisit the wild west.

The movie The Sacketts is a combination of Daybreakers and The Sackett Brand, which is part of Tell Sackett’s story. And nobody does a cowboy better than Sam Elliot–and he’s Tell, so maybe that’s part of why I like Tell so much. Tom Selleck is Orrin and he’s a fine cowboy, too, right there in Elliot’s league. It’s ironic that the character I consider the real foundation of The Daybreakers is played in the movie by someone I’ve never heard of since.

The Daybreakers…if you haven’t read it, you’re reallly missing out.

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Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series

19 thoughts on “The Daybreakers ~ Louis L’Amour”

  1. Mary, you’re a woman after my own heart. Like you, I think I read every western Louis Lamour wrote, although I drew a line at the poetry. The Sacketts was the mini series that put Sam Elliott and Tom Selleck on the map as enduring western characters, but it was Jeff Osterhage (Tyrel) I fell in love with. I’ll never forget the scene where Tye is riding Orrin about the “narrow between the eyes, yellow-haired gal.” Ben Johnson was also terrific in this. Thanks for the memory. :o)

  2. Hi Mary,
    I had the pleasure of meeting and having lunch with Louis L’amour in Santa Barbara when I was an aspiring writer. He talked like he wrote. Lovely man. I never liked the way he wrote women and was pleasantly surprised to hear his plan to write a book about a strong, capable womam who saved herself and her children from Indians. As far as I know he never wrote the book but he talked about her so vividly it’s almost like he did.

  3. Louis L’amour was a great one, Mary. I confess I haven’t read him extensively (one of these day’s I plan to read more) but I did see the movie you mentioned. Anything with Tom Selleck in it works for me. Thanks for a fun blog.

  4. Mary, my grandfather had every Louis L’Amour book ever published and now my mom and brother have the books. they’re big fans. i’m just becoming one, but after reading this, i may pick up the books you mentioned.

  5. Margaret, YOU MET LOUIS L’AMOUR???!!!!!
    I AM IN AWE!!!!!

    Have you ever read Ride the River? It’s about a female Sackett.
    Fantastic book. Echo Sackett is so confident. She’s got a fortune in her pack and someone tries to kill her to steal it, in the city where she goes to collect her inheritance. Instead of going to the law, she runs for the mountains. She knows, if she can just get into the mountains, not only will she be completely safe on her own, but the other Sacketts who live in the Cumberland Mountains will hear there’s a Sackett in trouble and come a’running.
    The only real problem she has is a man who insists on coming along to protect her. He’s slowing her down badly. Now she’s got to save herself (no problem) and keep this city boy alive, too.

  6. I could never really forgive Orrin for marrying badly. It flew in the face of all the common sense of the Sacketts.
    The moment at the end of the book where Tye faces down Tom Sunday is so classic.
    The real trouble always seems to be between Orrin and Tom. But Tye is the wicked fast draw. Tom is too. And they know, the real showdown, is between them.

  7. Narrow between the eyes. LOL, Devon, that is always how Tye talked about Orrin’s wife.

    Tye saw there was something wrong with her instantly. Orrin only saw she was a polished city lady with pretty blonde curls, who smiled at him nice. Poor old Orrin.

  8. Michelle, my father in law was not really a man I thought of as a reader. But he read Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour with true devotion. It was an interesting side of a outdoorsy kind of man.

  9. Ooooh! I love L. L’Amour’s books. I’ve been reading/re-reading them for around 20 years.

    RIDE THE RIVER and LANDO are two favorites in the Sackett series, and of course I love the L’Amour movie versions of The Sacketts and The Shadow Riders. LAST OF THE BREED is another favorite; not a western, but related to the Sacketts.

    CHICK BOWDRIE is another all-time-favorite of mine. Hmmm…I think I’m going to the bookshelf and pull a L.L. to re-read. Thanks for the post and the tribute to L’Amour!

  10. And didn’t Echo Sackett end up married to a Chantry? Am I remembering that right? L’Amour did a lot of Chantrys.
    And I remember one book, it bothers me sometimes because I can’t find it anymore.
    At the end of the book, here came … the hero or help or I just can’t remember … but a group of men rode in in such a way that they were going to save the day. Or the hero rode into some ranch and there were several men there … and it is mentioned in the most passing way that one of those men is Tell Sackett. It might be the only reference to him in the whole book, so slight. It’s not important to the plot at all, except I remember thinking, Tell is there! THEY ARE SAVED!!!!!!!!
    Does anyone remember that? Have any idea which book that was????

  11. Great post, Mary. I have a shelf of Louis L’Amour books. I have read a few, but most are in that suspended state of TBR. I just went up and pulled out THE DAYBREAKERS. It is sitting on the computer desk and will be the next book I read. Variety is good. I’ve just finished a six book series on New Orleans – the sword masters are cowboyish in their quest for justice and their own special woman. Am finishing up the second of two Harlequin Intriques, which is set in Colorado and is a bit of a modern cowboy story. A Sackett story will be perfect.

    I know at our library the L’Amour books were always checked out. Many of the patrons read and reread them.

    I never got to watch many movies. I can’t believe I have missed the ones made from L’Amour books, especially with Sam Elliot and Tom Selleck. Will have to look for this one.

  12. I grabbed my handy “The Sackett Companion” and looked up Tell Sackett. He appears in:
    I’m at work (library) and some of those titles aren’t on our shelves at the moment so I couldn’t check them to see which one he rides in with other Sacketts to ‘save the day’, but I do remember the scene you’re describing. I’ll have to check my collection when I get home.

    Yes, Echo Sackett from RIDE THE RIVER married Dorian Chantry. (Another name L’Amour loved to throw in from his Chantry mini-series. He also liked the Talons 🙂

  13. Oh, I also found that he (Tell) appeared in two short stories:

  14. YAY! We found a master of Louis L’Amour knowledge.

    I dont’ think Tell rode in with other SACKETTS, C. Dees. He was with others, like a hired hand on some ranch the hero rode into. Very minimal. It wasn’t a Sackett book at all, except for his tiny cameo appearance. (that I remember!)

    I haven’t read Louis for too long. I used to really know all this stuff.

  15. Great choice Mary, Louis L’Amour is one of the best voices in western fiction. And my dad’s favorite author. I believe that, “the Sacketts” is the best series from Mr. L’Amour. So glad you chose him fast before anyone else did!

  16. Mary,
    I love Louis L’Amour, too. What a great writer, and what an interesting life he had! When my dad got older, I started telling him about the L’Amour books I had read and how I enjoyed them. He seemed really surprised that I loved them like I did—my mom’s brother read many of them and had been singing their praises too, I guess, so my dad finally asked to borrow one. I started him out at the very beginning, and it wasn’t long until he outpaced me and leapt ahead, reading much farther into the books than I had so we couldn’t talk about them anymore until I caught up. I never did. But I am so glad that I was able to introduce him to those books, because he truly loved them. I think L’Amour chose some of the best names ever. Kin, Ring, Tell, just cool names that you won’t hear anyplace else. Loved your post and your insights.
    Cheryl P.

  17. I’m a bit of a L’Amour fan. I especially liked his stories about the Sacketts. Not only was I a fan of Tell, Orrin and Tyrel; but also of their aunt Echo, who was featured in the story, “RIDE THE RIVER”.

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