Louis L'Amour's Flint

James T. Kettleman is dying, and decides to return to the West where he was raised in order to die alone rather than staying in New York with his wife who is actually trying to have him killed. He adopts the name of Flint in honor of the man -- an outlaw -- that took him in when he was an orphan and raised him in the spirit of the West, teaching him about guns, life, and death. On his way out West Flint meets Nancy Kerrigan who must defend her land, bought and passed down by her father, from the encroachment of the crowds coming out to the now-developing West. Flint ends up helping her in this endeavor, using his skill with a gun and his willingness to face death -- something that he is coming up against soon, anyway -- to save her farm and to avenge the death of his benefactor, the original Flint. In the end, the new Flint dies, too, but after finding and helping a true love.

Plot Chart

Exposition: James T. Kettleman is dying; Nancy Kerrigan is young, beautiful, and in trouble, and Kettleman clearly knows how to use a gun.

Rising action: Nancy's land is in jeopardy; men are after Kettleman (Flint) trying to kill him; Flint decides to help Nancy.

Climax: the series of gunfights in town where a large number of people are killed.

Falling action: Nancy and Flint meet for the last time, the few remaining bad guys slink off, Flint is wounded.

Resolution: Nancy land is safely in her hands (for now), Flint's wife is left frustrated in her designs, and Flint ultimately des, though not alone as he had planned.


The novel is told from a third-person omniscient point-of-view, which allows the motives and secret thoughts of any and all characters to be made explicitly clear to the reader at any time. This is a highly effective way of telling the story because it makes the emotional and intellectual impact and intention of ach moment quite clear, allowing the reader to see how different characters interpret and react to the same situation. It also makes each of the characters appear far more human, because the thought processes, confusions, uncertainties, and misconceptions that lead to what might otherwise appear to be incongruous actions are clearly laid out. With these explanations, the manners in which situations are reacted to and the depth of the emotive values and motivations that exist in the story become much more clearly known.


It would be impossible to tell this story in any other setting, just as it would be impossible to transpose any other Western to a different time and place. Nowhere else in human history has an undeveloped wilderness been so directly and closely juxtaposed to a major developing power; even the arrival of Europeans in the New World took place at a different pace and in an altogether different spirit. The Wild West was a time/place where laws did exist, but they didn't exactly matter; and where the luxuries of developed society could be found and obtained but where they were frowned upon by many. The setting is full of these contradictions, and this enhances the apparent contradictions in many of the characters, as well.…