Legendary western author Max Evans has spent his entire life working with cows and horses. These rangeland animals, and other creatures both domestic and wild, play pivotal roles in his stories. This magnificent collection, beautifully illustrated by cowboy artist Keith Walters, showcases twenty-six animal tales penned by Evans during his long and celebrated career.
Both fiction and nonfiction, the stories in this collection get us inside the heads and hearts of numerous four-legged critters—dogs, horses, burros, goats, cattle, deer, coyotes, and more. “The Old One,” for example, shows us the world through the eyes of a prairie dog as she watches her latest litter of pups rolling and tumbling around the mound and thinks of all the things she will need to teach them. And in “The One-Eyed Sky,” an aging cow with a new calf and an old coyote with a litter to feed circle each other warily, trying to protect their young, until a rancher intervenes. Not one to shy away from difficult subjects, Evans also delves into the “animal nature” of human beings, as in “The Heart of the Matter,” where two Vietnam vets and friends kill a deer and then turn their rifles on each other.
These captivating tales display Evans’s trademark mix of raucous humor and vivid, poetic descriptions of the high plains of West Texas and his beloved Hi-Lo Country in northeastern New Mexico. He reminds his readers of simpler times and more honorable people even as he evokes the merciless environment in which his characters, both animal and human, struggle to survive.
“Animal Stories is the work of an exceptional storyteller and literary artist. Few writers can compete with Max Evans’s firsthand knowledge of cowboys, cows, horses, and the great southwestern landscape where he has lived and worked all his life.”—Dale L. Walker, author of Westward: A Fictional History of the American West