“The Smiling Country is about a footloose puncher who finds out the hard way that cowboys don't remain young forever and that the inevitable wear and tear of a rugged life forces changes and compromises on the willing and unwilling alike.”— Elmer Kelton
Hewey Calloway did not know how old he was without stopping to figure, and that distracted his attention from matters of real importance.
Elmer Kelton introduced Texas cowboy Hewey Calloway, one of the most beloved characters in Western fiction, almost thirty years ago in The Good Old Boys. The novel was transformed into a memorable 1995 TV film starring Tommy Lee Jones and Sissy Spacek.
Hewey returns in The Smiling Country. It is 1910 and his freewheeling life is coming to an end—the fences, trucks, and automobiles he hates are creeping in even to remote Alpine, in the “smiling country” of West Texas. When he is badly injured trying to break a renegade horse, Hewey sees the loneliness that awaits him, and regrets his decision to run away from the only woman he has ever loved, the schoolteacher Spring Renfro.
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“The Smiling Country is a superb Kelton—a warm, nonviolent tale with captivating characters, a sweet love story, the flavor of a better time that has sadly passed.”—Rocky Mountain News
Elmer Kelton (1926-2009) was the award-winning author of more than forty novels, including The Time It Never Rained, Other Men’s Horses, Texas Standoff and Hard Trail to Follow. He grew up on a ranch near Crane, Texas, and earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas. His first novel, Hot Iron, was published in 1956. Among his awards have been seven Spurs from Western Writers of America and four Western Heritage awards from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. His novel The Good Old Boys was made into a television film starring Tommy Lee Jones. In addition to his novels, Kelton worked as an agricultural journalist for 42 years, and served in the infantry in World War II. He died in 2009.