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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Good Old Boys and The Smiling Country

The Good Old Boys and The Smiling Country

Two Classic Westerns

Elmer Kelton

Forge Books


The Good Old Boys and The Smiling Country pairs two wonderful novels by one of the most honored of all western writers, Elmer Kelton

The Good Old Boys

Hewey Calloway has a problem. He wants to be a footloose cowboy, endlessly wandering the land on horseback, but the open range of his childhood is slowly disappearing. Land is being parceled out, barbed-wire fences are springing up all over, and cars are replacing the horse as a mode of transportation. Swimming against the tide of “progress,” Hewey begins to understand that the time of the cowboy is over, that the life he dreams of has become part of the past. He must find a new path to happiness—one that may require a great sacrifice.

The Smiling Country
It is now 1910 and Hewey Calloway’s freewheeling life is coming to an end—the fences, trucks, and automobiles he hates are even creeping in to remote Alpine in the “smiling country” of West Texas. When he is badly injured trying to break a renegade horse, Hewey’s regrets over his lost love, schoolteacher Spring Renfro haunt him as he sees the loneliness that awaits him. The Smiling Country is filled with humor, love, and the lore of the cowboy life at a time when the great, free, open ranges of the West were adjusting to a new, technological era.



In several ways The Good Old Boys is a very personal story to me. Shortly after I began writing it, my father—a cowboy and a rancher all his life—suffered a stroke....

Praise for The Good Old Boys and The Smiling Country

Praise for Elmer Kelton:

“One of the best of a new breed of Western writers who have driven the genre into new territory.” —The New York Times

“Kelton is a genuine craftsman with an ear for dialogue and, more importantly, an understanding of the human heart.” —Booklist

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

“You can never go wrong if you want to read a good story with realistic characters and you pick up a title by Elmer Kelton. In the case of his newest book, The Smiling Country, the guarantee is as good as gold. . . . Kelton’s characters jump off the page, they are so real. This is another fine title from the man named the Greatest Western Writer of All Time in a 1995 survey by the Western Writers of America.” —American Cowboy


Reviews from Goodreads

Elmer Kelton

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. 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.

image of Elmer Keltono
Jim Bean Professional Photography

Forge Books

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