Ride the River

Ride the River

by Louis L'Amour

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - REISSUE)

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Alone in the big city, a fierce young frontierswoman must outsmart a dangerous con man before she can stake her claim to the family fortune.
Sixteen-year-old Echo Sackett has never been far from her Tennessee home—until she makes the long trek to Philadelphia to collect her inheritance. In the wilderness Echo can take care of herself as well as any man, but she never imagined the challenge that awaits: a crooked city lawyer who intends to take advantage of her by any means necessary. Echo will need all of her wits to best this scoundrel and make it back home in one piece.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553276831
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/01/1983
Series: Sackett Series , #5
Edition description: REISSUE
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 34,287
Product dimensions: 4.24(w) x 6.84(h) x 0.54(d)
Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Our foremost storyteller of the American West, Louis L’Amour has thrilled a nation by chronicling the adventures of the brave men and woman who settled the frontier. There are more than three hundred million copies of his books in print around the world.

Date of Birth:

March 22, 1908

Date of Death:

June 10, 1988

Place of Birth:

Jamestown, North Dakota



Read an Excerpt

When daylight crested Siler’s Bald, I taken up my carpetbag and rifle and followed the Middle Prong toward Tuckalucky Cove.
“Echo,” Ma said, “if you be goin’ to the Settlements you better lay down that rifle-gun an’ set up a few nights with a needle.
“You take them Godey’s Lady’s Books the pack-peddler left with us and give them study. City folks dress a sight different than we-uns and you don’t want to shame yourself.”
There was money coming to us and I was to go fetch it home. Pa had wore hisself out scratchin’ a livin’ from a side-hill farm, and a few months back he give up the fight and “went west,” as the sayin’ was. We buried him yonder where the big oak stands and marked his place with letterin’ on a stone.
The boys were trappin’ beaver in the Shining Mountains far to the westward and there was nobody t’ home but Regal an’ me, and Regal was laid up. He’d had a mite of a set-to with a cross bear who didn’t recognize him for a Sackett. There’d been a sight of jawin’ an’ clawin’ before Regal stretched him out, Regal usin’ what he had to hand, a knife and a double-bit ax. Trouble was Regal got himself chawed and clawed in the doin’ of it and was in no shape for travel.
Me, I’d been huntin’ meat for the table since I was shorter than the rifle I carried and the last few years I’d killed so much I was sellin’ meat to the butcher. No sooner did I get a mite of money more’n what was needed than I began dreamin’ over the fancy fixin’s in Godey’s fashion magazine.
When a girl gets to be sixteen, it’s time she set her cap for a man but I’d yet to see one for whom I’d fetch an’ carry. Like any girl, I’d done a sight of dreamin’, but not about the boys along Fightin’ Creek or the Middle Prong. My dreams were of somethin’ far off an’ fancy. Part of that was due to Regal.
Regal was my uncle, a brother to Pa, and when he was a boy he’d gone off a-yonderin’ along the mountains to the Settlements. We had kinfolk down to Charleston and he visited there before continuing on his way. He told me of folks he met there, of their clothes, the homes they lived in, the theayters they went to an’ the fancy food.
Regal had been out among ’em in his time an’ I suspect he’d cut some fancy didoes wherever he went. Regal was tall, stronger than three bulls, and quick with a smile that made a girl tingle to her toes. Many of them told me that very thing, and although many a girl set her cap for Regal, he was sly to all their ways and wary of traps. Oh, he had a way with him, Regal did!
“Don’t you be in no hurry,” he advised me. “You’re cute as a button and you’ve got a nice shape. You’re enough to start any man a-wonderin’ where his summer wages went.
“You hold your horses. No need to marry up with somebody just because the other girls are doin’ it. I’ve been yonder where folks live different and there’s a better way than to spend your years churnin’ milk an’ hoeing corn. But one word of caution: don’t you be lettin’ the boys know how good you can shoot. Not many men would like to be bested by a spit of a girl not five feet tall!”
“I’m five-feet-two!” I protested.”
“You mind what I say. When you get down to the Settlements, you mind your P’s an’ Q’s. When a man talks to a girl, he’s not as honest as he might be, although at the time he half-believes it all himself. There’s times a man will promise a girl anything an’ forget his promises before the hour’s up.”
“Did you make promises like that, Regal?”
“No, I never. When a woman sees a man she wants, there’s no need to promise or even say very much. A woman will come up with better answers than any poor mountain boy could think up. I was kind of shy there at first, then I found it was workin’ for me so I just kept on bein’ shy.
“Womenfolks have powerful imaginations when it comes to a man, an’ she can read things into him he never knew was there, and like as not, they ain’t!”
Turning to look back, I could still see Blanket and Thunderhead Mountains and the end of Davis Ridge. It was clouding up and coming on to rain.
Philadelphia had more folks in it than I reckoned there was in the world. When I stepped down from the stage I made query of the driver as to where I was wishful of goin’ and he stepped out into the street and pointed the way.
“The place I was heading for was a rooming-and-boarding house kept by a woman who had kinfolk in the mountains. It was reckoned a safe place for a young girl to stay. Not that I was much worried. I had me an Arkansas toothpick slung in its scabbard inside my dress and a little slit pocket where I could reach through the folds to fetch it. In my carpetbag I carried a pistol.
Most unmarried folks and others who were married ate in boardinghouses, them days. Restaurants were for folks with money or for an evening on the town. Folks who worked in shops and the like hunted places where there was room an’ board, although some roomed in one place and boarded elsewhere.
Amy Sulky had twelve rooms to let but she set table for twenty-four. She had two setups for breakfast, one for noontime, as most carried lunches to their work or caught a snack nearby or from a street vendor. At suppertime she had two settin’s again.
I’d writ Amy so she knew I was comin’ and had kept a place for me. A nice room it was, too, mighty luxurious for the likes of me, with curtains to the windows, a rag rug on the floor, a bed, a chair, and a washstand with a white china bowl and pitcher on it.
First thing when I got to my room was take a peek past the curtain, and sure enough, the man who followed me from the stage was outside, makin’ like he was readin’ a newspaper.
When a girl grows up in Injun country hunting all her born days, she becomes watchful. Gettin’ down from the stage, I saw that man see me like I was somebody expected. Making a point of not seemin’ to notice, I started off up the street, but when I stopped at a crossing, I noticed him fold his newspaper and start after me.
Back in the high country folks said I was a right pretty girl, but that cut no figure here. Any girl knows when a man notices her because she’s pretty, but this man had no such ideas in mind. I’d hunted too much game not to know when I am hunted myself.
If he wasn’t followin’ because he liked my looks, then why? Anybody could see I wasn’t well-off. My clothes were pretty because I’d made them myself, but they weren’t fancy city clothes. As I didn’t look to be carryin’ money, why should he follow me?
My reason for coming to Philadelphia was to meet up with a lawyer and collect money that was due me. By all accounts it was a goodly sum, but who could know that?
Somebody might have talked too much. The lawyer himself or his clerk, if he had such a thing. Most folks like to talk and seem important. Given special knowledge, they can’t wait to speak of it.
The only reason I could think of for someone to follow me was because he knew what I’d come for and meant to have it.
Back yonder, folks warned of traps laid for young girls in the cities, but none of that worried me. I was coming to get money, and once I had it in hand, I was going right back where I came from. In my short years I’d had some going round and about with varmints, and although I hadn’t my rifle with me, I did have a pistol and my Arkansas toothpick. It was two-edged, razor-sharp, with a point like a needle. If a body so much as fell against that point, it would go in to the hilt, it was that sharp.
Amy Sulky set a good table. She seated me on her left and told folks I was a friend from Tennessee. The city folks at the table bowed, smiled, and said their howdy-dos.
There was a tall, straight woman with her hair parted down the middle who looked like she’d been weaned on a sour pickle, and there was a plump gentleman with muttonchop whiskers who gave me the merest nod and went back to serious eating. Seemed to me he figured he’d paid for his board and was going to be sure he got his money’s worth, and maybe his neighbor’s, too. Opposite me sat a quiet, serious-looking man with a bald head and a pointed beard. He was neat, attractive, and friendly. He asked if I intended to stay in the city and I told him I was leaving as soon as I’d done what I came for.
One thing led to another and I told him about us seeing that item about property left to the “youngest descendant of Kin Sackett.” I told him we’d found the notice in the Penny Advocate. It had come wrapped around some goods sold us by the pack peddler.

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Ride the River 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The girl in this book has what it takes to make it back then and today. Every girl should read fhis book.
western More than 1 year ago
If someone thinks LL wrote only westerns for men(a misconception I have spent my whole life trying to alter)then hand this one to a woman or a girl and they will not want to put it down! My grandfather,grandmother,father,mother,stepdad,stepmom,brothers sister,aunts,uncles,cousins,friends, and foe alike have always found Louis Lamour a unifying source. Echo Sackett a young girl of 16 shows brains and heart in situations that most think only a man could handle. Louis's women are always right in the best light and are never treated as sex objects but as co-equals in what was a very hard life. Start your children reading Louis and you will never have to question yourself later in life if you pointed them into great literature!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. This is the first western I read. I met someone in Barnes and Noble who recommended it. She said it was a good first time western to read, and she was right. I never thought that I would enjoy a western, but the Sacketts are very interesting people. What I really liked was the historical facts. 1840-1850 before the civil war. He makes you really like the characters. Echo Sackett a sixteen year old who leaves her home to travel far away to claim her family fortune. The people she meets along the way.. What challenges she has to face. I loved the book, I would read another Louis L'Amour book.
ALWAYS_UP_FRONT More than 1 year ago
No one brings back the the history of North American development lixe Louis L amour. The Sackett series covers the eariest part of our history when this country was a Bristish territory up to the Wild West days. In writting each book the author has conducted research so his characters and his discriptions of events, locations, and activities are all accurate. His writting style flows so it is hard to put any of his books down. This and all of his books are designed for a reader who reads at least at the middle school leavel who is reading the book for "fun". Any book by this author is worth reading. Any western or history book club discussion group should put not only this book but any other book in this series on its list of possible books for the club to discuss. (Yes it is not a true history-but the events in the books by the author are true, just the Sackett family was not present with G. Washington, etc.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful mixture of fiction and history plus a great story line.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Louis L'Amour did a great job writing this book. The reason why I enjoyed it so much was because there are not many books out there who talk about rugged women who can out do the men. Echo Sackett is awesome!!
atimco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Louis L'Amour's Ride the River is, I think, a little out of the ordinary for a Sackett novel. The Sackett hero of this tale is not a hero, but a heroine¿Echo Sackett, a mountain girl from the hills of Tennessee, who has come down to the ¿settlements¿ (that is, Philadelphia) to claim an inheritance advertised in the paper. Sixteen years old and a dead shot with a rifle, Echo¿s determined to get home with the large inheritance that is rightfully hers¿no matter what crooked lawyers, dangerous thugs, and rough country that stand in her way. The love interest is Dorian Chantry, nephew of a redoubtable old lawyer, Finian Chantry, who knew Echo¿s grandfather. Finian sends Dorian to look out for Echo, who has some dangerous characters on her trail¿but as things turn out, Echo manages just fine on her own and actually looks out more for Dorian than he does for her. From my limited knowledge of L¿Amour¿s body of work, I¿d say this is somewhat unusual. But quite fun!Is L'Amour's writing really top notch? No. The dialogue can be stilted, and he relies on a lot of clichés to build his world. My only exposure to his work has been an audiobook of Lando, so I'm not sure how my perception of the writing would change if I were reading a printed book. And yet, there are moments of good description, deft character development, and high drama. I chuckled at one wry description of the Sacketts: "they were ready to fight at the drop of a hat¿and they¿d drop it themselves." One thing I didn¿t care for was how L'Amour switches back and forth between a first-person narrative told by Echo and the third-person omniscient narrator voice. I'm not sure how he could have solved his plot challenges in any other way, but I would have preferred a more consistent style. But the story clips along at a good pace, and I was eager to keep listening when my commute ended. That hasn¿t happened in awhile with the audiobooks I¿ve been listening to, so yeah, that was refreshing. L¿Amour has been accused of racism, and I¿m not saying some of his work isn¿t dated in that regard. But I found the African-American character, Archie, an interesting inclusion. It¿s the bad guys who view him as less than human and property to be exploited, while the good characters treat him with respect, appreciate his contribution to the journey, listen to his advice, are concerned with his welfare, and seem to accept him as an equal. He isn¿t a main character in the story, but he¿s there. No Native Americans appear in the tale, but I did notice that Echo¿s attitude toward them seems very dispassionate; she makes no moral judgment about the stories of scalping and abduction that she relates. I would have to read more L¿Amour to speak more definitively to the attitudes about race that his stories promote. Overall, this was an enjoyable read and while L¿Amour will never rate as a first-class artist with me, he does tell a good story and I can understand his popularity.
clif_hiker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fourth or fifth in the Sackett saga, and the first to introduce a female Sackett. Jump forward about 200 years from Jubal Sackett exploring the western mountains, back to Tennessee.. we meet young Echo Sackett, a 16 year old rifle toting, knife carrying female incarnation of the Sackett archtype (beautiful to boot!). Echo has to collect an inheritance from Philadelphia and a bunch of bad men are trying to steal it from her... she meets a young Chantry, falls in love, which sets up a later couple of books (Borden Chantry etc.), and finally makes it back to her beloved Tennessee mountains. Short and sweet, not nearly so much naval-gazing about destiny and such (maybe because she's female??). There's still some typical L'Amour preaching, but it's not quite as overbearing in this story. 3 1/2 stars. Bring on Tell, Orrin and Ty...
Momo-Chan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ride the River was a very interesting book considering it is the first of the Sackett series to be from the point of view from a girl instead of a man. I like the way that the Chantry's are brought into yet another Sackett book. Throughout L'Amour's books Sackett's run into the Chantry's or vice-versa. Echo Sackett is the youngest desendent of Kin Ring Sackett, and it has come to her attention that she is due a large amount of inheritance. Echo lives high in the mountains with her mother, brothers, and her uncle. But since her brothers are a long ways off hunting and her uncle is bed ridden she is the only one who can go and get the money. Traveling alone to claim her money a particular man targets her for her money. A man who never expected word of her inheritance to reach her. With Chantry's help Echo get her money and leaves, but she is followed and her money is taken. several times. Chantry sends his nephew to help her even though she does not want it. In the end Chantry helps her along with some of her kin folk of a different mountain.Ride the River wasn't my most favorite Sackett book but it was a good book none the less.
DeltaQueen50 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the fifth book in the Sackett Series. Although I enjoyed this book more than the previous one, I would still class it as an average western story. A feisty mountain girl called Echo Sackett travels from her home in Tennessee to Philadelphia to receive a inheritance. She picks up trouble in the form of a gang of thugs who wish to rob her but they have misjudged her and don¿t know that she is an expert shot and is very capable at looking after herself.I find Louis L¿Amour a bit stiff and preachy in his writing, but I have vowed to read this series and I plan to continue on.
keegopatrick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So far I am loving this book! It is one of my favorite LL books that I have ever read! It is so much different than all the other Sackett novels that I have read starting with the main character being a female instead of a boy like usual. Also, the book has taken place primarily in Philly up until this point which is really weird. I am trying to post reviews as I read with this book. I will see how it goes but so far it is pretty weird and I don't know if I will be able to stick with it.
PatBrooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My first and still my favorite Sackett book. Knowing how painstakingly L'Amour does his research, this book was very insightful on the mountain culture of the times, as well as being an interesting, fast paced, action filled tale. Echo is spunky, smart, and fearless - who could ask for anything more in a heroine?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoy this book
Angie_Lisle More than 1 year ago
This book was a delightful surprise. I wasn't expecting much from the main character, Echo Sackett, because L'Amour's female characters in other books are often flat and one-dimensional. He blew me away with a strong female character. I adored the ending of this book, mostly because I expected a different ending (the typical fairy tale ending - girl gets in trouble, dude rides in on a white horse to rescue her). On several occasions, L'Amour sets up a deus ex machina, only to have Echo sidestep it or pull the rug out from under it by making decisions of her own. Echo ain't no fancy city lady waiting for a man to come save her. She's a mountain girl, born and bred in Appalachia (Tennessee), and more than capable of taking care of her dang self. This book can read as a stand-alone from the rest of the series and I highly recommend it for young adult females.
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Av3ryRD More than 1 year ago
five star sruff.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is part of a series following one family through 1600 to the late 1800's. Written by the best author of western stories (many made into movies) - Louis L'Amour.
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I love this book
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