Here's a funny thing. I have never been a particularly big fan of the Western genre as such, either on the page or on the screen. There have been a handful of Westerns I've liked, but most of those were not typical Westerns. As often as not they "subverted" the genre in some way, or several ways.
I remember back in 1989 when the television miniseries Lonesome Dove first aired. I hadn't read the book it was based on, and I wasn't that interested. I think I watched it mostly just because I had met and had a few drinks with one of its cast members (William Sanderson as "Lippy" the saloon piano player) about a year before, under unhappy circumstances.
Soon after his cousin, a barmaid in the place where I met him, told me he was working on a new project, an epic Western, which turned out to be Lonesome Dove. She kept me updated with reports and complaints about the miserable working conditions of the on-location filming.
So when it was broadcast I watched it, mostly for his sake, and it was kind of okay. Some parts of it were *really* good, but other parts kind of bored me, or even offended me. There was a certain underlying something in parts of it that disturbed me. I still can't exactly explain what.
Years later I saw it again a few times, and, as has happened with some other movies and shows I didn't especially care for on the first viewing, such as _Excalibur_ (1981), it grew on me with repeated viewings.
But, unlike the case with some other movies I liked or learned to like, it didn't cause me to go out and read the book, or any other books by the same author.
Until just a few nights ago, when something led me to a prequel to _Lonesome Dove_ by the same author, Larry McMurtry.
This was _Comanche Moon_, set in the period roughly 1856 to ~1865 (roughly 20 years before the events of _Lonesome Dove_, which begins soon after Custer's death at Little Big Horn in 1876).
I found it was possible, with effort, to read most of it online, and I did. All I can tell you is that's one of those things that are hard to tell anyone about if they haven't read it. It made a strong impression on me, stronger than the filmed version of _Lonesome Dove_ did.
I still haven't read the book _Lonesome Dove_, so I can't say what that's like. I gather there was another TV miniseries based on _Comanche Moon_ released in 2008, but I haven't seen that either.
There are several reviews of _Comanche Moon_ (the book) online. None of the reviews I've read did anything like justice to this thing, which is almost in a class of its own, and not just as a Western either. But I'll try to choose one and provide a link to it.
This thing is not simply a Western. It straddles several genres. For one thing, a big part of it is just straight-up horror fiction, easily as gruesome and ghoulish as anything in _The Texas Chainsaw Massacre_ or anything Stephen King ever wrote. I would even say it out-Kings King in places.
There are very strong suggestions of the supernatural in it as well. Many or most of the principle characters take the literal existence and potency of spirits and witches, ghosts and (pagan) gods, completely for granted. And it is not at all clear that any of them are mistaken.http://www.thatinscrutablething.com/201 ... urtry.html