By the time I has graduated from High School in 1991-I think I had read the majority of the books that L’amour had published at that point. Down the Long Hills first published in 1968 wasn’t the first of his books that I read, but it is one that sticks out, mainly because I fondly recall the the TV Movie made from it in 1986.
What we have is a classic tale of adventure and courage. It’s as western as you can get, a kid having to make their own way, having to survive without the benefit of civilization and adults. L'amour as always (ok almost always) is very readable and a good entry point for younger readers into the world of pulp fiction.
In thinking about the book again, I am wondering if there are teens out there that are still reading L’amour’s books, or westerns in general. When I was growing up the adults in my life, mostly teachers and school administrator types, seemingly had written the western off as a chauvinist, imperialist form that degraded native cultures, minorities, and women while glorifying violence and colonialism. To them John Wayne was just a right wing nut who taught boys all the wrong ways to be a man, and anything that smacked of a Western was trash… I wonder how many of those types of teachers are still out there discouraging young readers?
As I said I read many of L’amour’s books, but only a handful have stayed with me all these years and Down the Long Hills is one of them.