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The Homesman

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Soon to be a major film directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones and co-starring Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank, and John Lithgow, this classic Western novel captures the devastating realities of early frontier life through the eyes of one extraordinary woman.


Soon to be a major motion picture directed by Tommy Lee Jones, The Homesman is a devastating story of early pioneers in 1850s American West. It celebrates the ones we hear nothing of: the brave women whose hearts and minds were broken by a life of bitter hardship. A “homesman” must be found to escort a handful of them back East to a sanitarium. When none of the county’s men steps up, the job falls to Mary Bee Cuddy—ex-teacher, spinster, indomitable and resourceful. Brave as she is, Mary Bee knows she cannot succeed alone. The only companion she can find is the low-life claim jumper George Briggs. Thus begins a trek east, against the tide of colonization, against hardship, Indian attacks, ice storms, and loneliness—a timeless classic told in a series of tough, fast-paced adventures.

In an unprecedented sweep, Glendon Swarthout’s novel won both the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award and the Western Heritage Wrangler Award. A new afterword by the author’s son Miles Swarthout tells of his parents Glendon and Kathryn’s discovery of and research into the lives of the oft-forgotten frontier women who make The Homesman as moving and believable as it is unforgettable.

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 01, 1988 – The frontier of the Old West has rarely been evoked as a more miserable, barren land than it is in this melancholy novel by the author of The Shootist. After venturing west of the Missouri to stake claims in uncharted territory, a number of settlers find the earth fallow and the desolate, lonely winters unbearable. When four of the wives go mad, the local minister entrusts a prim, strong-willed young schoolmarm, Mary Bee Cuddy, to transport them back to Iowa by covered wagon. With her, virtually against his will, is Briggs, a dishonest, foul-mouthed land-grabber (he steals other peoples' claims) whom Mary Bee saved from a lynching in exchange for his help. Utilizing a classic western plota journey across rough land under perilous conditionsand a mismatched pair of protagonists who'll remind many readers of those in The African Queen , the author tells a sturdy if by now familiar tale. Unfortunately, once the novel goes wrong, which it does with a bizarre, alienating plot twist about three-quarters of the way through, it never recovers.

Customer Reviews

The Homesman

A very interesting and entertaining story about a little-known part of the westward journey. Very readable, with fascinating characters and unimaginable situations. Not your typical western, but a very good read.

Great Concept...

While the concept of the topic was extremely interesting, the execution was flat. Found the book boring and rudimentary.

The Homesman
View in iTunes
  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Feb 11, 2014
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings