I wanted to teach this in my Introduction to Literature course, but it didn't fit. Leif Enger is an incredible writer, and his stories have real characters, a grand sense of adventure, and lovely prose. Like his first book Peace Like a River, this one gives us the sense that the west is alive and well, that epic stories are still possible and indeed necessary. I'd love to sit down for a chat with the characters.
In the "making of" special, the director of the film 3-10 to Yuma said that we like westerns because they are larger than life, because they allow us to talk about good and evil in a way that little else does. That statement alone was enough to make me a fan of westerns. I mean, how often to we get to enter into a discussion about Those Big Things That Matter?