The Spur Awards

shelved under Fiction and Award Winners

The Spur Awards are given annually for distinguished writing about the American West. The awards are among the oldest and most prestigious in American literature. In 1953, when the awards were established by the Western Writers of America, western fiction was a staple of American publishing. Now the awards are given to best short western novel, best long western novel and a host of other categories. This list compiles the recent winners of the Best Western Long Novel or Best Western Novel.


The God of Animals (2008)

by Aryn Kyle

12-year old Alice Winston lives on her family’s rundown horse ranch in Colorado’s high desert. She must cope with her bedridden mother, absent older sister and the death of a classmate. Lyrical coming of age novel.


The Shape Shifter (2007)

by Tony Hillerman

Another edition to the very successful Leaphorn/Chee mystery series. In this outing the story centers on a mysterious Navajo rug.


High Country (2006)

by Willard Wyman

This tale follows a young man as he apprentices with a team of packers.


Buy the Chief a Cadillac (2005)

by Rick Steber

In 1954, the United States government, under the Indian Termination Act, “incorporated” a large portion of Indian land on the Pacific Coast, therefore, revoking the status of a number of tribes. In 1961 the tribes were compensated to the tune of $43, 000 per tribe member. This novel focuses on how 3 Native brothers deal with the loss of their lands and the receiving of the money.


I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company of Lewis and Clark (2004)

by Brian Hall

This novel is an engaging study of two of history’s most interesting characters, Merriweather Lewis and William Clark. The novel is told from different characters points of view.


The Chili Queen (2003)

by Sandra Dallas

Mail order brides, bordello madams and bank robbers all pepper this charming novel about 1860’s New Mexico.


The Way of the Coyote (2002)

by Elmer Kelton

This Texas Rangers novel takes place after the Civil War during the Reconstruction. Rusty Shannon, a former Texas Ranger, ekes out a living as a rancher and adopts a half-Native boy.


Summer of Pearls (2001)

by Mike Blakely

A man looks back at his life and remembers one exciting summer in Port Caddo, Texas.


Masterson (2000)

by Richard S. Wheeler

This novel tells the story of William “Bat” Masterson, a legendary lawman of the Old West.