Western Heritage Award

The Western Heritage Awards are given annually by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in a variety of categories.

Award Year Authors(s) Title
2011 Gabrielle Burton Impatient With Desire
2010 Dusty Richards The Sundown Chaser
2009 Mary Clearman Blew Jackalope Dreams
2008 Rilla Askew Harpsong Harlan Singer, a harmonica-playing troubadour, shows up in the Thompson family's yard one morning. He steals their hearts with his music, and their daughter with his charm. Soon he and his fourteen-year-old bride, Sharon, are on the road, two more hobos of the Great Depression, hitchhiking and hopping freights across the Great Plains in search of an old man and the settlement of Harlan's long-standing debt.
2007 Alan Geoffrion Broken Trail A man and his estranged nephew become the guardians of five abused and abondoned Chinese girls. Their rivals intend to kidnap the girls while the two are delivering a herd of horses.
2006 Rosemary Agonito, Joseph Agonito Buffalo Calf Road Woman, The Story of a Warrior of the Little Bighorn
2005 Randy Lee Eickhoff And Not to Yield
2004 Johnny D. Boggs Spark on the Prairie Based on actual events, this novel looks at the 1871 murder trial of two Kiowa chiefs, Santana and Big Tree, in Texas. Virginia attorney Thomas Bell and Texas rancher Joe Woolfolk are appointed as counsel for the chiefs, but everyone expects them to plead their clients guilty--not defend them.
2003 Frederick J. Chiaventone Moon of Bitter Cold By the summer of 1866, America was a changed nation. The Civil War has ended, and the West was calling as a place where the fresh wounds of a nation divided could heal. Many set out to heed that call and explore the land that the terrible war had not touched. Amid the beauty of the region, they found its native inhabitants-and a bloody collision of two cultures.
2002 Loren D. Estleman The Master Executioner Ordinary people do not understand Oscar Stone. Everything he does, he does impeccably. He is a profound student of his art, completely versed in its traditions over the centuries. He is a student of ropes and their properties, a master of the latest scientific knowledge about the human neck, a careful calculator of weights and drops, and an exacting observer of results. For more than a quarter of a century he has worked to create a reputation as a man peerless in his craft: the master executioner. Yet he is utterly alone: His devotion to his work costs him his marriage. Suddenly, one day, a piece of his past catches him unawares, and Oscar comes to a moment of devastating truth and for the first time knows himself.
2001 Stephen Harrigan The Gates of the Alamo This full-scale novel about the siege and fall of the Alamo weaves in a love story between an American naturalist and a widow innkeeper who, along with her 16-year-old son, get swept up in the harrowing events of the heroic battle.
2000 Dan O'Brien The Contract Surgeon
1999 Loren Estleman Journey of the Dead This is a novel of American history and its journey from wild frontier into the twentieth century. Two witnesses to this turbulent evolution tell their stories. One is an ancient Spanish alchemist searching for the philosopher's stone from his hut in the New Mexico desert. The other is the fabled Pat Garrett, the man who killed his poker buddy, Billy the Kid.
1998 Rilla Askew The Mercy Seat
1997 Kate Lehrer Out of Eden
1996 Jane Kirkpatrick A Sweetness to the Soul This Western Heritage Award winner recounts the thrilling story of young pioneer Jane Herbert. It offers heart-warming insights into romance, pain, love, forgiveness and the miracle of God's healing power.
1995 Max Evans Bluefeather Fellini in the Sacred Realm
1994 Barbara Kingsolver Pigs in Heaven When a six-year-old adopted child named Turtle is the sole witness to a freakaccident, she and her mother find that fame is their downfall.
1993 Cormac McCarthy All the Pretty Horses Cut off from the life of ranching he has come to love by his grandfather's death, John Grady Cole flees to Mexico, where he and his two companions embark on a rugged and cruelly idyllic adventure.
1992 Judith Freeman Set for Life "Dying from heart disease, retired Idaho carpenter Phil Doucet has resigned himself to the inevitable. When Phil's beloved 16-year-old grandson Luke is declared brain dead following a car wreck, Phil becomes the transplant recipient of the boy's heart. Healthy again and ``set for life,'' as one doctor puts it, Phil finds himself fighting spiritual emptiness. Ultimately, another 16-year-old, Louise, sexually experienced, homeless, and fleeing her white supremacist upbringing, provides Phil with the incentive to accept a fuller life." - Library Journal
1991 Larry McMurtry Buffalo Girls McMurtry follows Calamity Jane and some of the Wild West's aging legends as they join Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show.
1990 Chad Oliver Broken Eagle
1988 Glendon Swarthout The Homesman 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.
1987 Greg Matthews Heart of the Country
1986 A.B. Guthrie Playing Catch-Up
1985 Ivan Doig English Creek In the days of arriving summer, on a rangeland green across northern Montana, Jick McCaskill comes of age late in the Depression. Jick is 14, able now to claim a man's place in the life of family, town and ranch.
1984 Frank Calkins The Long Riders' Winter
1983 No Award Given
1982 No Award Given
1982 No Award Given
1981 No Award Given No Award Given
1980 Ruth Beebe Hill Hanta Yo
1979 Elmer Kelton The Good Old Boys Hewey Calloway has a problem. In his west Texas home of 1906, the land and way of life he loves are changing too quickly. As Hewey struggles against the relentless stream of "progress," he comes to realize that the simple life of his childhood is vanishing - and that every choice he makes requires a sacrifice.
1978 Dorothy M. Johnson Buffalo Woman A fictionalized account, as seen through the eyes of a woman known as Whirlwind, of life with the Oglala Sioux from 1820 through the aftermath of the victory at the Little Bighorn in 1877.
1977 No Award Given
1976 No Award Given
1975 Centennial Centennial A stunning panorama of the West, CENTENNIAL is an enthralling celebration of our country, brimming with the glory and the greatness of the American past that only bestselling author James Michener could bring to stunning life. From the Native Americans, the migrating white men and women, the cowboys, and the foreigners, it is a story of trappers, traders, homesteaders, gold seekers, ranchers, and hunters--all caught up in the dramatic events and violent conflicts that shaped the destiny of our legendary West.
1974 Elmer Kelton The Time It Never Rained Kelton tells the compelling story of one rancher's struggle to maintain his independence. But as rainless years continue and farmers and ranchers sell their souls for federal hand-outs, Charlie finds himself under increasing pressure to compromise his principles.
1973 Will Henry Chiricahua
1972 Frank Waters Pike's Peak
1971 A.B. Guthrie Arfive
1970 Bejamin Capps The White Man's Road
1969 Fred Grove The Buffalo Runners
1968 Robert Flynn North to Yesterday
1966 Vardis Fisher They Came to a Valley
1966 Vardis Fisher Mountain Man Tailored after the actual "Crow Killer" John Johnson, Sam Minard is a mountain man who seeks the freedom that the Rocky Mountains offers trappers. After his beloved Indian wife is murdered, Sam Minard becomes obsessed with vengeance, and his fortunes become intertwined with those of Kate Bowden, a widow who faces madness. This remarkable frontier fiction captures that brief season when the romantic myth of the far West became a fact.
1965 Thomas Berger Little Big Man The truth is always made up of little particulars which sound ridiculous when repeated." So speaks Jack Crabb, the 111-year-old narrator of Thomas Berger's masterpiece of American fiction, Little Big Man. Berger claimed the Western as serious literature with this part-farcical, part-picaresque, part-historical account of the life and adventures of a poor orphaned boy who came to be the son of two fathers-one white, the other a Cheyenne Indian chief who gave him the name Little Big Man.
1964 Robert A. Roripaugh Honor Thy Father
1963 Edward Abbey Fire on the Mountain
1962 James D. Horan The Shadow Catcher