This is a post in my 50 Nifty series, in which I’m reading through 50 books that embody each of the 50 United States. Find out why I’m doing this and which books I’m reading when (so you can read along) by checking out my first 50Nifty post, or else browse all 50Nifty posts by clicking here!
Legends of the Fall, Jim Harrison
This was a collection of three novellas, and while I think only the eponymous short story was meant for the 50Nifty Montana list, I actually enjoyed both of the others more (Revenge and The Man Who Gave Up His Name). They had more compelling characters, a better love story (in the case of Revenge), and a better flow than LotF. But alas, this post is about Montana, so Legends it is. I felt that the story itself was disjointed. Apparently I’m not alone in that opinion, as I actually rented the movie and watched that last week, as well, and the screenwriters completely changed the order of and motivations for some of the events in the movie version. Although the film was somewhat more compelling than the story, I still didn’t love it. Sure, Tristan is a mysterious, broody, sexy guy, but neither in the book nor the film did I feel he deserved the star treatment he received from almost every other character. I don’t know if that’s the best way to put it, exactly, but I think you can tell what I mean.
As for its inclusion on the 50Nifty list, it’s a great choice for Montana; both the book and the film left me aching for the vistas, mountains, and wilderness of the area. Also, the story itself had so much to do with the Montana homestead, including the people inhabiting it (or abandoning it) and everything it stood for.