Welcome to Hard Times: A Novel

Welcome to Hard Times: A Novel

E.L. Doctorow

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 0812978226

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Hard Times is the name of a town in the barren hills of the Dakota Territory. To this town there comes one day one of the reckless sociopaths who wander the West to kill and rape and pillage. By the time he is through and has ridden off, Hard Times is a smoking ruin. The de facto mayor, Blue, takes in two survivors of the carnage–a boy, Jimmy, and a prostitute, Molly, who has suffered unspeakably–and makes them his provisional family. Blue begins to rebuild Hard Times, welcoming new settlers, while Molly waits with vengeance in her heart for the return of the outlaw. Here is E. L. Doctorow’s debut novel, a searing allegory of frontier life that sets the stage for his subsequent classics.

“A forceful, credible story of cowardice and evil.”
–The Washington Post

“We are caught up with these people as real human beings.”
–Chicago Sun-Times

“Dramatic and exciting.”
The New York Times

“Terse and powerful.”

“A taut, bloodthirsty read.”
–The Times Literary Supplement

“A superb piece of fiction.”
–The New Republic

A Foreign Range (Stories from the Range, Book 4)


Spirit of the Mountain Man (Mountain Man, Book 16)

Assault of the Mountain Man (Mountain Man, Book 39)

The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower, Book 3)

Pretty Boy Floyd















face, I could tell he was glad because his brother had not run off knowing he was coming. “What are you going to do now?” I said to him. “Don’t know. Look for Ezra. I s’pose. Hunt him up.” I did some powerful talking then. I told Isaac Maple he could go looking for his brother on a thousand different trails and he still might miss him. I told him there were mountains one way and deserts another, high enough and wide enough for armies to lose themselves in. I told him a man could use up all his

and a jacket, and a clean dry shirt and pants, with some of his hair trimmed—well he was angry but he looked fine. “A proper boy,” Molly said, gazing at him. Molly was fair to look on as she said that. Just the day before she had washed her hair and gone to sit up in the rocks aways to let the breeze dry it. She had handsome features for all the pockings, the frown was gone from her forehead and there was a softness in her face, a measure of joy in her eyes. I couldn’t grudge her hold on Jimmy,

feeling Isaac would have welcomed these people had they only a handcart. I think it was enough that they had come to the town after him. Isaac was the kind of chary person who’s always looking for someone to trust. He couldn’t trust any of us who’d been there before him; but the Swede came off the flats as he himself had the autumn before, and that was as good as a ticket from Vermont. Whatever his feelings Isaac didn’t stand to lose much. You figure anyone who keeps a mad wife will pay his

neck off a fresh bottle and filled my glass slowly and then raised his and looked me in the eyes. He was a younger man than I expected but his skin was shot red under the stubble, there was a blaze on one cheek and he had the eyes of a crazy horse. Right then my hand began to move and I meant for it to go for my gun. But it went instead for the glass on the bar; I felt at that moment that I wanted to please him, I was almost glad to drink. After that the man began to break open a bottle for each

but until it comes we’ll wait together!” Nobody cheered but I didn’t think they would. In all that time Molly stayed in the back room with the door shut, the boy carrying her cups of tea or some food. I wasn’t finished by any means, I planned to write a letter to two or three of the banking companies in the Territory, asking them to consider opening up a branch in the town. I was tempting myself to ride up to the lodes with Brogan’s letter to see if I could commit someone to a hiring date. My

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