top of page
  • Writer's pictureBart Ridley

Spotlight on a Truly Local Retailer

Archer City, Texas. 25 miles south of Wichita Falls. Closer to Wichita, Kansas than it is to Houston. Definitely off the beaten path, but home to one of the most acclaimed writers in American history. Spend an August day there and you will feel like you have landed on the Sun.

Larry McMurtry was raised there, and it remains the home of the bookstore he founded which houses between 150,000 and 200,000 books. Approximately 100 books for every resident of this town, population 1848.

Most everyone is familiar with something that Larry McMurtry created or collaborated with others to create over the last 50 years. Many of his works used Texas as a backdrop. When he passed away in March, I read his obituary and was reminded of the impressive list of works starting with his first published novel in 1961, “Horseman, Pass By” which was later made into the film, “Hud”.

He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for “Lonesome Dove”.

Yet, he described himself as a “minor regional novelist”. He won an Academy Award for his collaboration on the screenplay for “Brokeback Mountain”. Yet, he never transitioned to a computer keyboard, and instead continued using a typewriter for the duration of his writing.

One of his stated goals was to criticize the myth of the cowboy but his writing often furthered the myth of the cowboy.

McMurtry’s characters reminded us that real cowboys have real problems just like everyone else. McMurtry’s self-deprecation, his reluctance to embrace change and his hometown simply add to his legend.


The next time you embark on a great American road trip, consider a pass through Archer City. Maybe support a local retailer and pick up a book while in town.

Pro tip: Avoid August altogether.


bottom of page