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The Wandering Hill

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Larry McMurtry

Narrated By: Alfred Molina

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: October 2006

Duration: 9 hours 56 minutes


In The Wandering Hill, Larry McMurtry continues the story of Tasmin Berrybender and her family in the still unexplored Wild West of the 1830s, at the point in time when the Mountain Men and trappers, like Jim Bridger and Kit Carson (both lively characters in the book), though still alive, are already legendary figures, when the journey of Lewis and Clark is still a living memory, while the painter George Catlin is at work capturing the Mandan tribes just before they are eliminated by smallpox and the incursion of the white man, and when the clash between the powerful Indian tribes of the Missouri and the encroaching white Americans is about to turn into full-blown tragedy.

Amidst all this, the Berrybender family, English, eccentric, wealthy, continues its journey of exploration, although beset by difficulties, tragedies, the desertion of trusted servants, and the increasing hardships of day to day survival in a land where nothing can be taken for granted.

Abandoning their luxurious steamer, which is stuck in the ice near the Knife River, they make their way overland to the confluence of the Missouri and the Yellowstone, to spend the winter in conditions of siege at the trading post of Pierre Boisdeffre, right smack in what is, from their point of view, the middle of nowhere. By now, Tasmin is a married woman, or as good as, and about to be a mother, living with the elusive young mountain man Jim Snow (The Sin Killer), and not only going to have his child, but to discover that he has a whole other Indian family he hasn't told her about.

On his part, Jim is about to discover that in taking the outspoken, tough-minded, stubbornly practical young aristocratic woman into his teepee he has bitten off more than he can chew--Tasmin doesn't hesitate to answer back, use the name of the Lord in vain and strike out, though she is taken aback when the quiet Jim actually strikes her.

Still, theirs is a great love affair, lived out in conditions of great risk, and dominates this volume of Larry McMurtry's ""four decker"" novel, in which Tasmin gradually takes center stage as her father loses his strength and powers of concentration, and her family goes to pieces stranded in the hostile wilderness, surrounded by interesting savages with ideas of their own, and mountain men who are all the ""strong, silent type"" of later Western legend, and hardly less savage than the Indians.

From the murder of the iced-in steam ship's crew to the appearance of the Partezon, a particularly bloodthirsty Sioux warrior with a band of over two hundred followers (the Partezon thoughtfully buries one of Lord Berrybender's servants alive in a gutted buffalo, ordering his feet and hands to be chopped off so he will fit into the body cavity, to see if the man can get out), The Wandering Hill (which refers to a powerful and threatening legend in local Indian folklore) is at once literature on a grand scale, and riveting entertainment by a master storyteller.


  • Landon Park

    The book was good, exciting to read and good description in every aspect of the story.

  • Randall Leathers

    I enjoy Zane Grey, Max Brand, Brock & Bodie Thoene and Louis L'amour stories but I don't care for the language style of Larry McMurtry. It was my first book by him and I only made it part way. May have been a good story, I don't know. I simly prefer books with claen language. That is why I prefer old movies to new also. To each there own.

  • Raven Okeefe

    about a year ago, i picked up "By Sorrow's River" not realizing it was the third in a series, just seeing that it was by Larry McMurtry. i was intending to read the first two books, but didn't get around to it. then i listened to them on audiobooks, and the reader is so thoroughly WONDERFUL that now i would rather hear "By Sorrow's River" read by this narrator than read it for myself! the writing is, of course, pure McMurtry, by turns hilarious, engaging, entertaining, thoughtful and downright silly. love it.

  • Tony Crites

    I got the Telegraph girl for christmas, Enjoyed it so much I wanted to do the Berrybender saga by McMurty, The Wandering hill Book 2 is very good, lots of action, lot of stories within a story, the old west with all the hardships. and even some funnyparts too.

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed this book well enough. It is the second book in the series and it's interesting to see what's going to happen next. The first book starts out with so many characters and now I see why. People die left and right and in strange ways too. I still don't quite get the the significance of the Wandering Hill yet. But maybe they will explain that more in the next book which I fully intend to read. It's not the best book I have ever listened to but it wasn't a waste of time either. I wouldn't bother though if you do not intend to read all the books because they are very open ended.

  • Anonymous

    This book is well worth the read. I enjoyed reading it because it is different from the norm. I would recommend it to anyone.

  • cinsuny

    McMurtry is a great storyteller and has the ability to take you into characters and situations of the 1830's western frontier. He has incorporated artist George Caitlin into the scenes of this story and that just makes it all the more fun. Take a look at some of Caitlin's many works of art to appreciate how he lived and accomplished his artistry.


    This is the second of McMurtry's series starring the tedious, cloying,silly Berrybender family. I read the last one first; so I can save you the trouble. McMurtry bombs with this series. Save yourself the time, trouble, and energy; read Lonesome Dove again instead.

  • cdfmg

    Great characters; great story. Always unpredictable, and in no hurry to go anywhere. No great beginning or end point, but you won't require one.