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Books About Archer County Texas People and Places
What's Your Favorite Book about a Archer County Texas Person, Place or Event? Here are some of our favorites about people from Archer City, Holliday, Megargel, Lakeside City, Scotland, Anarene and Dundee Texas


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by Jim Black

"It's 1968 in the small Texas town of Archer City. The average price of a new car is twenty-eight hundred dollars. Gasoline is thirty-four cents per gallon. A postage stamp costs a nickel. And people still sleep with their doors unlocked at night. Fifteen-year-old Jim and his buddies, Charles and Gary, are charting new territory-high school-and finding the transition challenging to say the least. Together, they confront broken hearts, bullies, initiations, and all the trappings of being teenagers. Meanwhile, just outside of town, a mystery is brewing: Cattle are turning up dead amid reports of strange lights in the night sky and claims of a bizarre "creature" roaming the countryside..." Read more

All the Gold in California And Other Places, People & Things

"My mom was born Billie Christene Doan on December 21 , 1929 , in Megargel, Texas, to Clib and Nida Doan - Papa and Granny, to me . She was the tenth of twelve children . Eight of the twelve sur- vived long enough for me to know them ... " Larry Gatlin was a brash and outspoken man who was dogged by the press and continually at odds with the music industry. He would disappear for days, bingeing on cocaine and alcohol. By the mid-1980's, the reckless lifestyle caught up with him. Returning to his faith, he found freedom, not only from drug and alcohol addiction, but also from the demons that drove him to determine his worth by the weight of his success. This is Larry Gatlin's inspiring story . . . Read more

A Fate Worse Than Death: Indian Captivities in the West, 1830-1885

"... who were not yet ready to go on a major raid. They guarded the horses on the Brazos near Fort Belknap. The impatient youths attacked a group of surveyors seven miles east of Round Timbers, near present-day Megargel, Texas..." Captivity narratives have been a standard genre of writings about Native Americans of the East for several centuries. Until now, the West has been almost entirely neglected. Now Gregory and Susan Michno have rectified that with this painstakenly researched collection of vivid and often brutal accounts of what happened to those men and women and children that were captured by marauding Indians during the settlement of the West . . . Read more Look inside


Some were looking at the human fly, a well-known local performer named Jerry Cooper, who hailed from the small town of Megargel, Texas. Jerry, a rig painter, supplemented his modest income by doubling as a human fly..." This is a Texas-sized story brimming with home truths of the heart, and men and women we recognize, believe in, and care about deeply. Set in the post-oil-boom 1980s, Texasville brings us up to date with Duane, who's got an adoring dog, a sassy wife, a twelve-million-dollar debt, and a hot tub by the pool; Jacy, who's finished playing "Jungla" in Italian movies and who's returned to Thalia; and Sonny—Duane's teenage rival for Jacy's affections... Read more Look inside

Mouse Tracks: The Story of Walt Disney Records

"Lester was born in the microscopic town of Megargel , Texas , but moved at an early age to northern Ontario, Canada . At age fourteen , Lester left home and made a new life for herself in Detroit..." Around the world there are grandparents, parents, and children who can still sing ditties by Tigger or Baloo the Bear or the Seven Dwarves. This staying power and global reach is in large part a testimony to the pizzazz of performers, songwriters, and other creative artists who worked with Walt Disney Records . . . Read more Look inside

Justice For Truth

"My voice was so hysterical when my oldest sister, LaRetha, answered her phone in Holliday, Texas, that she initially was unable to recognize what I was saying or even who I was. Fortunately she had caller ID. "LaRetha, pray! Pray!" Read this true story, and be spellbound as you discover how a seemingly minor car accident initiates earth-moving aftershocks. Follow along as Morrison leaves a lucrative computer-programming career to take on an apathetic political system and clear her son's name. You will be astounded at how age-old biblical prophecies and strange number sequences come into play as Morrison is guided toward truth and justice...  Read more Look inside

Anarene: screenplay

"Alan Nafzger satirizes the squeaky clean impression some have of small town Texas. Anarene is a ghost town in Archer County, Texas, United States. Its name was used for the town portrayed in the film adaptation of Larry McMurtry's novel, The Last Picture Show. Anarene was founded on the Wichita Falls and Southern Railroad in 1908, the same year the Belknap Coal Company opened a coal mine in nearby Newcastle. It was named for Anna Laurene Graham, the daughter of pioneer settler J. M. Keen. Keen began ranching in the area after serving in the Confederate Army in the American Civil War.Anarene's primary industry was the transportation of coal from the Newcastle mine. In 1929 Anarene had a population of 100, a store, a schoolhouse, a post office, a blacksmith shop, a filling station, and a two-story hotel. An oil field was discovered nearby in 1921. By 1933 the population had declined to 20..." Read more Look inside

Snake Oil: How Fracking's False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future

"Later the same day, Halliburton and Stanolind successfully fractured another well near Holliday, Texas. Starting in the 1970s, the use of hydrofracturing became widespread within the petroleum industry, often in efforts aimed at ..." Read more Look inside

Phenomena: Secrets of the Senses

by Donna M. Jackson

“Then she graduated in the spring and went back home to Holliday, Texas. I really thought I'd never see her again. “One summer night, about two months later, I dreamed I was sitting in my apartment when I heard a knock at the door..." Why do we dream? Are coincidences meaningful? What do first impressions tell us? Phenomena: Secrets of the Senses explores these fascinating mysteries and more -- surveying sensory worlds from a perspective sure to make your mind tingle! . . . Read more Look inside

Lone Star Sleuths: An Anthology of Texas Crime Fiction

Comic mystery novelist Paula Boyd was raised in Holliday, Texas, just down the road from McMurtry's Archer City. The area is known for its intense summer heat, and the state's record high, 120 degrees, was recorded nearby at Seymour in ... Read more

Hope on a Strange Planet

"When we discovered Jennifer was pregnant, I applied for a youth pastor position at a church that could feed us and was accepted at the First Baptist Church of Holliday, Texas. Tina was born in Wichita Falls right outside of Holliday..." In Hope on a Strange Planet, author Chaplain Stephen Dicks seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the experiences of an American in the military by sharing this personal narrative. . . . Read more Look inside

The Other Roswell: UFO Crash On The Texas-Mexico Border

Born on August 15, 1926 in the tiny Texas town of Holliday, fifteen miles southeast of Wichita Falls, Robert Burton Willingham was, at an early age, known for a keen intellect, strong leadership skills, and a good-natured "country boy" sense of humor, all of which carried forward in his life even to the age of 82, as of the writing of this book. On a clear spring day in 1955, Air Force pilot Robert Willingham was flying an F-86 fighter jet across West Texas when he saw an object "as bright as a star" streak past him and then execute a 90-degree turn going 2,000 miles per hour. Giving chase in his jet, the decorated World War II and Korean War veteran watched in awe as the object suddenly plummeted to Earth... Read more Look inside

Larry McMurtry: A Life

"In over forty books, in a career that spanned over sixty years, Larry McMurtry staked his claim as a superior chronicler of the American West, and as the Great Plains’ keenest witness since Willa Cather and Wallace Stegner. Larry McMurtry: A Life traces his origins as one of the last American writers who had direct contact with this country’s pioneer traditions. It follows his astonishing career ..." Read more

The Last Picture Show

by Larry McMurtry

Welcome to the dusty little Texas town of Thalia. A sixteen, Sonny Crawford is naive -- until he meets a desperately lonely woman of forty. His best friend, Duane, is a bully -- but hopelessly in love with the prettiest, richest girl around. In the early 1950's, Sonny and Duanae act out a poignant drama of adolescence -- the restless boredom, the bouts of beer-drinking, the secret trips to Mexico in search of prostitutes, the erotic fantasies so powerful that, finally, they have to explode . . . Read more

State of Minds: Texas Culture and Its Discontents

by Don Graham

"Bogdanovich: well, the truth is that Archer City sort of picked us. we went down to look at locations, and Larry had volunteered to take us around Texas—he loves to drive around—so he drove me and the production designer..." In a strong personal voice—wry, humorous, and ironic—Graham offers his take on Texas literary giants ranging from J. Frank Dobie to Larry McMurtry and Cormac McCarthy and on films such as The Alamo, The Last Picture Show, and Brokeback Mountain. He locates the works he discusses in relation to time and place, showing how they sprang (or not) from the soil of Texas and thereby helped to define Texas culture for generations of readers and... Read more Look inside

Thalia: A Texas Trilogy

by Larry McMurtry

"The novel takes place in a small town in 1950s Texas called Thalia, much like the small town where I grew up, but that small town might live anywhere within the vastness of this great United States. The movie house in Archer City burned down in the 1950s, when the population was less than two thousand people---the same census number today. The closing of the picture show in a place already isolated from the outside world would undoubtedly intensify, both intellectually and emotionally, that sense of isolation..." Read more Look inside

Splendor in the Short Grass: The Grover Lewis Reader

"I understand that ( Larry McMurtry's ) book , if it can be called that , is to be translated into a movie and that portions are to be filmed in Archer City with the support and approval of the Citizenry . No doubt , a certain glamour and glitter is to be anticipated from having a few Hollywood types in the city during the filming, and pearhaps some economic benefit may ensue, but if the City Dads and the School Board Members have taken the precaution to read the book, then no question can prevail as the to type of movie that will result..." Read more

Rising Moon

by Kevin Blake Fowers

"Detective Ryan Cross of the Archer City Police department had a great life. He had a wonderful wife and three amazing children and a job he loved. His life is turned upside down when his wife is killed in a wolf attack while they are camping and he still has no idea how to deal with her not being there..." Read more Look inside

Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen : Reflections on Sixty and Beyond

by Larry McMurtry

In a lucid, brilliant work of nonfiction, Larry McMurtry has written a family portrait that also serves as a larger portrait of Texas itself, as it was and as it has become.
"In the summer of 1980, in the Archer City Dairy Queen, while nursing a lim Dr Pepper (a delicacy strictly local, unheard of even in the next Dairy Queen down the road---Olney's, eighteen miles south---but easily obtainable by anyone willing to buy a lime and a Dr. Pepper, I opened a book called..." Read more, Look inside

The Last Bookseller: A Life in the Rare Book Trade

We are right where we have been for so long—on Main St. in Archer City.” Despite the time and money McMurtry spent trying to make Archer City a book town, his stores were all that was there. McMurtry's book town was hurt by internet, like the rest of the book business, and by its out-of-the-way location. As of 2020 a couple of stores still managed to limp anlong . . . Read more Look inside

The Movie Lover's Tour of Texas: Reel-Life Rambles Through the Lone Star State

In this article, Bogdanovich recounts, for example, how he decided to make the film in Archer City. And he and other participants describe how their shared off-camera dramas served to enhance the passions shown on the screen. And he and other participants describe how their shared off-camera dramas served to enhance the passions shown on the screen . . . Read more Look inside

Larry McMurtry's Texas: Evolution of a Myth

by Lera Patrick Tyler Lich

. . . Learn more

How Cities Won the West: Four Centuries of Urban Change in Western North America

by Carl Abbott

Larry McMurtry grew up in the 1940s and 1950s on a ranch near Archer City, Texas. Archer City is a town of 2,000 that peaked in the 1920s and then struggled to hold its own through the second half of the twentieth century. Starting with the Last Picture Show, McMurtry turned the experience of Archer City into a series of novels about the ways in "Thalia, Texas," has met the larger world . . . Read more Look inside

Lonesome Dove: A Novel

by Larry McMurtry

The Pulitzer Prize­–winning American classic of the American West that follows two aging Texas Rangers embarking on one last adventure. An epic of the frontier, Lonesome Dove is the grandest novel ever written about the last defiant wilderness of America. Journey to the dusty little Texas town of Lonesome Dove and meet an unforgettable assortment of heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settlers. Richly authentic, beautifully written, always dramatic, Lonesome Dove is a book to make us laugh, weep, dream, and remember . . . read more

Archer County Family history, Shortgrass Saga

by Archer county Family History Committee . . . Learn more

Archer County pioneers;: A history of Archer County, Texas

by Ruth Jones O'Keefe. Drawings by Cal Gaulden. 1969 . . . Learn more

In a Narrow Grave: Essays on Texas

by Larry McMurtry

Pulitzer Prize–winning author’s homage to the past and present of the Lone Star State, where he grew up a precociously observant hand on his father’s ranch near Archer City Texas. From literature to rodeos, small-town folk to big city intellectuals, McMurtry explores all the singular elements that define his land and community, revealing the surprising and particular challenges in the “dying . . . rural, pastoral way of life.” Read more

Comanche Moon: A Novel

by Larry McMurtry

Texas Rangers August McCrae and Woodrow F. Call, now in their middle years, are just beginning to deal with the enigmas of the adult heart—Gus with his great love, Clara Forsythe; and Call with Maggie Tilton, the young whore who loves him. Two proud but very different men, they enlist with a Ranger troop in pursuit of Buffalo Hump, the great Comanche war chief; Kicking Wolf, the celebrated Comanche horse thief; and a deadly Mexican bandit king with a penchant for torture . . . Read more

Pastures of the Empty Page: Fellow Writers on the Life and Legacy of Larry McMurtry

When he died in 2021, Larry McMurtry was one of America’s most revered writers. The author of treasured novels such as Lonesome Dove and The Last Picture Show, and coauthor of the screenplays for Brokeback Mountain and Streets of Laredo, McMurtry created unforgettable characters and landscapes largely drawn from his life growing up on the family’s hardscrabble ranch outside his hometown of Archer City, Texas. Pastures of the Empty Page brings together fellow writers to honor the man and his impact on American letters . . .  Read more

Miracle on the Gridiron

by Jim Black

At long last, comes the true story behind one of the most memorable chapters in Texas high school football history: The 1964 Class A State Champion Archer City Wildcats. This enthralling account follows the team from its humble beginnings to its improbable march through the playoffs. It's all here-the blood, sweat and tears; the hardships, sacrifices and triumphs; and the far-reaching effects of their miracle season on the team and its town . . . Read more Look inside

Whatever Happened to Jacy Farrow?

Ceil Cleveland and Larry McMurtry grew up as friends in the little Texas town of Archer City, fictionalized by McMurtry in The Last Picture Show, which later became a film by Peter Bogdanovich. Among the locals, Cleveland has long been assumed to be the principal model for the novel’s iconic character, Jacy Farrow—played in the movie by Cybill Shepherd. In this memoir, Cleveland recalls a girl’s life in small-town Texas. . . . Read more Look inside


West Texas History & Memories

Early Life in Texas County by County

Books about Texas People and Places

Amazing People from Texas County by County

Texas History in the 19th Century (Amazon)

Texas History by Category and Event


What's your Favorite Book about a Texas County, Town, Person or Place? Here's our best reads list County by County


Mysterious TexasTrue Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texcas
 Loneliest, Least Populated Counties in Texas
Famous Actors from West TexasBooks about Texas People County by County