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True Grit

by Charles Portis

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Charles Portis has long been acclaimed as one of America's foremost writers. True Grit, his most famous novel, was first published in 1968, and became the basis for the movie starring John Wayne. True Grit tells the story of Mattie Ross, who is just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shoots her father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and $150 in cash. Mattie leaves home to avenge her father's blood. With the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshal, by her side, Mattie pursues the homicide into Indian Territory.

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...and killed my father, Frank Ross, in front of the Monarch boardinghouse. The man's name is Tom Chaney. They say he is over in the Indian Territory and I need somebody to go after him." He said, "What is your name, girl? Where do you live?" "My name is Mattie Ross," I replied. "We are located in Yell County near Dardanelle. My mother is at home looking after my sister Victoria and my brother Little Frank." "You had best go home to them," said he. "They will need some help with the churning." I said, "The high sheriff and a man in the marshal's office have given me the full particulars. You can get a fugitive warrant for Tom Chaney and go after him. The Government will pay you two dollars for bringing him in plus ten cents a mile for each of you. On top of that I will pay you a fifty- dollar reward." "You have looked into this a right smart," said he. "Yes, I have," said I. "I mean business." He said, "What have you got there in your poke?" I opened the sugar sack and showed him....


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