Illustration by Frederick Remington        

The Spur awards, given annually for distinguished writing about the American West were established in 1953 by the Western Writers of America. At the time awards were given for the best western novel, best historical novel, best juvenile, and best short story. Today, Spurs are given for the best western novel (short novel), best novel of the west (long novel), best original paperback novel, best short story, best short nonfiction as well as other categories. The following list contains the winners for "Best Historical Novel" (1954-1988) and "Best Novel of the West Over 90,000 Words" (1989-2000). See also at this site "Best Western Novel Under 90,000 Words."


2003 Debra Magpie Earling Perma Red
2002 Brady Udall The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint
2001 Stephen Harrigan The Gates of the Alamo
2000 Ellen Recknor Prophet Annie
1999 Jane Smiley The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton
1998 Larry McMurty Comanche Moon
1997 Richard S. Wheeler Sierra
1996 Win Blevins Stone Song: A Novel of the Life of Crazy Horse
1995 Elmer Kelton The Far Canyon
1994 Jeff Long Empire of Bones
1993 Elmer Kelton Slaughter
1992 Jory Sherman The Medicine Horn
1991 Jeanne Williams Home Mountain
1990 James Alexander Thom Panther in the Sky
1989 Glendon Swarthout The Homesman
1988 Robert Flynn Wanderer Springs
1987 Douglas C. Jones Roman
1986 John Byrne Cook The Snowblind Moon
1985 Douglas C. Jones Gone the Dreams and Dancing
1984 Bryan Wooley Sam Bass
1983 Licia St. Clair Robson Ride the Wind
1982 Loren D. Estleman Aces and Eights
1981 No Award  
1980 No Award   
1979 No Award  
1978 Terence Kilpatrick Swimming Man Burning
1977 Matt Braun The Kincaids
1976 No Award  
1975 No Award  
1974 No Award  
1973 Will Henry Chiricahua
1972 No Award  
1971 No Award  
1970 Benjamin Capps The White Man's Road
1969 Lewis Patten The Red Sabbath
1968 Chad Oliver The Wolf Is My Brother
1967 Garland Roark, Charles Thomas Hellfire Jackson
1966 Todhunter Ballard Gold in California
1965 E.E. Halloran Indian Fighter
1964 Will Henry Gates of the Mountains
1963 Don Berry Moon Trap
1962 William Wister Haines The Winter War
1961 Will Henry From Where the Sun Now Stands
1960 John Prebble The Buffalo Soldiers
1959 Amelia Bean The Fancher Train
1958 Don Cushman Silver Mountain
1957 John Clinton Hunt Generations Of Men
1956 No Award  
1955 John Prescott Journey by the River
1954 Lucia Moore The Wheel and the Hearth