Project Description

In 1938, nineteen-year-old ranch hand Bud Frazer sets out for Hollywood with his sights set on becoming a stunt rider in the movies–and hoping to rub shoulders with the great screen cowboys of his youth. On the long bus ride south, Bud meets Lily Shaw, a bold, outspoken young woman with her heart set on becoming a screenwriter. The two form an unlikely friendship that will carry them through their tumultuous days in Hollywood–and as it happens, for the rest of their lives.


“I read Falling from Horses in two gulps. The writing is gorgeous, the setting so beautifully realized, both time and place, the narrative voice unforgettable, and all the characters so real and compelling. Tremendous, page-turning….I could not have loved it more.” —Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and The Jane Austen Book Club

Falling From Horses is a clear-eyed, breathtaking look at a small corner of life unknown to most: cowboy stunt riders in 1930′s Hollywood. Gloss adeptly brings to life characters in search of the American Dream, while illuminating the “myth of the cowboy West” and the harsh realities that come along with it. A moving story filled with heart and insight by an author whose love of the American landscape rings loudly through each page.” —Gail Tsukiyama, author of A Hundred Flowers and The Samurai’s Garden

“Molly Gloss makes the little seen life of a movie stuntman and a back lot script girl come alive in this entertaining and often touching tale of a naïve young man and woman who are trying to live their dreams.” – Phillip Margolin, New York Times bestselling author of Worthy Brown’s Daughter

“Molly Gloss is always exploring that dangerous place where reality and imagination combine to form the American West, and never more than in this book, plunging as it does into the heart of the dream machine.   She has a tremendous gift for bringing a situation alive, so be ready:  you’re about to live these lives.   It’s a great experience.” – Kim Stanley Robinson, author of Shaman and 2312

“The story of a boy growing up into a man by way of ambition, adventure,catastrophe, love, and grief.  A Western about cowboys and horses, and how Hollywood made Westerns about cowboys and horses, and what happens when the real thing and the fake collide.  A beautiful, moving novel, cut from the American heartwood.” –Ursula K. Le Guin

Reader’s Guide for Falling From Horses