I haven't read a lot of Western novels but from what I have read, I love them for adventure ideas because they're usually pretty focused on the action, which is how I like my RPGs. I got a whole bunch of Louis L'amour novels recently and have decided to read through them. I just finished the first one, Westward: The Tide.
The main premise of this novel is a great one for RPGs: there a huge vein of gold just discovered and waiting to be mined (this could be a dungeon just cleared of monsters in a D&D game) but it's in hostile Indian territory and the finder of this secret gold vein wants others to come found a town and help mine the gold. They sell stakes to the claim and go to find the gold vein in a big wagon train filled with supplies.
The twist: It seems one of the leaders of the wagon train and brought a lot of gunfighters with him and not many supplies. Why could that be? Well, it seems the leader is a notorious villain on the run who is planning to murder most of the men and then take all the supplies and sell them. In fact, there may not even be a real gold vein discovered!
Of course, our hero figures all this out and enlists some of his friends to stop this fiendish plan but they are taken by surprise by the villain and his men and the hero is left for dead. You can guess how it all ends.
This book was his first published novel and it shows but I love the wagon train going to get rich idea and the villains just wanting to steal the wagon train itself after murdering everyone. Sounds like a perfect idea to start off a campaign to me.
What do you think?