Last of the Breed

Last of the Breed

"Last of the Breed", a book by Louis L'Amour, tells the fictional story of Native American USAF pilot Major Joseph Makatozi (Joe Mack), shot down over Soviet airspace. Although the exact time is never stated, it must be in the mid- to late 1980s, the time Gorbachev was in power.

Plot summary

The start of the book chronicles Joe Mack's daring escape from captivity, but also introduces another captive, an English chemist. The chemist is mentioned later, as the first of their captor Zamatev's mistakes, because it turned out he was after all only working on developing insect repellents.

The success of his subsequent foot travel across Siberia to the Bering Strait is dependent on his Native American hunting, tracking, and evasion skills. It is mentioned several times in the text that these skills were learned by his people, and taught to each generation across thousands of years. Now the skilled flyer of aircraft must remember and practice bow and arrow, fire-making, tracking, stalking, hunting, skinning, and ambush skills taught by his elders. Knowing that "a man with a knife can survive," he sneaks into a miner's cabin, and leaving no evidence he was there, he steals preserved food, a coat and a knife. This knife becomes a key item keeping him one step ahead of his pursuers but also gives them a clue as to his whereabouts.

He also has strong attachments to his people's discipline and self-mastery. When he comes upon an army patrol he crawls inside in an old hollow tree to hide. His pursuers make camp in the same area, and he must remain motionless until it gets dark and only the sentries are awake. When captured, he receives a very rough beating from his pursuers, but true to his heritage, he never makes a sound. A man who previously informed on him unlocks the shed he is in and allows him to escape. He ends up killing Alehkin the Yakut, who was following him, and sending his scalp back to Colonol Arkady Zamatev with a note written on birchbark that reads "This was once a custom of my people. In my lifetime I shall take two. This is the first."

At the end of the book, the success of Joe's 90-mile kayak ride to Alaska (given a good kayak) is left unresolved. The resolution of the story is left to the imagination of the reader.


*"Major Joseph Makatozi (Joe Mack)" - Aged 31. He is a test pilot in the United States Army Air Force. He is a Sioux, Native American; one grandfather was a Scotsman.

*"Colonol Arkady Zamatev" - Aged 35, of an old Ukrainian family that had moved to Siberia to escape the Great Purge of the 1930s. Both his father and grandfather have been generals; his father a close acquaintance of Marshal Vasily Blucher before his execution during the Purge. Zamatev himself is intensely ambitious, and hopes to become a Field Marshal in 15 years; capturing Joe Mack is his only hope for his future.

*"Alekhin" - "He is a Yakut, a Siberian counterpart of the American Indian." [L'Amour, Louis, "Last of the Breed", (New York: Bantam Books, 1986), p.7.]


*"Evgeny Zhikarev" - He is a furrier in the town of Aldan. After Natalya's father dies, he becomes a father figure toward her. He leaves for China with Natalya.

*"Kyra Lebedev" - She is an ambitious woman who works for Col. Zamatev. Katerina's sister.

*"Stegman" - Kyra's assistant. A KGB officer.

*"Katerina" - Kyra's sister. Ostap's wife.

*"Professor Stephan Baronas" - One of the people of the village in the woods that take Joe Mack in during the winter. Father of Natalya.

*"Natalya" - She is the "girlfriend" of Joe Mack. He is planning to send back for her once he escapes.

*"Colonol Rukovsky"

*"Lieutenant Suvarov" - Colonel Zamatev's adjutant.

*"Pennington" - a chemist from England

*"Shepilov"-a person in the book

Reference List

External links

[ Official Website of Louis L'Amour]

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