Who were the real Sacketts of Louis L'Amour?

There is a Sackett family, on the Isle of Eli in England, but L'Amour admitted already that this family actually had nothing to do with the Sacketts of his books.

Early on in his writing career, Louis L'Amour decided that he wanted to trace the westward expansion across America through three families--the Talons, the Chantry's, and the Sacketts. While other books do relate the exploits of various Chantry's and Talons, his eighteen Sackett novels have become a staple of Louis L'Amour's work.

In "Sackett's Land", Louis L'Amour begins his saga (chronologically--the first book he ~wrote~ was "The Daybreakers") with Barnabas Sackett, the first of his line to come to America. Other books followed the lives of his sons, then other members of the family line. The majority of them center on the family in the heyday of the OldWest, the two decades after the War Between the States, and especially upon the character William Tell Sackett, a constant favorite of readers.

A trademark of the Sackett family is the clannishness. It's often mentioned that no Sackett is truly alone, and in "Ride the River" and "The Sackett Brand" this family loyalty plays a large part in the story. Louis himself claims to have gained most of the idea when two strangers helped him out of a tight spot. He asked them why the people who wouldn't have hesitated to attack him wouldn't fight those two, and the two answered that they had more than 30 cousins between them--fight them and you fight their families.

While the traditional westerns are still favorites, the Sackett series gives the reader a chance to keep close to old characters while exploring other aspects of America's frontier history.