Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cap'n Bob's Corner: Western Reading

Cap'n Bob Napier, who reads westerns faster than I eat potato chips, offers these remarks...

Montana Passage, by Allan Vaughan Elston (Berkley, 1967, pb). A stagecoach is robbed and the driver killed. The bandit’s horse and saddle are identified as belonging to Jared Keith, a cowboy passing through town. Helena, Montana, in this case. When his cellmate is lynched Jared decides to run for it and find who committed the crime for which he’s accused. A solid read.

The Law in Cottonwood, by Lewis B. Patten (1979). The titular town is in Kansas, the terminus of a trail drive from Texas. Sheriff Morgan Gaunt is determined to keep the drunken revelry of the cowboys under control. Tops on his list is a No Guns policy. His problems with the townspeople who want a wide open town don’t make his job any easier, nor his determination to do the job without help.

Brand of Empire, by Luke Short (Dell, 1977; orig. 1937, pb).  A Senator wants to own a large tract of Indian reservation land, and has hatched a scheme to get it. He uses front men to do his dirty work, Unfortunately for him, one of the people he tries to run rough-shod over is Peter Yard, a cowpoke who doesn’t run when trouble beckons. This is my first Luke Short book and I’ll read more as I run across them. His characters are real and he’s adept at putting a man in an impossible spot and getting him out again.   


Richard Prosch said...

I'd like to explore some Luke Short, and I like knowing there's some Dell paperback offerings for my collection. I've read the comic and have the movie for Short's "To the Last Man," but don't have the novel. I read online where Short was one of the easist of the western writers to adapt to film because he was all about action. True?

Evan Lewis said...

I'll defer to the western film experts. Guys?