Vintage Western pulp reprints
Wild Wild West Reading Challenge #25
Deal Me In Challenge: 2♦️, 3♦️, 5♦️, 3♣️, 9♣️, 3♥️, 4♥️, 5♥️, 6♥️, 8♥️, 3♠️, 4♠️
Date Finished: November 2, 2018
I read this over quite a long period, so won’t individually review very many stories, other than those identified for the Deal Me In Challenge. Other than one story, all appeared in various western pulp magazines from the 1920s to the 1950s and all are of high quality.
Here are my brief notes on the Deal Me In Challenge stories as I read them:
5♥️ “Lawmen Die Sudden” by Will Cook, Big-Book Western, November 1953: A sheriff who has been used to a fairly quiet town has to deal with a murder and the ramifications it brings to his town. Solid.
3♣️ “Saddlebum’s Bondage” by Dwight Bennett Newton, New Western, September 1945: a 10-pager but develops characters quickly and well.
2♦️ “Showdown at Anchor” by Peter Dawson, Fifteen Western Tales, November 1947, as “A Man For Hell’s Canyon”: A man enters a small foothills town and gets involved with a pretty girl, her obstinate rancher father and their shady ramrod. Good action but feels very familiar like many other stories or movies. Four chapters but feels like it should have been a full length novel in order to flesh out the characters and put some more plot obstacles in the hero’s way.
9♣️ “Border Man” by Frank Bonham, Dime Western, January 1950: Exciting action along the Mexican Border with a strong female character. All characters well defined within just a few pages. Very good.
5♦️ “Wild Was the River” by Giff Cheshire, New Western, May 1946: Unconventional western set in the Northwest as a construction engineer fights to save the lock system he is building around the falls while harboring a hatred for a man who may have been responsible for his father’s death. The anger drives the plot but is a bit much.
6♥️ “Mama Rides the Norther” by Lewis B. Patten, Thrilling Western, March 1953: A man desperate to homestead rather than work his whole life in a feed store takes his city wife and young children out to the prairie, eight days east of Pueblo. After leaving them at the homestead while he goes to town for lumber a blizzard hits and the wife finds her inner strength to overcome her doubts and fears and survive. Well done, realistic tale.
3♦️ “Powder Smoke–Guest of Faro Flats” by W. Ryerson Johnson, Ace-High Western Stories, July 1939: Quick, disguise centered story of Len Siringo, range detective and series character clearing up a town. Simple but good.
3♠️ “Trail of the Lonely Gun” by Les Savage, Jr., Action Stories, Spring 1946: A fighting newspaperman and friend of the Indian fights to clear his name, while battling political interests and dealing with Hopi, Apaches and other tribes in Arizona. Exciting, pulpy, and far-fetched. Good read, though.
3♥️ “The Feminine Touch” by Dan Cushman, Zane Grey’s Western, October 1952: Story of a miner and his mail order bride who isn’t everything as advertised, though neither was he. Humorous.
8♥️ “The Victim” by Ed Gorman: A much more recent story written specifically for the volume tells of a new reluctant gunfighter and the older one who wants to die. Not exactly new ground but well done.
4♥️ “Banker Clayton’s Interest” by Robert Easton, Collier’s, December 9, 1950: Short. During a drought, cattle are sacrificed to save half a herd on a banker’s idea. Not much characters, just written around one clever idea.
4♠️ “Death Rides This Trail” by Steve Frazee, Western Story Magazine, October 1953: Good coming of age story, examining fear and courage. Could have been expanded.