Saturday, July 02, 2011
Saturday Morning Western Pulp: Range Riders Western, Fall 1940
Like TEXAS RANGERS with the Jim Hatfield novels, THE RIO KID WESTERN, and MASKED RIDER WESTERN, RANGE RIDERS WESTERN was another example of the Hero Pulp formula transplanted to a Western setting. Every issue featured a novel starring a trio of range detectives who work for the Cattleman's Protective Association. The leader of the group is Steve Reese, and his two sidekicks are Hank Ball and Dusty Trail, who serve not only as back-up for Reese but also occasional comedy relief (although both are pretty competent and the series doesn't descend into slapstickery too often). I've read a bunch of these stories and enjoyed most of them, especially the early ones by Oscar J. Friend, who evidently created the series. Later on, Friend took some of his Range Riders novels, changed the titles and the names of the three main characters, and resold them to hardback publishers, a common practice in the pulp era. Steve Reese became Simon Carter in these revisions. I don't recall the new names of the other two characters. This particular issue includes short stories by the always-reliable Gunnison Steele (Bennie Gardner), Jackson Cole (no telling who was behind this house-name), and Frank Carl Young. I'm unfamiliar with Young's work, but a check of the Fictionmags Index shows that he was relatively prolific in the Western pulps from the mid-Thirties through the early Fifties. I've probably read some of his stories, but if so, I don't remember them.