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.

8 comments:

Mark Justice said...

I have a couple of issues of Range Riders, but I've never read them. I may have to do that soon.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Where do you get all this great western pulp from, Mr. Reasoner? I guess it pays to live in US of A. Ain't seen nothin' like it here!

James Reasoner said...

Nearly all the scans I've used so far have come from the Fictionmags Index, an invaluable reference tool hosted on-line by Phil Stephensen-Payne at http://www.philsp.com/homeville/FMI/0start.htm. I'll have more issues coming up that I actually own and in some cases have read.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Thanks for the link, Mr. Reasoner. It's a mind-blowing index on fiction magazines. Where does one start! I look forward to reading more of your posts on this grab-your-eyeballs subject.

Walker Martin said...

Concerning where to find these pulps, many are available on ebay. But another great source is the summer pulp convention that has been held every year since 1972. I've attended most of these shows and have picked up thousands of pulps and made many friends who tipped me off concerning other pulp sources.

Check out Pulpfest.com for more details on the convention to be held in Columbus, Ohio later this month. A hundred dealers tables crammed with pulps, digests, vintage paperbacks. A dream come true for reader/collectors who love these stories.

Ron Scheer said...

Interesting post. Range and railroad detectives are a curious subgenre of the western. Not too common in the early westerns I've been reading, 1900-1915. One exception: WHISPERING SMITH.

Martin O'Hearn said...

When I started thirsting for any history of the pulps, after getting hooked on the Doc Savage paperbacks, info on the western hero magazines had been sent to Siberia. (The commissar who "disappeared" it was The Hero Pulp Index.) It took decades before I found out that the longest-running hero pulp was Texas Rangers (22 years), the longest-lasting hero pulp was Texas Rangers (1958), and the hero pulp in second place for most novels published (206) was Texas Rangers. But Jim Hatfield, like the Range Riders and Walt Slade, wasn't considered as significant as, say, the Angel (one issue).

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Pulpfest.com it was and what a site! Thanks, Mr. Martin. I read pulp fiction online, including western, but I had never been to either Fictionmags or Pulpfest. Got a lot of catching up to do.