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No one is more evocative of the dusty, gutsy hey-day of the American West than Elmore Leonard. And no story about a young writer struggling to launch his career ever matched its subject matter better than the tale behind Leonard's Western oeuvre. In 1950, fresh out of college -- having written two "pointless" stories, as he describes them -- Leonard decided he needed to pic No one is more evocative of the dusty, gutsy hey-day of the American West than Elmore Leonard. And no story about a young writer struggling to launch his career ever matched its subject matter better than the tale behind Leonard's Western oeuvre. In 1950, fresh out of college -- having written two "pointless" stories, as he describes them -- Leonard decided he needed to pick a market, a big one, which would give him a better chance to be published while he learned to write. In choosing between crime and Westerns, the latter had an irresistible pull -- Leonard loved movies set in the West. As he researched deeper into settings, Arizona in the 1880s captured his imagination: the Spanish influence, the standoffs and shootouts between Apache Indians and the U.S. cavalry ... His first dozen stories sold for 2 cents a word, for $100 each. The rest is history. This first-ever complete collection of Leonard's thirty Western tales will thrill lovers of the genre, his die-hard fans, and everyone in between -- and makes a terrific study of the launch of a phenomenal career. From his very first story ever published -- "The Trail of the Apache" -- through five decades of classic Western tales, The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard demonstrates again and again the superb talent for language and gripping narrative that has made Leonard one of the most acclaimed and influential writers of our time.


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No one is more evocative of the dusty, gutsy hey-day of the American West than Elmore Leonard. And no story about a young writer struggling to launch his career ever matched its subject matter better than the tale behind Leonard's Western oeuvre. In 1950, fresh out of college -- having written two "pointless" stories, as he describes them -- Leonard decided he needed to pic No one is more evocative of the dusty, gutsy hey-day of the American West than Elmore Leonard. And no story about a young writer struggling to launch his career ever matched its subject matter better than the tale behind Leonard's Western oeuvre. In 1950, fresh out of college -- having written two "pointless" stories, as he describes them -- Leonard decided he needed to pick a market, a big one, which would give him a better chance to be published while he learned to write. In choosing between crime and Westerns, the latter had an irresistible pull -- Leonard loved movies set in the West. As he researched deeper into settings, Arizona in the 1880s captured his imagination: the Spanish influence, the standoffs and shootouts between Apache Indians and the U.S. cavalry ... His first dozen stories sold for 2 cents a word, for $100 each. The rest is history. This first-ever complete collection of Leonard's thirty Western tales will thrill lovers of the genre, his die-hard fans, and everyone in between -- and makes a terrific study of the launch of a phenomenal career. From his very first story ever published -- "The Trail of the Apache" -- through five decades of classic Western tales, The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard demonstrates again and again the superb talent for language and gripping narrative that has made Leonard one of the most acclaimed and influential writers of our time.

30 review for The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard

  1. 4 out of 5

    brian

    clint eastwood tells us that the only authentically original american art forms are jazz, blues, and the western. lemme up the ante and say that no other form reveals more about america than the western. and the great practitioners of the form (ford, mann, hawks, boetticher, peckinpah, leone, eastwood) tell us as much about america as any novelist, essayist, historian, or sociologist. maybe more. this 531 pg. tome is the fifth book of elmore leonard westerns i've read over the past two weeks -- clint eastwood tells us that the only authentically original american art forms are jazz, blues, and the western. lemme up the ante and say that no other form reveals more about america than the western. and the great practitioners of the form (ford, mann, hawks, boetticher, peckinpah, leone, eastwood) tell us as much about america as any novelist, essayist, historian, or sociologist. maybe more. this 531 pg. tome is the fifth book of elmore leonard westerns i've read over the past two weeks -- a period that's been supplemented by townes van zandt's live at the ol' quarter, steve earle's train a'coming, bob wills and his texas playboys' king of western swing, and daily rounds of mezcal and dos equis... just because i was born a pale, neurotic jew from new york doesn't mean i can't pretend.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Joe Valdez

    In the 1950s, Elmore Leonard was married with children and working as a copywriter on a Chevrolet account at Campbell-Ewald Advertising in Detroit. What he really wanted to do was support himself with his fiction. Already a fan of western movies, Leonard discovered he could get paid while he learned his craft by trafficking short pieces in a genre that was enormously popular on newsstands, as he recounts in the foreword, "from Saturday Evening Post and Collier's down through Argosy, Adventure, B In the 1950s, Elmore Leonard was married with children and working as a copywriter on a Chevrolet account at Campbell-Ewald Advertising in Detroit. What he really wanted to do was support himself with his fiction. Already a fan of western movies, Leonard discovered he could get paid while he learned his craft by trafficking short pieces in a genre that was enormously popular on newsstands, as he recounts in the foreword, "from Saturday Evening Post and Collier's down through Argosy, Adventure, Blue Book, and probably at least a dozen pulp magazines, the better ones like Dime Western and Zane Grey Magazine paying two cents a word." Leonard is a writer whose craft and facility with dialogue (as well as black, Hispanic and female characters) are qualities I've long admired. I'm not a big fan of the crime stories he'd become world famous for cranking out in the '80s and '90s, many of which fell into formula and self-parody. As for a gaggle of pulp westerns written during the Eisenhower administration, I expected them to be rigid and silly, full of good guys wearing white, bad guys in black and shrieking women tied up on train tracks. The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard is a treasure trove, a Christmas gift for lovers of pulp fiction. Thirty short stories, twenty-seven of them published during the '50s, are included, three of which Hollywood would get hold of: Three-Ten to Yuma (released as 3:10 to Yuma in 1957 and 2007), The Captives (released as The Tall T in 1957) and Only Good Ones (released as Valdez Is Coming in 1971). Each short story is prefaced by their original titles -- if an editor opted for a more sensational one at publication -- as well as the magazine they appeared in and date. My favorites: The Big Hunt (original title: Matt Gordon's Boy) in which buffalo hunter Will Gordon is victimized by some unscrupulous men who once took advantage of Will's father in the same manner. After losing his hides to these men, young Will devises a novel plan for getting his valuables back. The Boy Who Smiled in which an Apache named Mickey Segundo watches his father lynched for a crime he didn't commit. Years later, working as an unassuming guide by the name Peza-a, Mickey is contracted by his father's killers to lead them on a hunting party. Saint with a Six-Gun (original title: The Hanging of Bobby Valdez) in which Lyall Quinlan gets his break in law enforcement when hired to guard incarcerated gunman Bobby Valdez the week leading up to Valdez's hanging. Both sides of the law underestimate the green youngster. The Longest Day In His Life in which Steve Brady spends his first day on the job as a stageline rep being robbed of his new suit and gun, being drawn on with a shotgun by the daughter of a business client, being recognized by a bandit he shot and testified against seven years ago and proposing marriage to the woman who almost shot him earlier. The Kid (original title: The Gift of Regalo) in which an opportunistic horse trainer finds a mute Indian boy and decides to keep him as an indentured servant, until a young prospector determines the boy was stolen by Apaches at one time and now deserves humane treatment, even if it means shooting the kid's master. Even this early in his career, Leonard demonstrates a sharp ear for character and dialogue. These aren't stories about some guy in a hat and something happens to him(!), but a guy in a hat who was a certain sort of man (!) and something happens to him. With this focus on character, I was invested in even the average stories. The historical detail is impeccable. Leonard specialized in a very specific place and time: the Arizona Territory of the 1880s. Cavalry garrisons, stagecoach runs and Apache resistance offer a different look and feel than most westerns; it's war territory, not the stock landscape of the wild west town. At 528 pages, this mother lode took me two weeks to finish, but the stories are bite sized and a couple of them can fit into your commute or lunch break. If you don't cotton to the pulp western, or to the Elmore Leonard of Get Shorty, I recommend giving these pieces a try. Not every story is a keeper, but Leonard delivers what I crack open fiction for in the first place: vivid landscape, terse storytelling, character, dialogue and social justice.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Howard

    “Leonard’s special kind of tough guys were born in the Old West, where he polished his wise-cracking view of violence and morality on the workings of frontier justice…. Leonard knows the territory.” – Chicago Sun-Times “Leonard was a writer of superior Westerns before he turned to crime, but all the elements of his Detroit, Miami, and Atlantic City novels are here: oblique dialogue, closely observed behavior, a certain sunny cynicism, a melancholy courage.” – Boston Globe “I looked for a genre whe “Leonard’s special kind of tough guys were born in the Old West, where he polished his wise-cracking view of violence and morality on the workings of frontier justice…. Leonard knows the territory.” – Chicago Sun-Times “Leonard was a writer of superior Westerns before he turned to crime, but all the elements of his Detroit, Miami, and Atlantic City novels are here: oblique dialogue, closely observed behavior, a certain sunny cynicism, a melancholy courage.” – Boston Globe “I looked for a genre where I could learn how to write and be selling at the same time. I chose westerns because I liked western movies. From the time I was a kid I liked them.” – Elmore Leonard Elmore Leonard (1925-2013) was born in New Orleans, but grew up in Detroit. In 1950, he graduated from the University of Detroit with degrees in English and philosophy. Early on, he wanted to be a writer – and he was – but it was writing copy for the Chevrolet account for the Detroit advertising agency that employed him. In his spare time, however, early mornings before going to work and even during the day when he had a few minutes to spare from his work, he wrote stories – western stories set in the desert southwest. The irony is that he had never personally traveled to that region. But as he said, he was looking for a genre where he “could learn how to write and be selling at the same time” and because "he liked western movies.” There was an additional reason. The market for western stories in the fifties was a seller’s market due to the proliferation of so-called “pulp” magazines that specialized in publishing western stories, paying a grand total of two cents a word. In addition, there were the “men’s” magazines such as Argosy and others that paid a bit more, but the jackpot was won if the writer could get something published in a couple of “slick” magazines, The Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s, that paid best of all. Despite never having been there, Leonard was drawn to New Mexico and, especially, Arizona as settings for his fiction. He liked the landscape and he was also interested in the intersection of Apache, Mexican, and Anglo cultures that existed there and that often resulted in a three-way conflict. After his first story was rejected, he determined to make his stories as authentic as possible in terms of not only the land and people, but also guns, clothing, and horses. In Detroit he read books, but he also subscribed to the Arizona Highways magazine which provided him with pictures of the area, as well as “things I could put in and sound like I knew what I was talking about.” His stories are densely populated with stage drivers, cynical lawmen, cavalry officers and troopers, and, one jump ahead of the lawmen or cavalry, Apaches and outlaws, all of whom are forced to deal with the heat, dust, and rugged landscapes of Arizona and New Mexico. This anthology consists of thirty-one stories, twenty-eight of which were published between 1951 and 1956. Nearly all appeared in the low-paying pulps, four were published by Argosy, and only one appeared in The Saturday Evening Post. Two of the stories became the basis for medium-budget classic movies: 3:10 to Yuma and The Captive (filmed as The Tall T), both released in 1957. (A remake of 3:10 to Yuma was released in 2007, but it isn’t as satisfying as the original. It is especially marred by the cartoonish climactic shoot-out that reminded me of Wile E. Coyote's attempts to capture the Road Runner.) Leonard expanded one of the stories in the collection, Only the Good Ones, into a full-fledged novel in 1970, titled Valdez is Coming. The following year it was adapted for the screen. Leonard is on record as saying that among all the western stories that he had written that Valdez was his favorite. In 1969, Leonard turned to crime fiction beginning with his first non-western novel, The Big Bounce. He made the transition because the market for western stories had dried up. It had been killed off when TV was swamped with western series from the mid-fifties to the early sixties which had the effect of killing off the demand for western stories in print and on the big screen, a trend that has intensified in the ensuing years. "My objective has always been to write lean prose, authentic-sounding dialogue, and a plot, a story that comes out of the characters – because of who they are – rather than simply throwing characters into a tight situation…. To me, the characters are everything. I begin with them, and if a story doesn’t come out of their interactions, I don’t have a book [or story].” – Elmore Leonard He achieved his objective early on in his writing career, beginning with the stories in this collection.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    This is a collection of Elmore Leonard’s short western stories written and published, in magazines, in the early 1950’s. Before reading this book I can’t remember the last time I read a western novel. This is a book that I have had in my library for years just waiting for me to pick it up. I am so glad that I finally got around to it, because it was great. All very entertaining reads with a good pinch of morality thrown in. There are no stereotypical ‘good’ cowboys or ‘vile’ Indians or ‘sleazy’ Me This is a collection of Elmore Leonard’s short western stories written and published, in magazines, in the early 1950’s. Before reading this book I can’t remember the last time I read a western novel. This is a book that I have had in my library for years just waiting for me to pick it up. I am so glad that I finally got around to it, because it was great. All very entertaining reads with a good pinch of morality thrown in. There are no stereotypical ‘good’ cowboys or ‘vile’ Indians or ‘sleazy’ Mexicans just people being people, some good some no so good. In any collection of short stories there are usually a few that fall short of the mark but not so here, here every story is a small gem. Of all the writing formats I think short stories would be one of the hardest to get right. The writer has 50 or 60 pages to create characters and plots that will hold the readers attention. Well Mr. Leonard does this in spades. Don’t be put off by ‘western’ it’s so much more than that. A highly entertaining 4/5 star read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    This is an abridged version of the book having only 11 stories in it. I don't think they're abridged, though. Read by Tom Wopath, Henry Rollins & David Strather & William Atherton. (I wrote those names down as I heard them. I have no idea if they're spelled correctly, but all of them were excellent readers.) For some reason, I never equated Elmore Leonard with westerns. I'd forgotten who wrote Hombre. It's been a lot of years since I read the book, though I've probably watched the movie with Paul This is an abridged version of the book having only 11 stories in it. I don't think they're abridged, though. Read by Tom Wopath, Henry Rollins & David Strather & William Atherton. (I wrote those names down as I heard them. I have no idea if they're spelled correctly, but all of them were excellent readers.) For some reason, I never equated Elmore Leonard with westerns. I'd forgotten who wrote Hombre. It's been a lot of years since I read the book, though I've probably watched the movie with Paul Newman in it a dozen times over the years & it is an old favorite. One of the best things about Leonard's writing is that everyone in them are real people. Good/bad, black/white/red, male/female, they're not perfect in any way. They're strong, opinionated, & have reasons for being what they are. They get dealt a hand & play it out, often based on a past that is painted in with broad strokes, just enough to give them depth, but with enough detail left out for some wiggle room. I was never quite sure which way they'd go, but usually the author seemed to find a pretty unique path for them. Blood Money - 3.5 stars - A good solid story to start the ball rolling. Typically well written & gritty about a bank robbery & what happens after. Exactly what I'd expect from Leonard. Only Good Ones - Wow! 5 stars, a story of prejudice & vigilantism so unbelievable, but so starkly written that it felt true. Surely it was too stark & outrageous to be mere fiction Trail of the Apache - 4 stars - another solid story with a bit more meat than the first. Government treatment of Indians & a pretty exceptional man that carried the orders out. There's duty, there's dedication, & then there is just being built a certain way. Add them together & Leonard came up with a very remarkable hero. Trouble at Rindo Station - 3 stars. Not bad, but pretty similar on a lot of points to the other stories. If I hadn't just heard them, I probably would have rated it a bit higher. The Boy Who Smiled - 3 stars. Serviceable & would have been more chilling if everything hadn't been telegraphed so far ahead. The Tonto Woman - 4 stars. I loved the characters & the ending. It's not what I would expect from Leonard at all, but I loved it. It's the kind of story that makes you think about it after it's done. Hurrah for Captain Early - 3 stars, maybe 4, but it could have been 5 & blew it. This was an excellent story in a lot of ways, but it got too scattered, tried to make too many points & wound up not really making any of them with the impact they deserved. Still, it wound up being a disappointment. The Colonel's Lady - 4 stars - Wow! Great action with a great ending. I can't say more without a spoiler, unfortunately. I won't even post a spoiler, just tell you that you have to read it without knowing what is going to happen for the impact. Go read it now. Seriously. It's too cool not to. Saint With A Six Gun - 4 stars. This is an excellent story where a young man learns some of the facts of life the hard way, but with a superb twist. It was thought provoking, but had a really fun twist, too. You Never See Apaches - 3 stars. Not particularly interesting over all, but it does show Indians in a very good light. It was too obvious in most ways. 3:10 to Yuma - 3 stars. A much shorter story than I expected, so it didn't have the history of the movies which added to the impact. Basically, it's the last scene of the movies - sort of - just the walk from the hotel to the train. This is definitely a 'must read' western collection. Highly recommended.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Artemy

    I'm not big on audiobooks — whenever I hear a person reading a story aloud, I always hear their voice, but I just don't follow the story at all. I almost start listening to their voice as a kind of music. But I was feeling really down today (and, like, for the past several weeks already, holy hell), and purely accidentally I stumbled upon this podcast, LeVar Burton Reads. In this podcast, actor LeVar Burton reads various short stories. As it happens, I really like LeVar, and I also just finished I'm not big on audiobooks — whenever I hear a person reading a story aloud, I always hear their voice, but I just don't follow the story at all. I almost start listening to their voice as a kind of music. But I was feeling really down today (and, like, for the past several weeks already, holy hell), and purely accidentally I stumbled upon this podcast, LeVar Burton Reads. In this podcast, actor LeVar Burton reads various short stories. As it happens, I really like LeVar, and I also just finished watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, so I decided that this is a sign and I should give the podcast a listen. I picked this short western story by Elmore Leonard, whose books I want to get into more deeply at some point. I did have the same problem of not following the story to a certain extent, but I think I got the main gist of it, and while the story itself wasn't too cheerful, it did help me take my mind off certain things, if only for a little bit, and just in general I really enjoyed listening to LeVar's awesome voice. Anyway, I just wanted to share this little find with my Goodreads buddies. I know that many of you here would probably be into this kind of format. There are currently twelve short stories available, and more are coming starting next year. And it's all free! You can download the episodes on your phone or computer using any podcast app.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    In the 1950s there were two major figures in western noir; one was filmmaker Anthony Mann and the other was writer Elmore Leonard. Leonard's writing was so dark that several western magazines turned down his stories for that very reason. In this excellent collection of stories you get frontier femme fatales like "The Colonel's Lady", tales of Injun justice in "The Big Hunt" and a young Mexican seeking revenge in "The Boy Who Smiled". The latter two stories mentioned are significant in that they In the 1950s there were two major figures in western noir; one was filmmaker Anthony Mann and the other was writer Elmore Leonard. Leonard's writing was so dark that several western magazines turned down his stories for that very reason. In this excellent collection of stories you get frontier femme fatales like "The Colonel's Lady", tales of Injun justice in "The Big Hunt" and a young Mexican seeking revenge in "The Boy Who Smiled". The latter two stories mentioned are significant in that they address issues of racism amid a cowboy style setting, making it less didactic than any sermon. While I never cared much for Leonard's modern crime writing I find his western tales to be totally tall and badass in the saddle.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lesle

    This is his short stories that he provided to a magazine to make a little bit of money. I read 3:10 to Yuma as I have enjoyed the movie. The Books ending is not the same at all.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    “Three-Ten to Yuma,” still one of my favorites. Twelve pages long and riddled with more tension than you can stand. The rest of the entrants vary from solid to gold, Elmore Leonard doing what Elmore does best.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Randy

    In the introduction, Elmore Leonard states that when he decided he wanted to be a writer, after college, he chose a genre he could learn to write while getting paid. Since he liked westerns, that's what he chose to start. Of course it wasn't that easy. His first effort was rejected and he decided a little research might be handy. His aim was for the higher paying magazines, Saturday Evening Post and Colliers. There were also a half dozen pulp magazines still in existence. There his early success w In the introduction, Elmore Leonard states that when he decided he wanted to be a writer, after college, he chose a genre he could learn to write while getting paid. Since he liked westerns, that's what he chose to start. Of course it wasn't that easy. His first effort was rejected and he decided a little research might be handy. His aim was for the higher paying magazines, Saturday Evening Post and Colliers. There were also a half dozen pulp magazines still in existence. There his early success was found. Leonard expressed a liking for the American southwest and the Apache, not caring much for the high plains tribes. His first half dozen or so tales mixed the Apache with Union soldiers, various situations which turned a number of stereotypes on their ears. One, the green officer fresh out of West Point sure if he went by the rules, he could defeat those "savages." They are there to be sure, but a bit smarter in most cases. Thirty stories in the collection, all but a few written and published in the early to mid-fifties. The last few spread out from the sixties to the nineties. 3:10 TO YUMA is here(made into two excellent movies with only minor changes to the story), The Captives(made into the film THE TALL T), and Only Good Ones which he later expanded into the novel Valdez is Coming!(made into the film starring Burt Lancaster). Most early in his writing career, one can see the developing style and his way of putting the reader square into the story: the sweltering heat of the southwest desert country, the prejudices, and the valiant people of all stripe. A most excellent collection.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Luana

    It took me way too long, but after this and Leonard's debut novel "The Bounty Hunters", I think you can count me as an unabashed fan. I remember reading this while waiting for my car to get fixed, with other people present in the waiting room, and I had to actively suppress saying out loud "Dat's cool!" when something cool happened. Now, this almost visceral reaction happened about three pages into a story. Let it be a testament to the efficiency of Leonard's writing that I had, in three pages or It took me way too long, but after this and Leonard's debut novel "The Bounty Hunters", I think you can count me as an unabashed fan. I remember reading this while waiting for my car to get fixed, with other people present in the waiting room, and I had to actively suppress saying out loud "Dat's cool!" when something cool happened. Now, this almost visceral reaction happened about three pages into a story. Let it be a testament to the efficiency of Leonard's writing that I had, in three pages or less, gotten such an affinity for the characters and situation presented that I had to bite my tongue not to embarrass myself in public. Leonard is no Tolkien (thankfully), but, for a writer who appreciates terseness and getting to the point, he was also surprisingly good at sketching landscapes, an inescapable factor in a good western story. After the first few shorts, I was thoroughly ingrained in the Arizona pecos and mountain ranges. Another surprisingly positive thing -- especially for shorts mostly published in the 50s -- is how damn progressive Leonard was when it came to race and gender. A few days ago, I dubbed him the anti-Whedon: everything's funny, but nothing's trying to be.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Skjam!

    Elmore John Leonard Jr. (1925-2013) started his career as a professional writer by producing short Western stories for the pulp magazines. According to the introduction, Mr. Leonard’s first attempt was not very good and was rejected, whereupon he decided that next time he would do his research first. He focused on the Arizona Territory, because that part of the country had a strong draw for him, and he liked the Apaches best of the various tribes of Native Americans. This volume presents the bulk Elmore John Leonard Jr. (1925-2013) started his career as a professional writer by producing short Western stories for the pulp magazines. According to the introduction, Mr. Leonard’s first attempt was not very good and was rejected, whereupon he decided that next time he would do his research first. He focused on the Arizona Territory, because that part of the country had a strong draw for him, and he liked the Apaches best of the various tribes of Native Americans. This volume presents the bulk of the stories in order of publication, rather than when they were written. Thus it begins with Elmore Leonard’s first published work, “Trail of the Apache.” Indian agent Travisin does his best to keep his Apache charges peaceful and moderately satisfied. He keeps his wits sharp through a bet with his lead scout Gatito that if the other man can ever touch his knife to Travisin’s back, he will win a bottle of whiskey. For the last two years, Gatito has not had alcohol. The trouble arrives with Travisin’s new trainee, Lieutenant De Both. De Both himself is a decent enough fellow, though green in the ways of the West. But he’s escorting a band of Apache from another reservation, led by the renegade Pillo. The Army, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that Pillo and his rowdy comrades should be separated from their wives and families on Travisin’s reservation to calm them down. To no one’s surprise, Pillo and his men are soon off the reservation with Gatito, and looking to gather other renegades to restart the Indian Wars. It’s up to Travisin, De Bolt, and the tracker known as Fry to stop them. By the end of the 1950s, the pulp magazines had died, and the market for short Westerns had dried up. Mr. Leonard switched to primarily doing crime stories (You may remember Get Shorty.) But every so often, a Western collection would ask him to contribute, so there’s not quite a handful of such late stories. The last one published was “Hurrah for Captain Early!” which takes place in a small Arizona town which is having a return celebration for its hometown hero of the recent Spanish-American War. The main character is Bo Catlett, a cavalryman who also served in the war. But since Mr. Catlett is black, there are those who don’t believe that he’s a veteran. In fact, they don’t believe that Mr. Catlett should be in town at all. And possibly not breathing. But Sergeant Major Bo Catlett has something to return to Captain Early, and maybe it would be okay if there was a little blood of an ignorant fool on it. Like the other late-period stories, this one contains strong language that wasn’t allowed in the magazines, as well as the period racism. Taking place in the twilight of the Old West, it’s a suitable and somewhat cynical endpiece. Of special interest to movie fans are the stories “Three-Ten to Yuma” and “The Captives” (which became The Tall T.) Both were considerably expanded from their original short format. In the former tale, a deputy marshal tries to get his prisoner aboard the title train with them both still alive despite their respective enemies. In the latter, a rancher who’s lost his horse hitches a ride aboard a stagecoach–which is promptly captured by outlaws, and he must use his wits to keep himself and at least one other passenger alive. Both are exciting and suspenseful. Mr. Leonard was no stranger to dark humor, the best example of this in the current volume being “Cavalry Boots” in which a cowardly deserter becomes honored as the hero of a battle. Mostly because he’s not around to dispute it, but partially because he accidentally did save the day. This edition has an extra story at the end, “The Treasure of Mungo’s Landing”, which wasn’t in the first edition because it couldn’t be proved it existed. Tracking down clues, it was discovered to have been printed under the wrong author’s name (Leonard Elmore) and in a different magazine than believed. The story itself is a nice tale of a man who discovers a robbery is about to be committed, and stops it only to be accused of the crime himself. The bad guy would have gotten away if he hadn’t let his greed and gloating get away with his common sense. It’s thirty-one fine stories in all, ranging from talented newcomer quality to very good. There’s period depiction of Native Americans (not usually entirely negative) and some period sexism (plus a couple of attempted rapes.) Recommended for Western fans, Elmore Leonard fans and fans of the TV series Justified, which was based on Mr. Leonard’s work.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chrysten Lofton

    5.0⭐ "Judge and jury wrapped into one hard-bitten, weathered face. His mind is the law, and he can be as calm as he pleases, knowing his way is the only way." ** Contains Spoilers** On this, the eleventh installment (12th and final episode) of Sticher podcast's LeVar Burton Reads , we're gifted with "No Man's Guns" by Elmore Leonard. I know I put this one off for a while, but the truth is, I've been busy, sick, and putting off the inevitable end to this season because I love the podcast so much 5.0⭐ "Judge and jury wrapped into one hard-bitten, weathered face. His mind is the law, and he can be as calm as he pleases, knowing his way is the only way." ** Contains Spoilers** On this, the eleventh installment (12th and final episode) of Sticher podcast's LeVar Burton Reads , we're gifted with "No Man's Guns" by Elmore Leonard. I know I put this one off for a while, but the truth is, I've been busy, sick, and putting off the inevitable end to this season because I love the podcast so much. This story is the bee's knees. Like LeVar, I have a natural affinity for good westerns. Westerns put characters in a land with different rules, but strict moral code, and a lot of adversary. Leonard's story is choice. Short fiction this good is like going into a fast food place, ordering chicken, and finding that it tastes like it was cooked from scratch, savory and fulfilling. I love this story so much because the characters just are who they are—not all good, not all bad. They all seem to be wrestling with something. Mitchell is dealing with his past, maybe a little war PTSD, and how his choices are affecting his future. Hyatt is dealing with this random Johnny who just cruises up innocently into his crime scene, and later, his revenge. And Claire is dealing with the fact that she's in a place and position she wants nothing to do with. God love Claire, she isn't in any of these circumstances willingly. And yet, you get the impression that she made these choices of her own free will. Been there, Claire, been there. All these trials must come to a head, and the circumstances are just dragging it out of all of these guys. I happen to think this ending was just right, and after reading some macabre short fiction stories this week, it found me at just the right time. The thing is, I don't think its exactly a practical ending, or a likely one, but the author wrote it as a perfect storm of choice and character. Innocent men with a death sentence always seem to go soberly in stories - I don't think that's likely in real life. But, in Mitchell's case, having gone to war and perhaps pretty emotionally exhausted by that, he asks Claire to get word to his father, and then legitimately makes peace with it. Vindictive men always seem to do the right thing at the last minute in stories - I don't think that's likely in real life. But, in Hyatt's case, I think he was always testing Mitchell's nerves and ego, and when he couldn't get a look at his colors, he figured they were at least colors worth preserving. I wish Leonard had dug into Hyatt a little more, I would have liked to have seen just a little more than that last minute change of heart. What heart was in him to change? The truth is, this was so wholesome and likable a tale, I would have gladly followed this cast into a full length novel. Maybe I need to read more Leonard, eh? Great sound bites for this one. I know they were simple, but that's all that was called for. LeVar, not just through his talk and language, but through the stories themselves has made it clear that adults are his target audience. How lucky we are that LeVar has a musical soul and adds a touch of whimsy with the sound bites. They were so pleasant in "The Lighthouse Keeper" and in "No Man's Guns", the sounds of pattering hooves and crackling fires pulled me straight into the desert scape of the West. I am sad to see this audiobook podcast take a break, but we wont be waiting long. LeVar Burton Reads is coming back January 16th, 2018. And, there is one last gift from the opening season - a bonus episode! Catch my review for that, coming soon.

  14. 5 out of 5

    SeriouslyJerome

    I kept seeing Elmore Leonard's name on movies or TV shows that I liked. I had a vague notion that he wrote crime novels, so why would his name be on "Justified" or "3:10 to Yuma" or "Hombre"? Well, everyone starts somewhere, & the western genre was where Leonard started - waaaaaaay back in the 1950's ;) I enjoyed reading the progression of his writing style & skill. By the end of the collection, his focus was more on the story than the description of the scene. And I appreciate his research into I kept seeing Elmore Leonard's name on movies or TV shows that I liked. I had a vague notion that he wrote crime novels, so why would his name be on "Justified" or "3:10 to Yuma" or "Hombre"? Well, everyone starts somewhere, & the western genre was where Leonard started - waaaaaaay back in the 1950's ;) I enjoyed reading the progression of his writing style & skill. By the end of the collection, his focus was more on the story than the description of the scene. And I appreciate his research into his subject area. My Arizona friends might like this collection. The title suggests that this an exhaustive collection of his western stories, but it is only a collection of his short stories. I was disappointed to find Hombre missing, as well as others. I guess those are full length novels. Time to see if the library has them...

  15. 5 out of 5

    John Conquest

    Cormac Mccarthy this is not, being much closer in spirit to John Wayne type movies. These stories were published in old western magazines so the audience likely wanted heroic adventures, not Blood Meridian style massacres. The author is probably most famous for being the inspiration behind the television show Justified. 30 short stories that read like an mlg highlight reel of Indians, outlaws, and prison escapees being unceremoniously blown out by ranchers and the like. A good collection of well Cormac Mccarthy this is not, being much closer in spirit to John Wayne type movies. These stories were published in old western magazines so the audience likely wanted heroic adventures, not Blood Meridian style massacres. The author is probably most famous for being the inspiration behind the television show Justified. 30 short stories that read like an mlg highlight reel of Indians, outlaws, and prison escapees being unceremoniously blown out by ranchers and the like. A good collection of well-written, entertaining, often unpredictable yarns. My favorites were: The Rancher's Lady 3:10 to Yuma The Man with the Iron Arm Trail of the Apache Red Hell Hits Canyon Diablo

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Many of these stories were excellent, others not so much but still worth reading. The author really did capture the authenticity of the old West.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Warren Stalley

    The Complete Western Stories gathers together thirty Elmore Leonard short yet impressive stories. Even the early stories in this collection show a remarkable gripping narrative and an authentic level of detail. There are weary rangers, ruthless Apaches, scout riders, military cavalry, bank robbers, gold seekers, cattle barons and scheming cowboys all mixed into the dust and blazing heat of the prairies. These are truly gripping stories with action and drama where tough loners with honourable mor The Complete Western Stories gathers together thirty Elmore Leonard short yet impressive stories. Even the early stories in this collection show a remarkable gripping narrative and an authentic level of detail. There are weary rangers, ruthless Apaches, scout riders, military cavalry, bank robbers, gold seekers, cattle barons and scheming cowboys all mixed into the dust and blazing heat of the prairies. These are truly gripping stories with action and drama where tough loners with honourable moral codes make solemn decisions about life and death in the blazing heat of day and the freezing chill of night where any sound could be danger or destiny. This collection includes the truly electrifying 3.10 to Yuma – a lean and word-perfect piece that shows the sheer power of author Elmore Leonard within a classic short story format. Each story has its own individual merit and worth. Some even go beyond the Western genre such as The Man with the Iron Arm and delve into deeper subjects such as sexism and racism, making for truly fascinating reading. This collection also features the origin stories of later full-length novels and films such as The Tall T and Valdez is Coming. To summarise The Complete Western Stories is a great book to dip into and out of and is essential reading for any western genre fan or anyone curious what Elmore Leonard did before he mastered the crime genre. This short story collection shows another equally fascinating side of the great and much missed author.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carl R.

    The Complete Western Short Stories of Elmore Leonard completes for the time being. my compulsion with Elmore Leonard's work, which was always there, but which turned into nearly an addiction following his death . From modern Detroit and Miami to frontier Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico, the Leonard's career traversed more time and space than perhaps any other American writer. My answer to my tendency to pick a favorite from this group is "The Nagual." I'd give the award to "Tonto Woman," but I al The Complete Western Short Stories of Elmore Leonard completes for the time being. my compulsion with Elmore Leonard's work, which was always there, but which turned into nearly an addiction following his death . From modern Detroit and Miami to frontier Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico, the Leonard's career traversed more time and space than perhaps any other American writer. My answer to my tendency to pick a favorite from this group is "The Nagual." I'd give the award to "Tonto Woman," but I already picked it from When the Women Come Out To Dance, so it was declared ineligible. Besides, "Nagual" has a paranormal element to it that seldom appears in L's work, so I hereby hand over the statuette. We're righteously lucky to have had this man in our midst.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chiyaa Pasal

    Before this, I had only read Leonard’s Raylan Givens novels which were great. Leonard doesn’t disappoint with his early writing in this large collection of short stories. These are westerns and I recall only reading one western before (high school required reading...). I enjoyed the stories. Leonard’s writing style makes each easy to visualize and he brings the characters to life in a short space. While there are some common themes, each of the stories is unique / distinct. None of the characters Before this, I had only read Leonard’s Raylan Givens novels which were great. Leonard doesn’t disappoint with his early writing in this large collection of short stories. These are westerns and I recall only reading one western before (high school required reading...). I enjoyed the stories. Leonard’s writing style makes each easy to visualize and he brings the characters to life in a short space. While there are some common themes, each of the stories is unique / distinct. None of the characters seem to repeat and each holds their own. For some stories, I yearned for more but, in the end, it didn’t matter; I enjoyed each as they were.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    I own the Kindle version of this book, and read these short stories on my iPhone. After reading a few of these stories, I saw Elmore Leonard's growth as a short story writer. 'Trail of the Apache,' his first short story, was overlong and unsure about what point it intended to impress upon the reader. But 'Trouble at Rindo's Ranch,' 'Saint with a Six-Gun' and other stories he wrote later, were much more powerful and gripping. 'Three-Ten to Yuma,' for example, was a perfectly formed short story. I own the Kindle version of this book, and read these short stories on my iPhone. After reading a few of these stories, I saw Elmore Leonard's growth as a short story writer. 'Trail of the Apache,' his first short story, was overlong and unsure about what point it intended to impress upon the reader. But 'Trouble at Rindo's Ranch,' 'Saint with a Six-Gun' and other stories he wrote later, were much more powerful and gripping. 'Three-Ten to Yuma,' for example, was a perfectly formed short story.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Side note: why'd they make such a big fuss about Treasure at Mungo's Landing. Really wasn't that much of a story, it's even a whole lot similar to one of the stories put in earlier. All that's really special about it is that it took the editor a long time to find. Side note: why'd they make such a big fuss about Treasure at Mungo's Landing. Really wasn't that much of a story, it's even a whole lot similar to one of the stories put in earlier. All that's really special about it is that it took the editor a long time to find.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dave Timney

    some little gems in this collection,worth checking out if you are a fan of westerns or elmore's writing in general some little gems in this collection,worth checking out if you are a fan of westerns or elmore's writing in general

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alexander

    Elmore Leonard wrote westerns before he wrote about crime. Reading through this collection, you can start to see the elements of his writing developing, the elements that work so well: the dialogue, the pacing, the quick and spot-on characterizations. When you know what's to come in his crime writing, it's cool to see it in development in these stories. A few of the earlier stories read as rote westerns. But when you get further along, there are some really great, classic Leonard diamonds in the Elmore Leonard wrote westerns before he wrote about crime. Reading through this collection, you can start to see the elements of his writing developing, the elements that work so well: the dialogue, the pacing, the quick and spot-on characterizations. When you know what's to come in his crime writing, it's cool to see it in development in these stories. A few of the earlier stories read as rote westerns. But when you get further along, there are some really great, classic Leonard diamonds in there. The story "The Hard Way" is great read -- stands alongside some of his best crime writing, IMO. This collection is a must for any Leonard fan, anyone interested in the Western genre or genre writing in general. Leonard is a master of it. And for anyone just interested in solid short stories, it works on that level too.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Andre T

    I'll continue to update this as I read through the short stories. I liked the introduction of the book that talked with Elmore Leonard about his experiences writing in the western genre, which is also his first foray into professional writing. This is particularly interesting as you hear how he got started as a writer and how he had to manage having a full-time job, a family and pursue his dreams. Since Leonard's style has evolved quite a bit, it's interesting to hear about his aspirations as a y I'll continue to update this as I read through the short stories. I liked the introduction of the book that talked with Elmore Leonard about his experiences writing in the western genre, which is also his first foray into professional writing. This is particularly interesting as you hear how he got started as a writer and how he had to manage having a full-time job, a family and pursue his dreams. Since Leonard's style has evolved quite a bit, it's interesting to hear about his aspirations as a young writer. Trail of the Apache - 1951 I wasn't sure what to expect of this first story, Leonard first published piece of writing, and I was somewhat surprised by it. Because of the decade, 1950s and watching reruns of "The Rifleman," "Bonanza," and other TV westerns from that era, I expected a sedate, perhaps lighthearted tale of the Wild West with macho cowboys and politically uncorrect, if not stereotypical portrayals of Native Americans and instead I read a modern and sympathetic description of the Apache Native Americans and how bureaucracy can make a mess of their lives. While the story starts off slow, it is all a setup for a turn of events, a build up to some unexpected violence, a scene that is almost brutal in it's description, that really pulled you emotionally into the story. I was really surprised by this scene, and you can see the beginnings of how Elmore Leonard would later experiment with the genre, an ability to prod and pull at a genre's boundaries, something he'd pull off with greater accomplishment in his later westerns and especially when he transitioned later to the crime genre.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    I read one of Elmore's Westerns, "Valdez is Coming" on a three hour flight to Madeira. I'd read it before, and what a classic it is. Suffice to say I started and finished the book within the flight itself, without interruption, totally caught up in the story and hardly noticing the time going by. When the writing is this immersive, the story plays out in your head like a good movie (of which there were none on this flight). Although this was set in the distant past, the characters feel totally c I read one of Elmore's Westerns, "Valdez is Coming" on a three hour flight to Madeira. I'd read it before, and what a classic it is. Suffice to say I started and finished the book within the flight itself, without interruption, totally caught up in the story and hardly noticing the time going by. When the writing is this immersive, the story plays out in your head like a good movie (of which there were none on this flight). Although this was set in the distant past, the characters feel totally contemporary in how they act and what they say. Nowadays, I cringe when I read or see the past being rewritten to include strong women and/or minority parts in books, films and TV shows. Reading this, it struck me that the great writers never worried about stuff like that - they just naturally included such roles within their works. Yes, a man had to do what a man had to do, but equally so did a woman, a Mexican, an Indian or any other player that needed to be heard to make the story work. The values that built the West were not exclusively white, male and Christian, as this tale makes abundantly clear. Doing the "Right Thing" is what is required, and just about everyone knows, or should know, what that is. Woe betide the characters who can't or won't acknowledge basic human morality in stories like these. I put the book down with only one question in my head: What was I going to find that was even half as good to read on the flight home?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Blue

    Listened via LeVar Burton Reads podcast. (#12) I like world-building. I know it isn't everything, I know Disney ignores it and still makes really fun movies while Pixar can make a small location feel like a full world, but I value it highly. This book does not have it. The way LeVar introduces a book I expect to jump in, from air into a swimming pool for example, or at least a writing style that does that on its own; this book had none of that. It was not a nothing book, just situation based and Listened via LeVar Burton Reads podcast. (#12) I like world-building. I know it isn't everything, I know Disney ignores it and still makes really fun movies while Pixar can make a small location feel like a full world, but I value it highly. This book does not have it. The way LeVar introduces a book I expect to jump in, from air into a swimming pool for example, or at least a writing style that does that on its own; this book had none of that. It was not a nothing book, just situation based and that does not appeal to me on its own. It would have been a nothing book, in my opinion, had it had a different ending but as it stands I suppose it was alright.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Liralen

    I loved this collection, inside and out. There are some really gorgeous tales in here, and some really amazingly brutal and entirely historical stories of the old old West. Elmore Leeonard's dialog is razor sharp and ONLY what needs to be there. I love the progression through these as well, as he hits his stride and the 3:10 to Yuma is just absolutely perfect. There are stories in here to break your heart, to figure out what real courage really is, and with the lovely plot twists that are utterly I loved this collection, inside and out. There are some really gorgeous tales in here, and some really amazingly brutal and entirely historical stories of the old old West. Elmore Leeonard's dialog is razor sharp and ONLY what needs to be there. I love the progression through these as well, as he hits his stride and the 3:10 to Yuma is just absolutely perfect. There are stories in here to break your heart, to figure out what real courage really is, and with the lovely plot twists that are utterly and beautifully character driven. I've always loved many of the Leonard villains as much as the heroes in the derived movies and TV series, and I find that they're just as personable and driven by their own circumstances and needs in these stories, if not more so. Oddly enough what I treasure most about this treasury is one of the reasons I also love the Damon Runyon omnibus: While there are a few utterly brilliant stories that leave me in utter awe and despair of ever touching something that perfect in my writing, the others are really good but are not that penultimate expression of the form. Even the masters aren't *always* at their best, and even the not-best can be published and enjoyed.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kirk

    So I've decided to teach a short-story class next semester (theory of, not creative writing), and I've decided to do some genre lit. In addition to some noir, I thought it would be fun to do Westerns; since I'm not particularly well-versed in them, I thought it would be a good opportunity to edumacte myself. So I immediately reached for the Elmore. I've been enjoying the stories, which aren't as formulaic as you might expect. Of course, there's a lot of repetition, but it tends mainly to be in t So I've decided to teach a short-story class next semester (theory of, not creative writing), and I've decided to do some genre lit. In addition to some noir, I thought it would be fun to do Westerns; since I'm not particularly well-versed in them, I thought it would be a good opportunity to edumacte myself. So I immediately reached for the Elmore. I've been enjoying the stories, which aren't as formulaic as you might expect. Of course, there's a lot of repetition, but it tends mainly to be in the description (the word "ramada" gets used over and over) as opposed to the action. There are many clever turns of plot in various entries that help us understanding why this stuff was so entertaining fifty/sixty years ago. I imagine most students will be interested in "Three-Ten to Yuma," which is really only a sliver of the movie---and not necessarily the meat of that flick, either. There's also a nice introduction here that makes it clear that Leonard TRAINED himself to write through these pieces. It'll be interesting to see how the class responds to this as opposed to, say, Tim O'Brien and Sylvia Plath.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nate

    This was really fun to read. Elmore Leonard is one of the better pulp writers, his uncomplicated writing style is so easy and enjoyable to read. Again, it left me wondering how much of the way we imagine historical settings is affected by the society the writer was living in. I specifically reference the difference in the way indigenous people were characterised pre WWII, where the "natives" were largely set dressing as the embodiment of animalistic danger, into the post WWII image of the noble s This was really fun to read. Elmore Leonard is one of the better pulp writers, his uncomplicated writing style is so easy and enjoyable to read. Again, it left me wondering how much of the way we imagine historical settings is affected by the society the writer was living in. I specifically reference the difference in the way indigenous people were characterised pre WWII, where the "natives" were largely set dressing as the embodiment of animalistic danger, into the post WWII image of the noble savage, hard done by, and although not civilised, worthy of a degree of acknowledgement just short of respect. Still racist as fuck, but certainly progress.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This is a collection of Elmore Leonard's early Western short stories, from long before he became known as a crime novelist. It's safe to say that he had not yet found his voice when he wrote these -- the snappy dialog that became his trademark later is barely to be found here. The stories are reasonably entertaining, but his crime novels from later in his career are far more fun, and much more satisfying. This is a collection of Elmore Leonard's early Western short stories, from long before he became known as a crime novelist. It's safe to say that he had not yet found his voice when he wrote these -- the snappy dialog that became his trademark later is barely to be found here. The stories are reasonably entertaining, but his crime novels from later in his career are far more fun, and much more satisfying.

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