Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Deep West by Ernest Haycox

Here's another novel written way back when I was a pup, and the edition I have was published in 1941, the Fourth Printing by Triangle Books, 14 West 49th Street, New York City. No dust cover left on this one.

The protagonist is Jim Benbow, the ranch foremean for the Hat Ranch, who has been working for Jack Dale since he rode in from Texas as a young kid ten years earlier. He had been working as the foreman for the last five years. Of course, Mr. Dale has a daughter named Connie who is getting ready to marry Clay Rand, long-time friend of Benbow, but likes to gamble and owns a small ranch called Short Arrow across the valley.

Antagonist is Cash Gore, owner of the Running M, and cattle rustler. Clay owes Cash a debt for ganbling on something and is tipping him off and helping him in the rustling operation.

I haven't read any Haycox books since the late '40's or early 50's and don't remember enough for comparison, but I found Deep West a little boring and tedious with all its descriptive writing and it takes a long time get to the final shootout that ends the troubles in Two Dance and the Yellow Hills.

But Benbow and his cohorts finally work through the struggle and put the rustlers out of businees, during which Clay gets shot, old man Dale dies, and Benbow gets the girl and half the ranch.

I can say that the story provided a good read, even though it was too descriptively detailed about everyone and everything to my way of thinking.

(NOTE: No money or gift was received for this post.)         


  1. I'm thinking I have some Ernest Haycox short stories in some old Zane Grey's Western Magazines I have.

  2. Yes, he wrote for the pulps, too.

  3. I had a Haycox novel from the library but ended up returning it unread. I had too many stacked up here and needed a fresh start. I know he's important and will some day get back to him.

    Description can be good or not. It's good, I guess, when it is part of or furthers the action.

  4. I'll have to pick up another of his for comparison, to see if it's written the same way.