Ernest Haycox. Just read "The blazing novel of a man who fought his way back from hell alone", it says on the cover of Man in the Saddle. I picked up this pocketbook to compare with the book I read some time ago in which I complained about all the descriptive writing Haycox used in it. In the Man in the Saddle he was not quite as descriptive as before, but it was a little annoying when he describes so many facial features like "His black head dropped a little; his lips rolled together, displaying surliness. This lasted for only a moment. He whipped up his chin and caught Owen Merritt's stare, and at once pulled all expression off his cheeks. He turned back toward the hotel." As I read along, it became less irritating or I read over it without noticing.
Anyway, aside from this minor complaint, it's a story of Owen Merritt and his battle with Will Isham, the big and rich rancher that is trying to take over the valley, including Merritt's smaller ranch and who married Owen's girfriend, Sally Bidwell. Fay Dutcher, Isham's foreman, hates Sally for horning in and becoming the heir to the fortune that Dutcher has his mind set on. Dutcher has no liking for Merritt, either, after they get into a fight and he came out on the loser's end. Isham is set on taking over Merritt's ranch, but Merritt isn't about to let him have it without a fight. Isham's gang finally gets around to attempting to run Merritt out and Merritt gets a shot in the leg. Merritt goes to his neighbor, Nan Melotte, an attractive schoolmarm, who bandages him up and they take off to avoid Dutcher's men from finding him, holing up in a cave. Of course Merritt begins to fall in love with Nan, even though his conscience still has his sights set on Sally. And it moves on to the final shootout where Merritt kills Isham and Fay Dutcher, and the rest of the Isham gang leaves town. But, poor Sally, thinks she can't marry Merritt now because he shot her husband and, and, and... I'll leave the story there, since I don't want to ruin it for the next reader.
I guess the editor or proof-reader or maybe Mr. Haycox didn't catch the error in Merritt's name which showed up later on in the narrative. It was Merrill instead of Merritt two or three times.
According to Wikipedia, there were eight films from the Haycox novels: Union Pacific, Stagecoach, Sundown Jim, Abilene Town, Canyon Passage, Man in the Saddle, Bugles in the Afternoon, The Far Country (from Alder Gulch).
(I drew the picture from a photo at the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission.)
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!