Been read reading The Mammoth Book of Westerns published by Running Press Book Publishers, a Member of the Perseus Books Group, printed and bound in the UK. It was edited by Jon E. Lewis with a Foreword by Rick Bass.
It contains a selection of short stories and novel excerpts by authors from Wister to McMurtry. I fnished reading stories by Bret Harte and Frederick Remington, and a novel excerpt by Mark Twain, in the first pages and will continue on to the end over the next weeks or months.
Bret Harte's The Outcasts of Poker Flat is a classic. I first read it in the 1940's in high school, but didn't remember exactly what I read. This reading reminded me it wasn't exactly a comedy, but a sad story of some people who were banned from the town of Poker Flat for one reason or another relating to their illegal or criminal activity. It didn't end on an upbeat note, since the outcasts were caught in a mountain snow storm and struggled to survive. I think this is the first western story written about non-heroes, but maybe not. Anyway, I enjoyed re-reading it after all these years.
I also enjoyed Mark Twain's excerpt from Roughing It. He had me laughing out loud over his description of stage coach travel, jack rabbits, mules, and the lady passenger who wouldn't stop talking. I always meant to read the book, but haven't got around to it, yet. I know it'll be a fun read.
Frederic Remington, the western painter of Indians and cowboys, also wrote quite a bit, too. This was all new to me, though, having only heard of his great artistic efforts. His story here was A Sergeant of the Orphan Troop, a dramatic telling of a couple of skirmishes with the Indians in Nebraska not far from Fort Robinson. His writing is direct and straightforward as he recounts the battles and suffering of both the Indians and the soldiers.