Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Hopalong Cassidy Novel by Louis L'Amour

The name of it is The Trail to Seven Pines published by Bantam Books. Right off, Hoppy figures trouble is coming when he runs across a dead man, Jesse Lock,  in a stagecoach robbery and the fun begins. He is accused of killing the guy and he has to prove his innocence, and gets involved in a range war and more. The all-knowing, all-seeing, and omniscient Hoppy is on the trail of the real killer while helping out the Rocking R gang, who help him out, too. Just the name of Hopalong Cassidy strikes fear into the hearts of the evil-doers, but they tighten their jaws and brace up and stir up and conquer their fears and take on the Sage of the West (my words). After he wipes out the 3 G Ranch gang, he finds the killer of Jesse Lock with the help of Ben Lock, the brother, who falls in love with Katie, who runs the café where everyone gathers to talk things over, including Shorty Montana, who also appears to be trying to get Katie to marry him.

According to Beau L'Amour  son of Louis, this manuscript was written by Louis L'Amour, but he never fessed up to it, having written it under the name of Tex Burns along with three other Hoppy novels. I found this interesting, and wonder why he Louis would not take credit for the writing which is just fine, but a little complicated. For whatever reason, I still enjoyed the story and will buy the other Hoppy's as I run across them. My only complaint was that this one didn't have the humor that I was expecting. But it was written in the early 1950's which may have something to do with it.?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Some Plants of the Southwest

Was looking through the National Audubon Society's Field Guide to the Southwestern States and came across some colorful names of plants that I could use in writing landscape descriptions, flower gardens, etc., if the need arises. These names include:

 False Hellebore (the California Corn Lily)
Elegant Death Camas (also of the Lily family)
Desert Fivespot (Mallow Family)
Showy Milkweed (Milkweed Family), stems milky-juiced, seed pods velvety, spiny and release silky white fluff. [During WWII we grade-school students were released from school to gather the pods for use in the kapok life vests. We ate some of the white meat in the pods, which I found out later the plant was slightly poisonous, but nobody got sick or died that I know of.] [Another note: This is the plant that Monarch butterflies use in their migration, the only plant - Milkweed.]
 Bindweed (Morning Glory Family), aggressive vine, hard to keep out of our corn patch.
 Hoary Cress (Mustard Family)
Heart-Leaf Bittercress (also Mustard)
Spindlestem (Thick Stem Wild Cabbage) often densely hairy with pouch at base.
True Watercress  (Mustard Family). Grows in water, makes a great salad.
London Rocket (Mustard Family), came from Europe, grows in disturbed areas, roadsides, fields, gardens.
Purple Locoweed (Pea Family)
Desert Tobacco (Nightshade Family), smoked by the Indians.
Buffalo Bur (Nightshade Family) What we called the cocklebur.
Sky Pilot (Phlox Family)
Steer's Head (Poppy Family) Looks like one.
Bastard Toadflax (Sandalwood Family)
And one more,
Wingnut Cryptantha (Forget-Me-Not Family)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Giles A. Lutz, Western Author

I had never heard of Giles Lutz or read any of his books until I ran across Man on the Run, so I looked him up on Wikipedia, which has a short bio on him. Born in Missouri in 1910 he passed away in 1982, but not before he won a Spur Award for The Honyocker. He was a prolific writer with sixty-four westerns under his belt, plus as Brad Curtis, eleven erotic novels. He had an anthology and an Omnibus published, too, and wrote short stories for the pulp magazines. Lutz wrote under several different names: James B. Chaffin, Wade Everett (with Will Cook), Alex Hawk, Hunter, Hunger Ingram, Reese Sullivan, and Gene Thompson, plus the Brad Curtis erotic novels. And he wrote sports fiction for the pulps like Ace Sports, Complete Sports, and Football Stories.

You can check him out at from which I glommed on to this info and I'll be reading more of his stories.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Old Buzzard and the Pretty Lady

Roy & Lily  by Loren D. Estleman is who I'm rattling on about. Here's this old hard case rascal buzzard Texan from Vinegaroon (later changed to Langtry) who fell in love with a pretty English actress whom he had never met and would never meet and she was a conniving beautiful Lady, who liked to appear on the stage for money in various cities in Europe and the U. S.

While he was administering a type of justice to anybody who was brought before his Justice of the Peace court, she was looking for ways to make the British pound to keep up appearances and get herself on the stage and her name in the papers. She married this Brit who loved to enter his craft in sailing races, but she talked him into selling the boat and drove him virtually nuts, finally abandoning him for all intents and purposes and diddled around with the future King Edward Albert what-his-name and others.

And the old buzzard, full of rascality and humor, was following her every move in the press that he could lay his hands on and keeping up his desire for her love, hoping some day to actually come face-to-face with her pleasant countenance. He wrote her letters, telling her what was going on his life and she would read them and wonder if he was pulling her leg or just being saucy or could it be the truth.

Talk about opposites attracting, this relationship was the epitome of relationships in that regard. There certainly was none other like it in Texas history or maybe any other history that received so much publicity and later study by some Western studiers. Mister Estleman did his research thoroughly and wrote this book in a way that jumped between Roy and Lily and laid out their lives in an interesting manner, relating what was going on in their lives in a contemporaneous fashion. I really enjoyed reading it, since it covered them both in the same book, and I was sorry that Roy just didn't live quite long enough to meet Lily in person. And I laughed a lot as I read the book.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Another Dreamer, Sort Of

Will Denver is who I'm talking about, a sort of a dreamer, not necessarily a good sort or a bad sort, just a sort. He has fallen for the boss's daughter and who hasn't at one time or another, but his boss, Meade Rockville, is a bad sort. Meade wants his ranch boss, Verl Vandalia, to marry his daughter over this drifter Denver. But the Hell of it is, she has fallen for Denver, too, and this makes her father mad as Hell.

After a tragedy in the corral due to the stupidity of Ferris Rockville, Meade's son, Denver draws his pay and drifts on. He had nearly killed the son in a fight in the corral over the son's stupidity and decided he damn well better vamoose before Meade learns of it.

This novel is by Giles Lutz, writing darkly and more serious than in any story I've read in a long time. It's a Charter Book printed in June1985, but copyrighted by Ace Books in 1971, a paperback.

Well, Meade sends Ferris and Verl to chase down and kill Denver, because this time he's just madder than all get-out, and he decides he's gotta do away with Mister Denver so there will be no chance of him marrying his daughter, Millie, who runs off on a chase to catch up with her man. She wanted to warn Will that her father is sending Vandalia and Ferris after him. And to go on with this it would be more torture than telling you how it ends. Even Meade Rockville goes after Denver madder than a wet hen or an injured bear and meaner than the proverbial junkyard dog.

I don't recall reading any of Mister Lutz' other stories and he has written several like Stagecoach to Hell, The Honyocker, and The Wild Quarry. This one was Man on the Run and an exciting story it is, too.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

I'm a Dreamer

So says the famous John Charles Fremont, I'm a dreamer. And he dreams in Dream West by David Nevin, in a Signet Book copyright 1983, and the first Signet printing in January 1985, a 738-page saga of the life of John Charles Fremont and his wife, Jesse Benton Fremont.

As we trudge through the deep snow on his expedition for a way through the Sierras and later through the high mountain ranges of Colorado, we learn the trials and tribulations of being the "American Pathfinder", and not always a successful one. Born from a union of his French émigré father and his  mother who was married to another man who wouldn't give her a divorce, he married the daughter of the famous Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, who helped him in his difficult tasks of earning money for his expeditions. An Army lieutenant who did not graduate from West Point, he had a difficult time with the Regular West Pointers.

I followed him through his travels like an observer from the distance, as he struggled through the passes and finally become the unofficial Governor of California thanks to a Naval officer named Stockton, who later decries his appointment of him after the debacle of General Kearney at the town named after him, Stockton. Fremont is awarded a general courts-martial for overstepping the bounds of his authority, even though he was in the right, according to Dream West. Kearney interrupted Kit Carson's journey to Washington and made a fiasco of the fight for Stockton, losing several of his soldiers in an ill attempt to beat off the Mexicans.

And the story goes on to the period of the Civil War and Fremont is made a Major General and the head of the Army of the West in St. Louis, Missouri, where he repels General Price from his attempts to take over the State, but gets no glory from it because he overstepped his bounds again and declared Missouri a non-slavery State prematurely and against the wishes of the infant Republican Party and Lincoln, who was President.

While he was in California he hits a gold mine and builds a fine residence at Black Point on the San Francisco Bay that he later loses as the Army declares eminent domain and was renamed the Presidio. Fremont is never paid for his interests. He and his wife, Jesse, settle into life knowing that his career as an explorer and General is at an end, even though he once ran as the Republican's first Presidential candidate. Known as the "Pathfinder", which he hated, he wrote his memoirs and vanished into virtual obscurity.

I remember in high school history reading about him and his trailblazing and believe he got the shaft from General Kearney and the Army, but there are many towns and landmarks named after him.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Back At It

Howdy folks! I'll be blogging again shortly. I hope you noticed the changes in the header and the right column. Yes, O'Shaughnessy's New Deputy is now available for purchase in either pocketbook size ($8.09) or on Kindle ($3.99). Prices may vary a little from time-to-time.

I now have a new computer with Windows 8.1, which I'm slowly getting used to using. I like learning new things, but some of my old stuff didn't get transferred or this one can't open them for some reason. Anyway I still have a back up, so will copy items from there when necessary. Also, the keyboard is flatter than the old one and I make lots of typos.

Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and made easy resolutions to keep. We had a good Christmas and New Year's and I'm looking forward to spending some time with you on the blog now that my extra-curricular activities are completed.

My next project is Trouble at Sagrado Ranch, which takes place mostly in New Mexico just after the Civil War. I'll be starting on that any day now, but first we have to get through the Super Bowl which I will be watching in about forty minutes. GO SEAHAWKS or is it BRONCOS?

So long for now.