Monday, December 1, 2008

Border Guns by Eugene Cunningham

The front rank stopped. What Ross told them was all too true. He was a dead man if any chose to flip back a Colt-hammer-but two, or three, or four in that front rank would surely be as dead. Those behind pushed upon those in front. But the men directly before those muzzles dug in their heels and upon their faces showed the beginning of a change in emotions-the breaking of their savage determination to rescue their lieutenant from the jail, and settle this unpleasant personage with the shotgun; some thought of the gaping wounds left by buckshot....

I enjoyed this 1935 western. Guns is well-plotted with thrilling action and exceptional dialogue. For more info on Cunningham, check out The Handbook of Texas. Next to Luke Short, Cunningham is a writer whose work I will collect. Thanks to J.R. for recommending him.

9 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I like these old westerns. The 1935 through 1965 was a good period for good westerns.

Chris said...

"...the quiet game or the quick one." This one sounds interesting. I would love to read some Westerns from before L'Amour started writing them.

David Cranmer said...

Charles, Short and Cunningham among others seemed to be a bridge between Zane Gray, and Max Brand to later writers like Louis L'Amour. The short bio mentions he "aimed at a middle ground between sophisticated stories and pulp novels." Westerns during the period you mentioned seemed to have matured which I tend to prefer.

Chris, I think you would like Cunningham’s style and there are some similarities with Louis but the protagonist in Guns seems very conflicted compared to the two L’Amour books I’ve read.

Ray said...

I thought I'd keep my mouth shut when I saw you reading one of Eugene's book. He's another one of those brilliant western writers from way back when. In theory, if you liked Cunningham then you'll like Luke Short.
Cunningham wrote an interesting book called 'Triggernometry' that is worth a look as it tells the stories of several famous people like Jim Bowie, John Wesley Hardin and some that - well, you know the name but not sure who they were - like Ben Thompson and Luke Short.
Luke Short (not the writer) was a gambler and fast with a gun.

Anonymous said...

25 cents for a book. Now those were the good old days.

Don Ward

Scott Parker said...

I'll have to investigate that boxful of westerns I inherited to see if there are any Cunningham novels in there. I do have a ton of Luke Shorts, however. Ahh, the Handbook of Texas *online*. If only I had access to it in this medium back when I was in graduate school I would have spent fewer hours in the library waiting for my turn with the only copy.

David Cranmer said...

Ray, I saw 'Triggernometry' online when I ordered Border Guns. It sounds like an excellent read and resource. I'm a history nut so I will probably get it with the next order.

Don, The Dell paperback featured is a 1957 edition. I agree that a quarter is one helluva buy.

Scott, I was in the pre-internet college group and spent many hours in the library. Kinda miss it a little... but not waiting for the one and only book you need to be checked back in.

Barbara Martin said...

I don't recall this writer of westerns, only Zane Gray, Max Brand and Louis L'Amour. Something new today, then.

David Cranmer said...

Barbara, a real mature writer that I think you would enjoy.