The End of the Trail: Western Stories

Overview

"I was born in the little ex-cowtown of Peaster [Texas]," Robert E. Howard wrote to a friend, and the first story he ever published (in 1922) was a Western sketch. Although he went on to write hundreds of fantasy tales set in Conan's Hyborian kingdoms, Kull's ancient Atlantis, and Solomon Kane's darkest Africa, his heart always remained in the West. In 1929 he began publishing Western tales, but they were unlike any the genre had ever seen - they didn't have happy endings or perfect heroes. They were grimmer, more action packed, even
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Overview

"I was born in the little ex-cowtown of Peaster [Texas]," Robert E. Howard wrote to a friend, and the first story he ever published (in 1922) was a Western sketch. Although he went on to write hundreds of fantasy tales set in Conan's Hyborian kingdoms, Kull's ancient Atlantis, and Solomon Kane's darkest Africa, his heart always remained in the West. In 1929 he began publishing Western tales, but they were unlike any the genre had ever seen - they didn't have happy endings or perfect heroes. They were grimmer, more action packed, even cataclysmically violent.

Howard was fascinated by outlaws and gunmen, especially those who "crossed over" to become lawmen, and he knew and interviewed many "old-timers - old law officers, trail drivers, cattlemen, buffalo hunters, and pioneers." The twelve stories collected here show a West stripped down to essentials, where internalized codes of personal honor, loyalty, and courage matter more than laws, progress, or civilization. Also included are four articles, suggestive of his wide-ranging interests - from Billy the Kid to the eerie and unexplained happenings on the frontier.

"To me the annals of the land pulse with blood and life," Howard wrote, and his Western stories are full of memorable characters, heart-pounding action, and the distinctive prose generations of fans have come to know, and expect, and appreciate.

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Editorial Reviews

Southwest BookViews
"The University of Nebraska Press collections are an important contribution to anyone interested in Robert E. Howard, or just how good pulp fiction can be."—Southwest BookViews
Science Fiction Chronicle
“It’s very nice to have these available once more, and Howard fans should chase them down while they have the chance.”—Science Fiction Chronicle
Historical Novels Review

“These western stories, written in the 1930s, were unlike anything that had been written in the genre until then. Many of the central characters are merely the best of a bad lot . . . and the stories were grimmer, more violent and without happy endings. . . . Aficionados of the genre will undoubtedly welcome the opportunity to revisit these tales.”—Mike Ashworth, Historical Novels Review

— Mike Ashworth

Historical Novels Review - Mike Ashworth
“These western stories, written in the 1930s, were unlike anything that had been written in the genre until then. Many of the central characters are merely the best of a bad lot . . . and the stories were grimmer, more violent and without happy endings. . . . Aficionados of the genre will undoubtedly welcome the opportunity to revisit these tales.”—Mike Ashworth, Historical Novels Review
Library Journal
Howard, of course, is immediately associated with Conan the Barbarian, but he was a popular pulp writer in many genres. These five volumes collect a large portion of his other works, for example, Westerns and fight stories as well as his lesser-known sword and sorcery adventures. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803224247
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2005
  • Series: Works of Robert E. Howard Series
  • Pages: 321
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert E. Howard (1906–36) lived and wrote in Cross Plains, Texas. From 1924 until his death, he sold hundreds of stories to pulp-fiction magazines such as Weird Tales, Argosy, Action Stories, Fight Stories, and Cowboy Stories. As a twentieth-century American master of fantastic adventure, he rivals Edgar Rice Burroughs. Rusty Burke is a noted Howard scholar and collector and is the series editor for the Wandering Star edition of Howard’s works.

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Table of Contents

"Golden hope" Christmas 1
Drums of the sunset 6
The extermination of yellow donory 37
The judgment of the desert 47
Gunman's debt 75
The man on the ground 95
The sand-hills' crest 101
The devil's joker 103
Knife, bullet and noose 112
Law-shooters of cowtown 123
The last ride 132
John Ringold 186
Vultures of Wahpeton 187
Vultures of Wahpeton : alternate ending 261
Vultures' sanctuary 264
The dead remember 282
The ghost of Camp Colorado 290
The strange case of Josiah Wilbarger 294
Beyond the Brazos River 298
Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County war 303
The ballad of Buckshot Roberts 316
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2006

    excellent collection of dark Westerns

    While Robert Howard invented Conan--thus establishing the sword-and-sorcery genre--he was perhaps more at home with his local color and western stories. This features probably his best westerns, ranging from crossover stories like 'The Man on the Ground' to his long, deliciously complex 'The Vultures of Whapeton.' The editors clearly love Howard's work and have taken great pains to bring the unexpurgated work of an American literary icon to the printed page for modern Americans to enjoy. The stories are tightly plotted and enthralling, featuring solid characterizations, fast-paced action, lushly described backgrounds, and crisp, engrossing writing. It's too bad Howard didn't write more of these, for he was indeed a master. What he left us, though, is enjoyable and highly recommended.

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