Editor Estleman (Journey of the Dead, 1998, etc.), among the great writers of fiction about the American Southwest, has won four Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America. Great, yes, although Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy, and Jane Smiley ride herd down there as well—though they don’t make an appearance here. The West in these 21 reprints is a West that does not exist in the movies nor in the traditions of Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey, and Max Brand. As Estleman says in his introduction: “Willa Cather, Oakley Hall, and Glendon Swarthout snatched the struggle for order in the old frontier out of ornate saloons where a piano player in a derby hat pounded out endless choruses of ‘Buffalo Gals’ and placed it in the ice-locked mountain passes and claustrophobic hotel rooms where much of it actually took place.”
A touchstone for strong Western writing beyond genre clichés.