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The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard Paperback – May 8, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 155 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Even the earliest of his western yarns show Leonard to be a master storyteller.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Leonard has penned some of the best western fiction ever.” (USA Today)

About the Author

Elmore Leonard wrote more than forty books during his long career, including the bestsellers Raylan, Tishomingo Blues, Be Cool, Get Shorty, and Rum Punch, as well as the acclaimed collection When the Women Come Out to Dance, which was a New York Times Notable Book. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty and Out of Sight. The short story "Fire in the Hole," and three books, including Raylan, were the basis for the FX hit show Justified. Leonard received the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He died in 2013.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061242926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061242922
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Since mine is the first review of this wonderful collection of short stories from a master writer, the book must be one of the best kept secrets of contemporary publishing.

These stories were written during years of the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s for magazines of that period, prior to Elmore Leonard switching to a modern mode of crime writing for books.

Anyone familiar with HOMBRE, VALDEZ IS COMING, or THE TALL T will not be surprised with his talent for writing westerns. He has said he always liked western movies, and his first fledgling attempts at writing were therefore westerns. Growing up in that era, I clearly recall that westerns were almost at the forefront of both publishing and movie screen. Many of us growing up in those days of Hoppy & Roy & Gene & Lone Ranger comics, post-WWII paperbacks, and the local "bijou" theaters, remain western fans to this very day. On a personal note, I probably have well over one thousand paperback westerns in my library, collected over the years, and yes, Mr. Leonard's are all there.

So when this book came out I bought it immediately. The manner in which the publisher issued the book is above normal: inside the front and back covers are many of the magazine covers in color within which the stories appeared; also, there is a nifty map showing many sites in Arizona Territory helping one locate the area of individual stories.

This was an ambitious undertaking from both author and publisher, and one of love from the author I'm sure. If you have interest in Elmore Leonard, or the American fictional west, or both, you will not want to be without this volume.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
True fans of Elmore Leonard, both in his western genre and his gritty crime/underworld genre, will need no recommendation from a total stranger to pounce on this book of his with excitement. What a wonderful addition to any library! His stories are highly readable, extremely realistic, and often result in a surprise ending that you never saw coming. And because they are short stories, they need to grab the reader's attention quickly, and they do just that. These are very enjoyable short stories, including "3:10 to Yuma". You'll be glad to own this collection. Trust me.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a collection of Elmore Leonard's thirty Western short stories. These stories were written at the beginning of his career. Several of these classic stories were turned into movies. The most famous story in the collection is "3:10 to Yuma" which was turned into a classic western film starting Glenn Ford and then horribly butchered and mangled into a remake starring Russell Crowe.

There are a number of other excellent stories here. Leonard does not use the normal stereotypes seen in so many western television shows and movies. "Tonto Woman" tells the story of a woman who has been rescued from captivity only to be exiled by society. "Hurrah for Captain Early" gives us a story rarely heard. How black soldiers saved Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders at San Juan hill.

These are all good stories. This was my first Leonard book and I enjoyed re-reading it as much as
I enjoyed reading it the first time.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Now known as one of America's best writers of crime fiction, Elmore Leonard got his start writing western tales for pulp fiction magazines in the 1950s. This retrospective collection of his western work consists of thirty short stories and novellas, presented in chronological order.

If thirty stories sounds like a lot, it is. With that many entries, this collection can't help but get repetitive. How many stagecoach robberies can fit between the covers of one book? Though none of the characters appear in more than one story, the same types continually pop up under new names. The first seven or eight stories lead the reader to believe Leonard may be a one-trick pony. He confines his subject and setting to the Apache country of Arizona. The protagonist is usually a civilian scout hired to guide a party of soldiers, settlers, or criminals through Indian lands. No matter how much the hero warns his employers about the dangers of such a trip, they stubbornly refuse to listen and plod forward regardless, with dire consequences. Though Leonard has a respectful admiration for the Apaches, his portrayal of them is a stereotype nonetheless. He depicts them as stoic killing machines, keenly intelligent and shrewdly calculating, until a drop of alcohol transforms them into murderous lunatics. Though these early stories are strong individually, when read together they inspire a cumulative Apache fatigue.

Thankfully, after the first quarter of the book Leonard broadens his scope and gets more innovative with his plots and characterization. In "The Big Hunt," a young buffalo hunter and his companion, an old skinner, amass a bountiful collection of hides, but when the fruit of their labor is stolen from them by some bullies, the boy must set out after the thieves in search of restitution.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Published in 2007, the 546-page COMPLETE WESTERN STORIES OF ELMORE LEONARD is a both compendium of the author's early writings and a tribute to an era when cowboys, gunslingers, outlaws, and troublesome redskins dominated both pulp fiction and the black and white television airwaves. For those familiar with and fans of Leonard's contemporary crime fiction, who would've thought he had a previous life as a Western storyteller? That's what intrigued me and compelled me to work my way through this monster volume even though I generally have little interest in sagebrush sagas. (The last Western I read, Sackett (The Sacketts, No 4), was the result of precarious circumstance, and, long before that, it was something or other by Larry McMurtry.)

This volume is comprised of thirty-one yarns, the first penned for Argosy magazine in 1951, and the last appearing in 1994 in New Trails, an anthology of Western writers. Twenty-seven of the tales were written between 1951 and 1956. All take place in the Arizona and New Mexico Territories, and most, I gather, are set in the 1870s.

The aggregate cast of characters includes just about all the usual personae one encounters in the genre: hard-working cowpoke, rustler, stage robber, small-time rancher, Army scout, junior cavalry officer, lawman, hidden treasure seeker, drifter, buffalo hunter, and marauding savage. (Um, sorry. In PC-speak, the last one would be "misunderstood and oppressed Native American.") Perhaps the only types that I would've expected to appear but didn't were the shifty gambler concealing an ace and a derringer and the saloon girl of easy virtue with a heart of gold.
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