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Ernest Haycox Bibliography Creator

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Haycox, Ernest, 1899-1950
Title
Ernest Haycox papers
Dates
1922-1974 (inclusive)

19221974

Quantity
28.75 linear feet, (6 containers)
Collection Number
Coll 164
Summary
Ernest Haycox (1899-1950), a prolific writer of Western fiction, graduated from the University of Oregon in 1923 with a degree in journalism. His career began with the publication of some of his short stories while he was still a college student, and over the next three decades his short stories and novels earned a world-wide audience. His first novel, Free Grass, was published in 1929 and was followed by another novel almost every year until his death in 1950. A final book, The Adventurers, was published posthumously in 1955. The Ernest Haycox Papers comprise manuscripts of his short stories and novels, magazine tearsheets, free-standing volumes, research material, and photographs.
Repository
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
UO Libraries--SPC, 1299
University of Oregon
Eugene OR
97403-1299
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Fax: 541-346-3485
spcarref@uoregon.edu
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

A native Oregonian, born in a suburb of Portland on October 1, 1899, Ernest Haycox became an author with a world-wide audience. His name is synonymous with Westerns, a genre of stories set in the American West during the period of greatest expansion, 1830-1880. His career began with the publication of some of his short stories while he was still a college student, and spanned nearly three decades. Haycox attended Reed College in 1920 and transferred to the University of Oregon in 1921 to study writing. He graduated in 1923 with a degree in journalism.

His first publication credits came from the pulp magazines of the day, such as Sea Stories, Western Story, Adventure, and Short Stories. In June 1931 Haycox broke into the “slicks,” magazines like Collier’s and The Saturday Evening Post, and his popularity soared. His stories remained regular features, appearing serialized form throughout the thirties and forties.

Haycox had a parallel career as a novelist. His first book, Free Grass, was published in 1929 and was followed by another novel almost every year until his death in 1950. A final book, The Adventurers, was published posthumously in 1955.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Ernest Haycox Papers comprise manuscripts of his short stories and novels, magazine tearsheets, freestanding volumes and research material. Manuscripts for some of his earliest short stories are missing, but most of these are represented by tearsheets. All genres of his work are found in manuscript form—westerns, historical dramas, contemporary western romances, and adventure stories—with the exception of his detective stories. The manuscripts are arranged chronologically by date of publication, as organized by the donor. Draft versions are not, as a rule, numbered in Mr. Haycox’s hand, and tearsheets are filed immediately after the draft which most closely matches the published version. The inventory lists stories represented solely by tearsheets in quotation marks. Each draft citation includes some minor description of the manuscript. The term “draft” denotes a typed, complete (unless otherwise noted) manuscript. Carbons are not duplicates of the previous drafts; rather they are the extant copy of a missing original draft. An exception is a duplicate carbon extensively revised. The term “revised” refers to all handwritten and typed changes and strike overs. “Version” appears rarely and only as a means of describing an early draft that is very different from the final story. Page counts are noted, as are page revisions, character sketches, and preliminary notes, as well as original titles, if different from the published piece. The freestanding volumes of Haycox novels and anthologies containing his stories are arranged in order of publication; anthologies are alphabetized, and foreign versions are integrated within each title.

Photographic prints are also included.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Ernest Haycox papers, Coll 164, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Arrangement

Collection is organized into the following series: Short stories; Novels; Research material; Art works; Photographs; and Miscellaneous.

Processing Note

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Short storiesReturn to Top

BoxFolder
12

“The Trap Lifters,” Sea Stories,

October 20, 1922
12

“Leeward of Storm Isle,” Sea Stories,

November 20, 1922
12
“The Storm Raider,” Sea Stories,

(photocopy included)

December 5, 1922
13
“Over the Straits,” Sea Stories,

(photocopy included)

January 5, 1923
13

“The Coolie Catcher,” Ace-High,

March 5, 1923
13
“The Rum Runners, Part I,” Sea Stories,

(photocopy included)

July 5, 1923
13
“The Rum Runners, Part II,” Sea Stories,

(photocopy included)

July 20, 1923
14
“His Ranch Lure,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

March 1, 1924
14
“Too Hot,” Detective Story,

(photocopy included)

March 21, 1924
14
“Wilderness Anchorage,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

March 22, 1924
14

“Wilderness Anchorage,” reprint, Western Winners,

June 1936
15
“The Ditch to Freedom,” Sport Story,

(photocopy included)

June 8, 1924
15
“Too Much Spunk,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

June 28, 1924
15
“To Smooth Out Wrinkles,” Detective Story,

(photocopy included)

July 12, 1924
16
“In Time of Trouble,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

August 16, 1924
16

“In Time of Trouble,” reprint, Western Winners,

November 1935
16
“Vengeance in the Wilderness,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

September 6, 1924
17
“Wolf-Wolf,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

September 13, 1924
17
“Wolf-Wolf,” reprint, retitled “Wolf,” Western Winners,

(photocopy included)

February 1936
17
“The Snowbird,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

October 11, 1924
18
“Three Warped Souls,” Detective Story,

(photocopy included)

October 11, 1924
18
“When Money Went to His Head,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

October 25, 1924
18
“Budd Dabbles in Homesteads,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

November 1, 1924
19
“A Burnt Creek Yuletide,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

December 20, 1924
19
“Stubborn People,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

December 27, 1924
19
“The Valley of the Rogue,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

February 21, 1925
110
“A Wooing in the Wilds,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

August 29, 1925
110

“A Wooing in the Wilds,” reprint, Western Winners,

December 1935
110
“The Land Beyond the Mist,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

November 11, 1925
110
“Prairie Yule,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

December 19, 1925
110

“Prairie Yule,” reprint, Western Winners,

January 1936
111
“Roll Along Missouri,” Frontier,

(photocopy included)

December 1925
21
“A Good Man to Lie For,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

January 26, 1926
21
“Light of the West,” Popular,

(photocopy included)

February 7, 1926
21
“False Face,” Western Story,

(photocopy only)

February 1926
22

“Frontier Blood” (original title: “A Morning in ’55”)

22

“Frontier Blood” (original title: “A Morning in ’55”), final carbon, 96 pp

23
“Frontier Blood” (original title: “A Morning in ’55”), tearsheet, Frontier,

(photocopy included)

March 1926
24
“Trial by Fire,” Adventure,

(photocopy included)

May 8, 1926
24
“The Code,” Frontier,

(photocopy included)

June 1926
24
“The Code,” reprint, retitled “Trail Town,” Western Winners,

(photocopy only)

September 14, 1932
24
“Rockbound Honesty,” Western Story,

(photocopy only)

June 1926
24
“The Bird in the Bush,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

July 3, 1926
25

“A Cup of Sugar,” manuscript, 22pp

26
“A Cup of Sugar,” tearsheet, Adventure,

(photocopy included)

July 8, 1926
27

“Sons of the Forest Edge,” draft, revised, 15 pp

28
“Sons of the Forest Edge,” tearsheet, Frontier,

(photocopy included)

July 1926
29
“Rimrock and Rattlesnakes,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

July 10, 1926
210
“With Grape and Bayonet,” Adventure,

(photocopy included)

July 23, 1926
210
“The Traitor,” Adventure,

(photocopy included)

September 8, 1926
210
“No Gent to Fool With,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

September 11, 1926
212

“A Battle Piece,” draft, revised 15 pp

212
“A Battle Piece,” tearsheet, Adventure,

(photocopy included)

September 23, 1926
212
“Ambushed,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

February 5, 1927
213
“Gunfleet’s Dicker,” Western Story,

(photocopy only)

October 1926
213
“Dippity Sheriff to Boot,” Western Story,

(photocopy only)

October 1926
213
“The Timberline Fugitive,” Far West Illustrated,

(photocopy included)

February 1927
214
“The Drums Roll,” Adventure,

(photocopy included)

June 1, 1927
215

“A Military Interlude,” final carbon, 15 pp

216
“A Military Interlude,” tearsheet, Adventure,

(photocopy included)

July 1, 1927
31

“Winds of Rebellion” (original title: “The Prison Ship”) draft, revised, 86 pp

32

“Winds of Rebellion,” final carbon, 110 pp

33
“Winds of Rebellion,” tearsheet, Adventure,

(photocopy included)

July 15, 1927
34

“The Bell of Sevensticks,” carbon, revised, 99 pp

35
“The Bell of Sevensticks,” Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

July 25, 1927
36

“A Rider of the High Mesa,” carbon, revised, 99 pp

37

“A Rider of the High Mesa,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

September 25, 1927
38

“One Night in Blackfoot,” final carbon, 17 pp

39

“One Night in Blackfoot,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

October 10, 1927
310

“A New Deal in Sevensticks” (original title: “Saint Ringo of Sevensticks”), final carbon, 17 pp

311
“A New Deal in Sevensticks,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

October 25, 1927
312
“Under Western Skies,” Western Story,

(photocopy included)

December 3, 1927
313

“The Man From Montana,” draft, 15 pp

314

“The Man From Montana,” manuscript, 19 pp

315

“The Man From Montana,” Short Stories,

December 10, 1927
316

“The Octopus of Pilgrim Valley,” final carbon, 80 pp

317
“The Octopus of Pilgrim Valley,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

January 10, 1928
41

“The Desert Eye,” draft, revised, 10 pp

42

“The Desert Eye,” final carbon, 14 pp

43
“The Desert Eye,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

February 10, 1928
44

“Secret River,” manuscript, 38 pp

45

“Secret River,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

February 25, 1928
46

“Bound South,” final carbon, 17 pp

47
“Bound South,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

March 10, 1928
48

“The Revenge of Florida Jack,” final carbon, 17 pp

49
“The Revenge of Florida Jack,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

March 25, 1928
410

“Silver Bob Rides West,” final carbon, 18 pp

411
“Silver Bob Rides West,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

April 10, 1928
412

“Starlight and Gunflame,” final carbon, 66 pp

413
“Starlight and Gunflame,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

April 25, 1928
414

“A Municipal Feud,” final carbon, 19 pp

415
“A Municipal Feud,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(incomplete photocopy included)

May 25, 1928
416

“The Sheriff of Crooked Rib,” final carbon, 18 pp

417
“The Sheriff of Crooked Rib,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

May 25, 1928
418

“The Grim Canyon” (original title: “Ranch of Gold”), final carbon, 62 pp

419
“The Grim Canyon,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

July 10, 1928
420
“Guns Up!” final carbon, 62 pp

(also in Box 4, Folder 21)

421
“Guns Up!” final carbon, 62 pp

(also in Box 4, Folder 20)

422
“Guns Up!” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

August 25, 1928
423
“Sevensticks Gambler,” Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

October 10, 1928
51

“Watch Fires,” draft, revised, 19 pp

52

“Watch Fires,” final carbon, 24 pp

53

“Watch Fires,” tearsheet, Adventure,

September 15, 1928
54

“Fandango,” final carbon, 20 pp

55
“Fandango,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

October 25, 1928
56
“Free Grass,” Part V, West,

(incomplete)

February 6, 1929
57

“Discovery Gulch,” final carbon, 44 pp

58

“Discovery Gulch,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

March 10, 1929
59

“Night Raid,” final carbon, 51 pp

510
“Night Raid,” tearsheet, Frontier Stories,

(photocopy included)

April 1929
511

“Invitation by Bullet,” final carbon, 77 pp

512

“Invitation by Bullet,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

April 25, 1929
513

“The Bandit from Paloma County,” final carbon, 20 pp

514

“The Bandit from Paloma County,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

May 10, 1929
514

“The Bandit from Paloma County,” reprint, Short Stories,

July 1952
515

“Wild Horse Lode,” final carbon, 23 pp

516

“Wild Horse Lode,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

May 25, 1929
516

“Wild Horse Lode,” reprint, Short Stories,

October 1952
517

“Renegade Law,” draft, 58 pp

518

“Renegade Law,” manuscript, 58 pp

519
“Renegade Law,” tearsheet, West,

(photocopy included)

May 29, 1929
61

“By Rope and Lead” (original title: “The Affair at Watertank”), final carbon, 20 pp

62
“By Rope and Lead,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

August 10, 1929
63

“Brand Fires on the Ridge,” final carbon, 85 pp

64
“Brand Fires on the Ridge,” tearsheet, West,

(photocopy included)

August 21, 1929
65

“The Old Army Game,” final carbon, 23 pp

66
“The Old Army Game,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

August 25, 1929
67

“Powder Smoke,” final carbon, 20 pp

68
“Powder Smoke,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

September 10, 1929
69

“Contention-Two Miles Ahead,” draft, carbon, 21 pp

610
“Contention-Two Miles Ahead,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

September 25, 1929
611

“The Return of a Fighter,” carbon, revised, 104 pp

612

“The Return of a Fighter,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

October 10, 1929
613

“Five Hard Men” (original title: “The Partners Meet Five Hardmen”), final carbon (incomplete), 31 pp

614

“Five Hard Men,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

November 10, 1929
615

“The Trail of the Barefoot Pony,” final carbon, 88 pp

616

“The Trail of the Barefoot Pony,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

November 25, 1929
71

“Pistol Gap,” draft, carbon, 24 pp

72
“Pistol Gap,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

January 10, 1930
73
“Fighting Man,” draft, carbon, 120 pp

(also in Box 7, Folder 4)

74
“Fighting Man,” draft, carbon, 120 pp

(also in Box 7, Folder 3)

75

“Fighting Man,” tearsheet: Part I, West,

March 5, 1930
75

“Fighting Man,” tearsheet: Part II, West,

March 19, 1930
75

“Fighting Man,” tearsheet: Part III, West,

April 2, 1930
75

“Fighting Man,” tearsheet: Conclusion, West,

April 16, 1930
76

“Red Romain,” final carbon, 66 pp

77
“Red Romain,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

April 10, 1930
78

“Lin of Pistol Gap” (original title: “The Whispering Hills”), draft, carbon, 43 pp

79

“Lin of Pistol Gap,” final carbon, 46 pp

710
“Lin of Pistol Gap,” tearsheet, West,

(photocopy included)

May 14, 1930
711
“Son of the West” (original title: “Deadline”), draft, carbon, 118 pp

(also in Box 7, Folder 12)

712
“Son of the West” (original title: “Deadline”), draft, carbon, 118 pp

(also in Box 7, Folder 11)

713

“Son of the West,” tearsheet: Part I, West,

July 9, 1930
713

“Son of the West,” tearsheet: Part II, West,

July 23, 1930
713

“Son of the West,” tearsheet: Conclusion, West,

August 6, 1930
81
“The Killers,” [July 10, 1930, Short Stories], draft, carbon, 72 pp

(incomplete)

July 10, 1930
82

“The Killers,” draft, carbon, 76 pp

83

“Whispering Range,” Part I, West,

October 14, 1930
83

“Whispering Range,” Part II, West,

October 29, 1930
83

“Son of the West,” Part III, West,

November 12, 1930
83

“Son of the West,” Part IV, West,

November 26, 1930
83

“Son of the West,” Conclusion, West,

December 10, 1930
84

“Bully McGrane,” final carbon, 17 pp

85
“Bully McGrane,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

November 25, 1930
86

“Guns on the Tom Dee,” first draft, original, 70 pp

87

“Guns on the Tom Dee,” carbon, 69 pp

88

“Guns on the Tom Dee,” draft, carbon, 70 pp

89
“Guns on the Tom Dee,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

December 25, 1930
810

“No Speak Pass,” draft, revised, 52 pp

811

“No Speak Pass,” final carbon, 53 pp

812
“No Speak Pass,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

February 25, 1931
91

“Dolorosa, Here I Come” (original titles: “Launcelot and Elaine”; “The Trail Boss”), draft, revised, 21 pp

92

“Dolorosa, Here I Come,” carbon, 20 pp

93

“Dolorosa, Here I Come,” carbon, corrected, 20 pp

94

“Dolorosa, Here I Come,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

February 28, 1931
95

“Old Tough Heart” (alternate title: “Law and Order”), draft, carbon, 18 pp

96
“Old Tough Heart,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

March 25, 1931
97

“The Gun Singer” [June 5, 1931, Ace High], draft, carbon, 63 pp

June 5, 1931
98

“The Gun Singer,” carbon, 63 pp

99

“Black Clan,” carbon, 70 pp

910
“Black Clan,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

June 10, 1931
911

“McQuestion Rides” (original title: “The Ample Folds of Justice”), draft, revised, 16 pp

912

“McQuestion Rides,” draft, revised, 15 pp

913

“McQuestion Rides,” final carbon, 15 pp

914

“McQuestion Rides,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

June 20, 1931
915

“Ride Out!” draft, carbon, 71 pp

916

“Ride Out!” draft, revised, 71 pp

917

“Ride Out!” draft, carbon, 74 pp

918

“Ride Out!” tearsheet, West,

June 24, 1931
919

“Start Toter,” draft, revised, 15 pp

920

“Start Toter,” final carbon, 15 pp

921
“Start Toter,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

June 25, 1931
922

“Officer’s Choice” (original titles: “Deep Dark”; “The Manhunter”), draft, revised, 20 pp

923

“Officer’s Choice,” draft, 17 pp

924

“Officer’s Choice,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

July 4, 1931
101

“Smoke Talk,” draft, 33 pp

102

“Smoke Talk,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

July 25, 1931
102

“Smoke Talk,” reprint, Short Stories,

April 1953
103

“In Answer to Summons,” Short Stories,

August 10, 1931
104

“Manhunt,” draft, carbon, 50 pp

105
“Man Hunt,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

(photocopy included)

August 25, 1931
106
“A Matter of Values,” Short Stories,

(photocopy only)

August 25, 1931
107

“An Evening’s Entertainment” (original titles: “Storm Out West”; “Strategy”), draft, revised, 15pp

108

“An Evening’s Entertainment,” carbon, revised, 16 pp

109

“An Evening’s Entertainment,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

September 26, 1931
1010

“Crossfire” (original title: “The Starlight Rider”), draft, carbon, 59 pp

1011

“Crossfire,” draft, revised, 60 pp

1012

“Crossfire,” final carbon, 62 pp

1013
“Crossfire,” tearsheet, Ace-High,

(photocopy included)

October 16, 1931
1014

“When You Carry a Star” (original title: “On Trail”), draft, revised, 16 pp

1015

“When You Carry a Star,” draft, carbon, 16 pp

1016

“When You Carry a Star,” final draft, 16 pp

1017

“When You Carry a Star,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

December 5, 1931
1018

“The Fighting Call” (original title: “The Fighting Trail”), draft, revised, 41 pp

1019

“The Fighting Call,” draft, carbon, 41 pp

1020

“The Fighting Call,” final carbon, 41 pp

1021
“The Fighting Call,” tearsheet, Cowboy Stories,

(photocopy included)

January 1932
111

“The Roaring Hour,” final carbon, 31 pp

112
“The Roaring Hour,” tearsheet, West,

(photocopy included)

March 16, 1932
113

“Hang Up My Gun” [May 15, 1932, Popular Complete Stories], (original title: “The Smiling Man”), draft, revised 16 pp

May 15, 1932
114

“Hang Up My Gun,” carbon, 15 pp

115

“Hang Up My Gun,” carbon, 15 pp

116

“One More River” (original title: “Wild One”), draft, revised, 14 pp

117

“One More River,” draft, carbon, 15 pp

118

“One More River,” draft, revised, 15 pp

119

“One More River,” final carbon, 15 pp

1110

“One More River,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

May 7, 1932
1111

“The Feudists” [May 13, 1932, Ace High], draft, revised, 106 pp (with page corrections)

May 13, 1932
1112

“The Feudists,” carbon, 106 pp

1113

“Blizzard Camp,” final carbon, 32 pp

1114

“Blizzard Camp,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

May 25, 1932
1114

“Blizzard Camp,” reprint, [ Popular Library, Inc.,

1953]
1115

“The Kid from River Red” [June 1, 1932, Popular Complete Stories], preliminary sketch; draft, carbon, revised, 32 pp

June 1, 1932
1116

“The Kid from River Red,” carbon, 34 pp

1117

“Clouds on the Circle-P” (original title: “Time Was When...”), draft, revised, 16 pp

1118

“Clouds on the Circle-P,” draft, revised, 17 pp

1119

“Clouds on the Circle-P,” final carbon, 16 pp

1120

“Clouds on the Circle-P,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

July 9, 1932
121

“Found Out” (original title: “Loyalty”), draft, revised, 16 pp

122

“Found Out,” draft, revised, 16 pp

123

“Found Out,” draft carbon, 15 pp

124

“Found Out,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

July 23, 1932
125
“Trail Town,” West,

(photocopy included)

September 14, 1932
126

“Farewell, Laramie, Farewell,” draft, revised, 16 pp

127

“Farewell, Laramie, Farewell,” final carbon, 17 pp

128
“Farewell, Laramie, Farewell,” tearsheet, Complete Stories,

(photocopy included)

October 15, 1932
129

“Rodeo,” draft, revised, 19 pp

1210

“Rodeo,” final carbon, 18 pp

1211

“Rodeo,” tearsheet, Elks Magazine,

November 1932
1212

“The Last Draw” (original title: “Cuff Goodnight’s Last Draw”), draft, revised, 17 pp

1213

“The Last Draw,” draft, revised, 15 pp

1214

“The Last Draw,” final carbon, 15 pp

1215

“The Last Draw,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

February 4, 1933
1216

“In Bullhide Canyon” (alternate title: “The Wolf Call”), draft, revised, 14 pp

1217

“In Bullhide Canyon,” draft, revised, 14 pp

1218

“In Bullhide Canyon,” final carbon, 14 pp

1219

“In Bullhide Canyon,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

February 25, 1933
1220

“At Wolf Creek Tavern,” draft, revised, 15 pp

1221

“At Wolf Creek Tavern,” draft carbon, 15 pp

1222

“At Wolf Creek Tavern,” tearsheet, McCall’s,

March 1933
1223

“The Hour of Fury,” draft, revised, 45 pp

1224

“The Hour of Fury,” final carbon, 44 pp

1225

“The Hour of Fury,” tearsheet, Argosy,

April 1, 1933
1226

“Lady Out West,” draft, revised, 18 pp

1227

“Lady Out West,” draft, revised, 15 pp

1228

“Lady Out West,” draft carbon, 15 pp

1229

“Lady Out West,” tearsheet, McClean's,

April 5, 1933
1230

“The Last Rodeo” (original title: “No Time for the Rider”), draft, revised, 16 pp

1231

“The Last Rodeo,” final carbon, 15 pp

1232

“The Last Rodeo,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

May 20, 1933
131

“Romance Renewed” (original title: “Homecoming”), draft, untitled, revised, 5 pp

132

“Romance Renewed,” draft, revised, 4 pp

133

“Romance Renewed,” final carbon, 4 pp

134
“Romance Renewed,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

(photocopy included)

May 27, 1933
135

“To the Limit” (original title: “Sentiment”), draft, revised, 20 pp

136

“To the Limit,” draft, revised, 19 pp

137

“To the Limit,” final carbon, 16 pp

138

“To the Limit,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

June 10, 1933
139

“Starlight Rider”; [all in Collier’s]: Chapter I, July 1, 1933; Chapter II, July 8, 1933; Chapter III, July 15, 1933; Chapter IV, July 22, 1933; Chapter V, July 29, 1933; Chapter VI, August 5, 1933; Chapter VII, August 12, 1933; Chapter VIII, August 19, 1933; Chapter IX, August 26, 1933; Chapter X, September 2, 1933,

1933
BoxFolder
139

“Starlight Rider,” Chapter I, Collier’s,

July 1, 1933
139

“Starlight Rider,” Chapter II, Collier’s,

July 8, 1933
139

“Starlight Rider,” Chapter III, Collier’s,

July 15, 1933
139

“Starlight Rider,” Chapter IV, Collier’s,

July 22, 1933
139

“Starlight Rider,” Chapter V, Collier’s,

July 29, 1933
139

“Starlight Rider,” Chapter VI, Collier’s,

August 5, 1933
139

“Starlight Rider,” Chapter VII, Collier’s,

August 12, 1933
139

“Starlight Rider,” Chapter VIII, Collier’s,

August 19, 1933
139

“Starlight Rider,” Chapter IX, Collier’s,

August 26, 1933
139

“Starlight Rider,” Chapter X, Collier’s,

September 2, 1933
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“Starlight Rider,” reprint, Western,

January 1935
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“Gambler’s Heart,” draft, revised, 16 pp

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“Gambler’s Heart,” final carbon, 17 pp

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“Gambler’s Heart,” tearsheet, Complete,

(photocopy included)

July 15, 1933
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“Wild Jack Rhett,” draft, revised, 16 pp

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“Wild Jack Rhett,” draft, carbon, 17 pp; page corrections

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“Wild Jack Rhett,” tearsheet, Adventure,

September 1933
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“Gilded Wings” (original title: “Fame”), draft, revised, 20 pp

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“Gilded Wings,” draft, revised, 17 pp

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“Gilded Wings,” final carbon, 16 pp

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“Gilded Wings,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

(photocopy included)

September 9, 1933
1321

“Wild Enough” (original title: “An Ancient Wildness”), draft, revised, 16 pp

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“Wild Enough,” draft, revised, 15 pp

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“Wild Enough,” final carbon, 16 pp

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“Wild Enough,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

September 16, 1933
1325

“Their Own Lights” (original title: “Episode – 1880”), draft, revised, 17 pp

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“Their Own Lights,” draft, revised, 16 pp

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“Their Own Lights,” carbon, revised, 16 pp

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“Their Own Lights,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

October 7, 1933
1329

“Odd Chance,” draft, revised, 14 pp

1330

“Odd Chance,” final carbon, 14 pp

1331

“Odd Chance,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

October 21, 1933
141

“Second-Money Man,” draft, revised, 18 pp

142

“Second-Money Man,” draft, revised, 16 pp

143

“Second-Money Man,” final carbon, 17 pp

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“Second-Money Man,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

(photocopy included)

November 11, 1933
145

“Reality” (original titles: “Among the Heathen,” “The Western Way”), draft, revised, 20 pp

146

“Reality,” draft, revised, 17 pp

147

“Reality,” final carbon, 16 pp

148
“Reality,” tearsheet, Elks,

(photocopy included)

November 1933
149

“The Decision,” draft, revised, 18 pp

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“The Decision,” final carbon, 16 pp

1411

“The Decision,” tearsheet, Short Stories,

November 25, 1933
1412

“Motives of an Overlord,” draft, revised, 17 pp

1413

“Motives of an Overlord,” draft, revised, 18 pp

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“Motives of an Overlord,” final carbon, 18 pp

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“Motives of an Overlord,” tearsheet, American,

(photocopy included)

January 1934
1416

“Behind the Headlines” (original title: “Newspaperwoman”), draft, revised, 18 pp; page revisions

1417

“Behind the Headlines,” draft, revised, 17 pp

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“Behind the Headlines,” final carbon, 17 pp

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“Behind the Headlines,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

(photocopy included)

January 20, 1934
1420

“Rough Air,” [all in Collier’s]: Part I, February 17, 1934; Part II, February 24, 1934; Part III, March 3, 1934; Part IV, March 10, 1934; Part V, March 17, 1934; Part VI, March 24, 1934; Part VII, March 31, 1934; Part VIII, April 7, 1934; Part IX, April 14, 1934; Conclusion, April 21, 1934,

1934
BoxFolder
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“Rough Air,” Part I, Collier’s,

February 17, 1934
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“Rough Air,” Part II, Collier’s,

February 24, 1934
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“Rough Air,” Part III, Collier’s,

March 3, 1934
1420

“Rough Air,” Part IV, Collier’s,

March 10, 1934
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“Rough Air,” Part V, Collier’s,

March 17, 1934
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“Rough Air,” Part VI, Collier’s,

March 24, 1934
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“Rough Air,” Part VII, Collier’s,

March 31, 1934
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“Rough Air,” Part VIII, Collier’s,

April 7, 1934
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“Rough Air,” Part IX, Collier’s,

April 14, 1934
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“Rough Air,” Conclusion, Collier’s,

April 21, 1934
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“Smoky Air,” [all in Short Stories]: Part I, March 10, 1934; Part II, March 25, 1934; Part III, April 10, 1934; Part IV, April 25, 1934,

1934
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“Smoky Air,” Part I, Short Stories,

March 10, 1934
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“Smoky Air,” Part II, Short Stories,

March 25, 1934
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“Smoky Air,” Part III, Short Stories,

April 10, 1934
1421

“Smoky Air,” Part IV, Short Stories,

April 25, 1934
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“Ride the River,” draft, revised, 17 pp

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“Ride the River,” draft, carbon, revised, 16 pp

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“Ride the River,” draft, revised, 11 pp

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“Ride the River,” final carbon, 11 pp

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“Ride the River,” tearsheet, Collier’s,

May 26, 1934
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“Recapture” (original title: “The Return of Faith”), draft, revised, 5 pp

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“Recapture,” draft, revised, 5 pp

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“Recapture,” final carbon, 5 pp

1430

Owen Wister, the writer credited with creating the classic Western hero and the popular western novel, was born July 14, 1860, into an upper-crust family in Philadelphia. His maternal grandmother, Fanny Kemble, was a famous Shakespearean actress as well as a progressive woman for her time, as she was an abolitionist and a divorcee. Wister’s mother, Sarah Butler Wister, was a sophisticated South Carolina native who spoke French and Italian, played several musical instruments and upheld high standards in the arts. Wister’s father, Owen Jones Wister, was a prominent doctor who, in spite of a well-regarded sense of humor, did not care for music and the other arts, but had a strong work ethic.

Young Owen Wister grew up traveling in Europe, speaking French, attending a prestigious prep school and developing a love for music. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 1882 and went to Europe to study music. His father, however, insisted that he return to the U.S. and pursue a useful profession in banking. The son hated banking and persuaded his father to allow him to go to Harvard Law School. He graduated in 1888 and was admitted to the bar in 1890.

Meanwhile, in the summer of 1885, he took his first trip West, to Wyoming, where he stayed at Major Frank Wolcott’s ranch on Deer Creek, south of what is now Glenrock, Wyo. Wister had been close to a nervous breakdown, and the trip was restorative. It opened his eyes to the pristine beauty of the country and to western characters—evocative subject matter. This would be the first of 15 trips out West from 1885 to 1900; on these trips, Wister kept extensive diaries that are now housed in the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming. His notes would serve him often in the years to come.

Wister’s first published story, “Hank’s Woman,” appeared in 1892. In it, one sees many characteristics of Wister’s work: descriptions of both idyllic and less benevolent landscapes, portrayals of naive and wiser cowboys and the conflict between frontier values and those of civilization. Also, this story introduces the persona of the tenderfoot narrator, who appears in many of Wister’s stories.

During this early part of his writing career, Wister also published an essay entitled “The Evolution of the Cow-Puncher,” which appeared in Harper’s Monthly in 1895. In this selection, Wister articulates the creed that runs through his fiction. The cowpuncher, in Wister’s terms, is a natural nobleman who has both racial and cultural ties with the Anglo-Saxons. The Westerner is not just a herdsman but a horseman, for “in personal daring and in skill as to the horse, the knight and the cowboy are nothing but the same Saxon of different environments.”

Wister continued to write short stories in the local-color mode, popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A collection, Red Men and White,appeared in 1896and was favorably reviewed by Atlantic Monthly critic William Dean Howells, and by Wister’s friend and Harvard classmate, bestselling author Theodore Roosevelt. Another collection, The Jimmyjohn Boss, which included a revised version of “Hank’s Woman,” appeared in 1900. In between these two collections, in 1897, Wister published Lin McLean, a medley of short stories that he considered a novel. The title character first appeared in the stories “Hank’s Woman” and “How Lin McLean Went East,” both published in 1892. Although some critics do not consider Lin McLean to be successful as a novel, it is nevertheless interesting as a sustained treatment of the natural Western hero.

In 1902, Wister saw the publication of his most famous work, The Virginian. This novel has several similarities to Lin McLean. It focuses on a character who first appeared in “Hank’s Woman,” it consists of stories worked together into a book-length narrative and the titled chapters vary from third-person omniscient narration to first-person narration by the tenderfoot.

But in contrast to Wister’s earlier work, The Virginian presents a fuller treatment of his vision of the Western hero, the West and America. From the novel’s subtitle—“A Horseman of the Plains”—to the protagonist’s first appearance and on through the story, the hero is chivalric. The Virginian reads Sir Walter Scott, and Molly Wood, the heroine, reads Jane Austen, just as the novel blends the conventions of historical romance and social realism. The hero is a Southerner and a Westerner while Molly is a Northerner and an Easterner, and their union brings the country together symbolically. Passages in the novel, delivered sometimes by the tenderfoot narrator and sometimes by key characters, express Wister’s ideas of natural nobility and measured inequality.

These ideas are introduced in “The Evolution of the Cow-Puncher,” where the Anglo-Saxon cowboy is portrayed as a natural aristocrat, superior to the Swede farmer and the Mexican vaquero—“this small, deceitful alien.” In Chapter 12 of The Virginian, “Quality and Equality,” the Virginian tells Molly, “equality is a great big bluff.”

In the next chapter, the narrator resumes the topic and declares, “All America is divided into two classes—the quality and the equality. … And true democracy and true aristocracy are one and the same thing.” The idea of hierarchy is illustrated a few pages later: “And while the equality [the cowboys] absorbed themselves in a deep but harmless game of poker by the side of the railway line, the Virginian and I sat on top of the car, contemplating the sandy shallows of the Platte.”

The novel was the best-selling book in the U.S. for two years in a row, and Wister became famous and rich. Although none of his later work achieved that level of success, he continued to write short stories for magazines and to publish them in collections. Members of the Family came out in 1911, and When West Was West appeared in 1928. Each of these books has a story that may interest modern readers. “The Gift Horse,” in Members of the Family, takes place in the Wind River country, again with the tenderfoot narrator who is learning the ways of the country. “At the Sign of the Last Chance,” in When West Was West, again features the tenderfoot narrator, this time in later life when he meets up with some old cowboy pals who are seeing the end of an era. This was Wister’s last Western story, published 10 years before his death.

Wister wrote many other books, notably a biography of Ulysses S. Grant, a biography of George Washington, a novel set in South Carolina and an account of his lifelong friendship with Theodore Roosevelt. A bibliography published in 1958 in a book of his western journals and letters credits Wister for writing 22 books of fiction, history, political essays, biography, verse and drama. For people interested in Wyoming literature and history, however, his Western fiction is most important.

And the Virginian has stayed popular since it was published. Wister himself wrote a stage adaptation of the novel in 1903, and the play toured for 10 years. In the first century of its existence, the book sold more than two million copies, spawned five movies and a long-running 1960s TV series.

Wister’s writing was based on contemporary observation and firsthand experience. Reading his Wyoming stories transports a person back to an earlier time and place. In the opening paragraph of “Hank’s Woman,” the narrator says, “Westward, the Tetons lifted their peaks pale and keen as steel through the high, radiant air. Deep down between the blue gashes of their cañons the sun sank long shafts of light, and the glazed laps of their snow-fields shone separate and white upon their lofty vastness, like handkerchiefs laid out to dry.” Similarly, the same narrator begins “The Gift Horse” with “High up the mountain . . . I sat, and looked down . . . at Wind River shrunk to map-size, a basking valley, a drowsy country, tawny and warm, winding southeastward away to the tawny plain, and there dissolving with air and earth in one deep, hazy, golden sleep.”

The view of the West as Eden is sometimes tempered with glimpses of the tawdry effects of civilization. In the second chapter of The Virginian, the tenderfoot narrator describes the town of Medicine Bow (still today the home of the Virginian Hotel): “They [the houses] seemed to have been strewn there by the wind and to be waiting till the wind should come again and blow them away. Yet serene above their foulness swam a pure and quiet light, such as the East never sees; they might be bathing in the air of creation’s first morning.” In the next paragraph, he continues: “There they stood, rearing their pitiful masquerade amid a fringe of old tin cans, while at their very doors began a world of crystal light, a land without end, a space across which Noah and Adam might come straight from Genesis.”

Leaving town, in Chapter 4, the narrator continues his contrast, this time with details from the natural world. “We passed the ramparts of Medicine Bow,—thick heaps and fringes of tin cans, and shelving mounds of bottles cast out of saloons. The sun struck these at a hundred glittering points. And in a moment we were in the clean plains, with the prairie-dogs and the pale herds of antelope. The great, still air bathed us, pure as water and strong as wine; the sunlight flooded the world.” In the same chapter, the narrator balances an elegy for the cowboy with a disapproval of littering: “The cow-boy is now gone to worlds invisible; the wind has blown away the white ashes of his camp-fires; but the empty sardine box lies rusting over the face of the Western earth.” Thus the taint of civilization is often present.

The work of Wister, and especially The Virginian, has a mixed reception today. Wister’s views of social order and Anglo-Saxon superiority are elitist, and his belief in the right of the ruling class—owners of the large ranches—to rub out smaller operators is repugnant to many people. (Wister’s 1885 host, Frank Wolcott, led the cattlemen on their 1892 invasion of Johnson County to kill rustlers and small ranchmen in what came to be called the Johnson County War.) Readers looking for a western novel with the classic narrative structure will find a hybrid cross with the novel of manners. And, in terms of narrative point of view and novelistic structure, the two books he claimed as novels look like cut-and-paste jobs.

In spite of these limitations in ideology and craft, however, Wister deserves to be read. He wrote about a subject matter that up to that time had been the fodder of dime novels, but he approached it with a literary prose style and moral seriousness. He believed in the West, especially Wyoming, as a place where individuals could find rejuvenation, escape the confines of the East and realize their potential. Although Wister saw this ideal as fading, and portrayed it in elegiac and nostalgic terms, it is an ideal that many Wyoming people still believe in and that the rest of the world often sees as inherent in the state.

Resources

Primary Sources

  • Wister, Owen. “Hank’s Woman.” 1892, 1900. The West of Owen Wister. Ed. Robert L. Hough. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, Bison Books, 1972, 1-40.
  • —. “The Evolution of the Cow-Puncher.” 1895. Rpt. in Ben Merchant Vorpahl, My Dear Wister—The Frederic Remington-Owen Wister Letters (Palo Alto: American West Publishing Company, 1972), 77-96.
  • —. Red Men and White. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1896.
  • —. Lin McLean. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1897.
  • —. The Jimmyjohn Boss and Other Stories. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1900.
  • —. The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains. New York: Macmillan, 1902. Accessed June 6, 2011 on Project Gutenberg at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1298.
  • —. Members of the Family. New York: Macmillan, 1911.
  • —. When West Was West. New York: Macmillan, 1928.
  • —. Roosevelt: The Story of a Friendship, 1880-1919. New York: Macmillan, 1930.
  • —. Owen Wister Out West: His Journals and Letters. Ed. Fanny Kemble Wister. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958. A useful historical resource for Wister’s observations of Wyoming and the West in the 1880s and 1890s, this book also includes a bibliography of his published books, pp. 262-264.

Secondary Sources

  • Bold, Christine. Selling the Wild West: Popular Western Fiction, 1860-1960. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987, 40-46.
  • Cawelti, John G. Adventure, Mystery, and Romance: Formula Stories as Art and Popular Culture. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1976, 215-230.
  • Cobbs, John L. Owen Wister. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1984.
  • Durham, Philip. “Introduction” in Wister, The Virginian. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1968.
  • Etulain, Richard W. Owen Wister. Boise, Idaho: Boise State College Western Writers Series, 1973.
  • Folsom, James K. The American Western Novel. New Haven, Conn.: College & University Press, 1966, 104-113.
  • Keeney, Colin K. “Owen Wister’s Missing Manuscript: The Story of Chalkeye.” Roundup Magazine, February 2002, 7-11.
  • Nesbitt, John D. “Owen Wister’s Achievement in Literary Tradition,” Western American Literature, Fall 1983, 199-208.
  • Walker, Don D. “Wister, Roosevelt and James: A Note on the Western.” American Quarterly, Fall 1960, 358-66.

For Further Reading

For an interesting argument that Wister based the character of the Virginian on Hi Bernard, longtime foreman of Ora Haley's Two Bar Ranch in Brown's Hole, in northwestern Colorado, see Toni David's book, "The Virginian: Man or Myth." Big Piney, Wyo.: Heart T Publishing, 2015.

Illustrations

  • The photo of Wister was taken in a studio in Yellowstone Park between 1891 and 1896. From the digital collections at the American Heritage Center; used with thanks.
  • The undated photo of the Medicine Bow sign on the Lincoln Highway recalls the Virginian’s famous line to his friend and enemy, Trampas, after Trampas has called him an s.o.b. in a poker game. From Wyoming Tales and Trails; used with thanks.

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