Cleveland publication of a 1956 (?) original.
Texas Ranger Walt Slade is sent to bring in a hellion calling himself Juan Cortinas. Seems Cortinas is raising an army to help make him a rich man – not as he tells the poor Mexican people, to aid them in a revolution. Cortinas is believed to be hiding out in the Big Thickets, a wild untamed part of the country that a man could die a lonely death in. And with the odds stacked against Slade, it seems this could be his destiny…
This is the first time I’ve read a Walt Slade story, a hero from the old pulp mags.
The first thing that struck me was that there were not any women in the story, and that few lawmen, who aren't Texas Rangers, were just referred to as ‘Sheriff’ rather than having a name. Of course for a story written over fifty years ago some of the words and phrases took a little while to get used to.
Slade also seemed very good at second guessing what the outlaws would do in any situation. He also spends a fair amount of time talking to his horse, Shadow.
The story is fast moving and none of the outlaws seem to be able to shoot accurately when facing the Ranger, of course he plugs them every time.
Although the plot centres around rustling it’s the method of moving the stolen stock that makes this stand out from other rustling yarns, and that’s the use of a ship. In fact most of the first part of the tale revolves around ships and the destruction of Galveston by a hurricane.
This is definitely a white hat v black hat story that was entertaining enough but won’t have me reaching quickly for another Slade book (I have quite a few in my collection) but I will read another sometime in the future.