Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Cover Gallery: The Rio Kid

The Rio Kid westerns had their origins in the pulps and some then appeared as paperbacks in the later 1960's and continued into the mid 1970's. Curtis Books was one of the American publishers of this series. Six of these books were later published in the U.K. by Tandem, three of which had title changes as you'll see below. The U.K. publications also saw the uncommon use of photographs for the cover images. Personally I'd have preferred to have seen paintings on the covers but I guess it helped make them stand-out from the competition at the time. What do you think?

Original title: Riding for Custer

All of Kansas was threatened by the invading swarms of warring Indians. No one was safe from the Dog Soldiers, a band of cruel warriors who tortured their victims to a slow death.

Custer’s Seventh Cavalry was called in to protect the settlers. Riding as Chief of Scouts was the Rio Kid. He was searching for secret Indian war camps, but what he found was an even greater horror.

Another more treacherous force was driving the Indians to massacre. The Rio Kid had to shoot his way to the truth, before the reign of blood took them all in its wake.

Guns barked in the streets of Wichita; gang-law reigned in the saloons and gambling dens of the Kansas cow town. Jake Heath, leading vice lord of the West, had the town sown up. His men ran the gambling trade, fixed the land business, picked cattle and horses off the Texas Trail. There were fortunes to be made in Wichita if you played it Jake Heath’s way – and a brutal, bloody death for those who wouldn’t.

The Marshal of Wichita would have all the cards stacked against him, and a one in a million chance of winning through. Until they pinned the marshal’s star on the Rio Kid.

Across the wide Kansas range rode the dreaded renegade Quantrell and his blood-lusting guerrilla army, spreading terror and death. There was one man who stood up to stem the savage tide: his name was Captain Bob Pryor, also known as the Rio Kid.

The odds were long against the Rio Kid, and when the huge and sinister figure of Jarvis Thompson loomed up, it looked as though the Rio Kid had bought a one-way ticket to Boot Hill.

Original title: Pards of Buffalo Bill

Three slaughtered bodies lay rotting on the plains. Victims of the Sioux, it seemed. But there were boot tracks nearby – with a cross in the heel to keep the devil away. White man’s tracks…

With the railroad crawling west and the Sioux on the rampage, there was a chance to make millions on land. Someone was behind these bloody massacres, using the Indians for his own evil scheme. The Rio Kid vowed to find out – but there was a $2000 price on his head and a vicious gang of fortune-hunters hot on his trail.

An avalanche of terror was unleashed on the defenceless Kansas settlers; the most feared Indian warrior in the West had joined forces with an avaricious white gun-dealer.

Chief Roman Nose drove his vicious Dog Soldiers on a fanatical mission – to torture and destroy every white man on the Plains. But he was just a pawn in the renegade’s diabolical quest for power and gold.

One man stood in their way: the Rio Kid. Guns blazing, he was lured across the Plains – towards a fiendish and deadly trap.

Original title: The Mormon Trail

Across the rivers and through the narrow passes of Rainbow Valley they moved – cattle ranchers and sheepmen – headed for the promised Utah land of their beloved leader, Brigham Young.

Then suddenly, from the red-shadowed ledges above, cold-eyed men with rifles took careful aim…

It seemed much too late for anyone to save them – even the Rio Kid himself.


Joanne Walpole said...

I quite like the covers but I can understand why pulp fans might not.

Oscar said...

I can see where the photos would stand out against all the drawn covers.