THE BANDIT OF HELL’S BEND BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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Copyright 1925

Elias Henders is the owner of a prosperous ranch and gold mine in 1880’s Arizona. One day an Apache attack kills him and leaves his nineteen year old daughter Diana in charge. The will that was written was between Elias and his brother. It stated that the surviving brother would inherit everything. Shortly after Elias dies so does his brother out east. His daughter comes out with some unscrupulous eastern businessmen and claims that the ranch and mine are legally her. They also attempt to frame Diana’s friend Bull as the bandit of Hell’s Bend. The bandit has been robbing stagecoaches.Luckily Bull is able to find papers that prove that Diana is the rightful heir and the two eventually get marries.

This was Burroughs first western. It is an interesting story in that the characters are colorful and comic. An introduction by Robert Moseberger an English professor goes on that Burroughs was someone actually qualified to write about the west. He served in the cavalry in the 1890’s and later worked on his brothers ranch in Idaho. He based many of the characters on actual people that he knew. The book has an authentic feel about the old west. An interesting book that I would recommend.

APACHE DEVIL BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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Copyright 1964 published after author’s death.

The continuing story of Shoz-Djiji the adopted white son of Geronimo. Shoz had just defeated his enemy Juh after he killed his love Ish-kay-nay. The story finds the Apache tribe lead by Geronimo in a tough situation. They have been driven out of Mexico and are now surrounded by the US cavalry. With no other choice Geronimo must surrender his people. The Apache are disarmed and sent to live on a reservation in Oklahoma. Shoz-Dijiji refuses to surrender and instead goes off on his own.

He will though honor the spirit of the treaty and plunder and kill the whites no more. He befriends a white woman named Wichita Billings. Evil white men kidnap Wichita and Shoz-Dijiji must take up arms for the last time on a blood soaked trail of revenge.

The ending of the saga of Shoz-Dijiji and the Apache. The Apache were the last tribe to surrender. This is another good story about the Apache and their sad ending. I think these two books are great in telling the history and culture of the Apache. It is also a good action packed western.

THE WAR CHIEF BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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A man and his Cherokee wife are traveling through New Mexico when they are attacked by none other than Geronimo. The couples infant son is adopted by Geronimo and raised as an Apache. The son at the age of ten kills a black bear and earns his name Shoz-Dijiji which means black bear in Apache. Shoz-Dijiji grows into a powerful warrior and war chief of the Apache. He raids and fight not only Mexicans and white settlers but must contend with Juh a fellow Apache who hates Shoz-Dijiji. They both are competing for the affections of Ish-kay-nay.

This is a book that was a pleasant surprise. It has a fascinating story that tells about the culture and history of the Apache. The author is clearly sympathetic to them. The Apache are portrayed as a proud people that a harsh land has made to be a harsh people. Burrough’s did serve in the cavalry briefly in the southwest. He clearly developed an admiration for them and the history and culture seem to be quite genuine.

THE DEPUTY SHERIFF OF COMMANCHE COUNTY BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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Copyright 1940

Ole Gunderstrom has been shot. The circumstantial evidence points to Buck Mason as the murder. Buck and Ole had an argument over a fence between their property. Since Buck the deputy sheriff disappeared right after the murder everyone thinks that he is guilty.

Buck knows he is innocent and has opted to go undercover. Adopting the persona of Bruce Marvel a wealthy eastern tenderfoot he checks into the TF dude ranch. The owner Cory Blaine is running a cattle rustling. Buck acts the perfect clueless easterner but there are instances that betray his knowledge of the west. Skillful detective work results in the capture of the real murderer.

This is a interesting book that has well thought out characters and consistent action. Burroughs lived and worked on ranches in Idaho and Arizona so there is a feeling of authenticity in the stories. It is set in modern times i.e. 1940 but has the feel of a western. One of four westerns that he wrote and this one is my favorite.