“Pulp Friday” will be a regular feature of this blog. Each week I’ll post a .pdf version of a classic western short story that was originally published on one of the many hundreds of pulp fiction magazine titles. Although you still see westerns on the movie and book racks, the heyday of the western genre lasted from the 1920’s until the 1960’s. In those five decades there were over 2,000 western movies made and over 150 television western series and there must have been tens of thousands of pulp stories written about the Wild West as well. Many of those stories were made into movies (3:10 to Yuma, Joe Kidd) and many of the authors went on to become quite famous (Elmore Leonard, Robert E. Howard, Zane Grey, Max Brand, and Louis L’Amour to name a few). I find it a little odd that somehow I really didn’t know what the pulps were all about until I reached middle age. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and for me there were just television, books and comic books (until role playing games came along). I recently started to collect some original pulps (Argosy and Adventure) that I’ve found on eBay or Amazon. Mainly to read them. I also have been finding lots of good anthologies and reprints from various small publishing houses as well as (These links have a good list of places on the web where you can find not only older pulps but some of the contemporary publishers of modern Pulp Thrilling Detective and New Pulp Fiction) . One of my favorite places for original pulp westerns on the internet is unz.org. All things change however–and eventually the pulp writers started writing for paperback publication with longer stories. Not a bad thing either.
So for today I’m posting Boot Hill Recruits by Cliff Howe. A four pager about a clever young cowboy to saves his best friend from the hangman. This story appeared in February 1942 issue of Western Aces (see cover above). What does this have to do with Western role playing games? Inspiration perhaps: to play the interesting characters you read about (complete with a limp and other quirks), getting to know some of the lingo, and seeing how a simple plot could lead to hours of game play.