This week’s pulp western story is from the January, 1943 issue of Dime Western Magazine. The author is none other than Frank Bonham (Cecil Francis Bonham, 1914-1988) who wrote for the western pulps as well as over 40 full length western novels.
This story is about Mitch Hawkins, a rider of the rough Texas cactus country known as “the brasadas”. The half-wild cows that thrived in this thicket were known as “cactus boomers” and Mitch has became quite adept at flushing out these longhorns and making a small profit for the ranch he is working for. The tiny ranch actually belongs to Jess Talbert, one of his best friends who was reportedly killed fighting in the Army in Mexico and hasn’t been seen in over a year. During this time Mitch has become quite fond of Jess’s wife Dorie. When the War Department finally makes Jess Talbert’s death official Mitch feels that the time is right to make his feelings known to Dorie. Unfortunately, Mitch is quite shy and cannot right out bring himself to say what he means and just before he can work up his courage the long lost husband shows up to reclaim his ranch and his wife. Jess Talbert however has become an outlaw which Mitch quickly catches on to and Mitch will not allow him to take Dorie away and into a life on the run as the wife of a murdering thief.
I like the idea of the Brasada country. It is located in southern Texas to the west of Corpus Christi and northeast of Laredo. It’s a type of terrain that is thick with walls of cactus and mesquite and interlaced with trails and small pockets of water. It takes a special kind of cowboy to work this land. Care must be taken to protect horses and riders from the many spiny hazards. It also is ideal country for outlaws to hide out in.