The Way of the West (Fiction) Elmer Kelton, Cotton Smith and Max Brand, Leisure, $12.95, Softcover.

Elmer Kelton, Cotton Smith and Max Brand, Leisure, $12.95, Softcover.
Elmer Kelton, Cotton Smith and Max Brand, Leisure, $12.95, Softcover.

The reader trailing this trio of Westerners—a cavalry lieutenant, a part-time marshal and a tenderfoot preacher—will find vivid examples of the true West. Elmer Kelton’s “Long Ride, Hard Ride” sees CSA Lt. Overstreet leading his rag-tag squad for Texas after the Confederacy’s stunning defeat at Glorieta Pass. In Cotton Smith’s “Morning War,” blacksmith Jericho Dane, a part-time Texas marshal, stops a Cross Brand cowhand from shooting up a saloon and tosses him into jail. Max Brand’s “The Desert Pilot” presents the Reverend Reginald Ingraham’s first sermon in the desert town of Bilman and shoves him into a showdown with Red Moffet. Kelton’s story is the best of the bunch, proving that the author does not need a full book to capture his own prisoners.