Monday, September 26, 2011

"Branded Outlaw" by L. Ron Hubbard

"Branded Outlaw"
by L. Ron Hubbard
Multi-cast performance
produced by Galaxy Audio
Approx 2 hours.

Once again I venture into another story from the pulps of the mid-20th Century and this time I do it with a western.  It's been a bit since I've listened to a tale of cattle rustlers and gunslingers, so let's check out "Branded Outlaw."

Before we get into the story, I've got to explain why I'm listening to this book.  I got introduced to the stories of L. Ron Hubbard that appeared in the many pulp fiction magazines of the early - mid 20th century via Galaxy Audiom and it all started with Hubbard's sci-fi/fantasy stories.  I'm a huge sci-fi fan, and listening to these classic stories produced by Galaxy Audio would blast me off into several universes and realities.  I then got curious and started listening to the other genres, from air adventures, mystery, sea adventures and westerns.  I've never been a fan of westerns but after hearing the great production in the others I gave them a chance with this collection.  I was amazed, they were fun and with the great sound effects, music and superb voice acting Galaxy Audio got me interested and since then I look forward to the next one.  

This story is yet another superb production, in which you'll be ducking bullets and hiding behind rocks to get your next shot in.  "Branded Outlaw" was originally published in the October, 1938 issue of  "Five Novels" monthly and tells the tale of "Suicide" Lee  Weston, who returns to Pecos, New Mexico from Wyoming, to help his father who has written Lee telling him of an enemy by the name of Harvey Dodge.   Weston is thinking Dodge is trying to take over his father's land and stealing his cattle.  When he arrives he finds his father murdered and the homestead burned to the ground.  Weston then heads into town seeking revenge on Harvey Dodge. 

The Sheriff tries to calm Weston, but as Weston leaves the Sheriff's office a gunman challenges him upon hearing he is seeking out Dodge.  Weston narrowly escapes but manages to kill the gunman.  The problem is one of the stray bullets from the gunfight has killed a passerby.  Weston is now wanted for murder, he heads for the hills and a private fishing lodge he stayed in as a kid.  At the lodge Weston is found by a woman who nurses him to health, and in classic Hubbard style the twists begin in that the woman is the daughter of Harvey Dodge. 

Weston sets out to stop the man responsible for the series of cattle rustlings and land grabbing after finding out that Dodge may not be behind it.  But trouble ensues as well as the gunfights.  Can Weston prove his innocence before meeting up with the lynch mob out for him?  In a tale that is a CLASSIC western, you'll need to tighten up your spurs because you are in for the long ride until justice prevails in the old west.

Just to show how detailed of a western this story is here's a quote from the book:

"A leather-faced, sun-dried individual with a star on his chest was drowsing over a stack of reward posters, waking up occasionally to swat at a fly which buzzed around his ear. But the instant a shadow appeared in the door, Tate Randall, through long and self-preserving habit, swiftly came to life, one hand half stretched out as a welcoming gesture and the other on the Colt at his side. His bleached eyes squinted as he inspected Lee."

Just plain classic western writing with a very visual description.

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