Monday, January 25, 2010

The Elusive Western Pulp: Far West Stories

One of the lesser-known Western pulps is FAR WEST STORIES, a Street & Smith publication that began in 1926 and ended in 1932. THE ADVENTURE HOUSE GUIDE TO THE PULPS notes that the magazine began as another title, TRUE WESTERN STORIES, in August 1925. In September 1926 it changed to FAR WEST ILLUSTRATED, and then became FAR WEST STORIES in January 1929. It then went all-love in November 1931 with its last title FAR WEST ROMANCES, which lasted until the magazine finally stopped in July 1932.

Many established western writers contributed to FAR WEST ILLUSTRATED in the early years, including Frederick Faust writing as Max Brand, Franklin Richardson Pierce, Ernest Haycox, George Owen Baxter, Clem Yore, and S. Omar Barker. The magazine usually included at least one series in each issue. Stories focused more on the Pacific Northwest, as can be seen by some of the covers below.

When the magazine changed to FAR WEST STORIES, it began to reprint a lot of stories that originally appeared in TIP-TOP MONTHLY, WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE, POPULAR MAGAZINE and others. I found an Albert Payson Terhune story "For Revenue Only," in the July 1929 issue that had originally been printed in RED BOOK MAGAZINE in May 1919, and a B.M. Bower story, "The Terror," that had originally shown up in THE POPULAR MAGAZINE in December 1909. H. Bedford Jones, J. Allen Dunn, Walt Coburn, and William MacLeod Raine were some of the better known writers that contributed to FAR WEST STORIES.

But as FAR WEST STORIES lumbered along, more and more of the stories were reprints, and by 1930 the vast majority of stories were reprints from earlier WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE.

As FAR WEST ROMANCES the magazine limped along with few well-known writers, but it appears that few of the stories were reprints. In the early days of FAR WEST ROMANCES, the magazine was a mix of stories and a substantial number of poems. Unfortunately, many of poems' authors were not credited.

THE BLOOD N THUNDER GUIDE TO COLLECTING PULPS says that FAR WEST STORIES or its other names are considered scarce when it comes to collecting them. Something to consider when you see them surface on eBay or at conventions. Just be prepared to pay the price if you want to buy them.

Here are some covers. Although with many of these I could not find a name of the cover artist, I did find on the Fiction Mags Index where Modest Stein, a prominent contributor to LOVE STORY MAGAZINE covers, did some of the earlier covers for FAR WEST ILLUSTRATED.

January 1928

April 1928

June 1928

June 1930

December 1930

May 1931

October 1931

April 1932


Charles Gramlich said...

Great covers. Some really fine artistic touches here.

Evan Lewis said...

Never laid eyes on one of these.

Walker Martin said...

I've been on the lookout for decades for issues of Far West. I've managed to find several but by no means do I have anywhere near a complete run(This seems to be my goal with all the pulp titles I collect). It certainly was a quality magazine and very attractive especially in the early years. I don't know of anyone who has an extensive run of the title.

Melissa Marsh said...

So you're saying if I see one of these at a garage sale, I better snatch it up... :-)

Laurie said...

I liked the covers too, especially the one that's inside the cabin and the Mountie one.

Walker and Dave, I'd like to get my hands on a few of these to read the stories, too.

and yes, Melissa, if you find any at a garage sale, (or anywhere else for that matter), grab 'em. I'll take them off your hands for a reasonable price. :)

Jack Cullers said...

Another excellent article. As usual, I read it and learned a few things. I am getting out of my other applications and staying logged on to Laurie's Wild West 24/7.
Thanks again.

Laurie said...

That's very nice of you to say, Jack. Thank you.

Barry Traylor said...

I should be embarrassed to comment here as I am not a huge Western fan like Jack is but this is such a doggone good blog I can't but help droppimg by.
Just finished the late Robert B. Parker's novel "Resolution" and enjoyed it a lot. Next on the shelf is "Brimstone".

Laurie said...

I don't know why you should be embarrassed. I always enjoy your comments and besides I write about other things besides westerns. You contribute a great deal with your comments, Barry.