The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard
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The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  924 ratings  ·  90 reviews
Before he brilliantly traversed the gritty landscapes of underworld Detroit and Miami, Elmore Leonard wrote breathtaking adventures set in America's nineteenth-century western frontier—elevating a popular genre with his now-trademark twisting plots, rich characterizations, and scalpel-sharp dialogue.

No author has ever written more evocatively of the dusty, gutsy heyday of...more
ebook, 576 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published November 2nd 2004)
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brian
clint eastwood tells us that the only authentically original american art forms are jazz, blues, and the western. lemme up the ante and say that no other form reveals more about america than the western. and the great practitioners of the form (ford, mann, hawks, boetticher, peckinpah, leone, eastwood) tell us as much about america as any novelist, essayist, historian, or sociologist. maybe more. this 531 pg. tome is the fifth book of elmore leonard westerns i've read over the past two weeks --...more
Joe Valdez
In the 1950s, Elmore Leonard was married with children and working as a copywriter on a Chevrolet account at Campbell-Ewald Advertising in Detroit. What he really wanted to do was support himself with his fiction. Already a fan of western movies, Leonard discovered he could get paid while he learned his craft by trafficking short pieces in a genre that was enormously popular on newsstands, as he recounts in the foreword, "from Saturday Evening Post and Collier's down through Argosy, Adventure, B...more
Jim
This is an abridged version of the book having only 11 stories in it. I don't think they're abridged, though. Read by Tom Wopath, Henry Rollins & David Strather & William Atherton. (I wrote those names down as I heard them. I have no idea if they're spelled correctly, but all of them were excellent readers.)

For some reason, I never equated Elmore Leonard with westerns. I'd forgotten who wrote Hombre. It's been a lot of years since I read the book, though I've probably watched the movie w...more
Andy
In the 1950s there were two major figures in western noir; one was filmmaker Anthony Mann and the other was writer Elmore Leonard. Leonard's writing was so dark that several western magazines turned down his stories for that very reason.
In this excellent collection of stories you get frontier femme fatales like "The Colonel's Lady", tales of Injun justice in "The Big Hunt" and a young Mexican seeking revenge in "The Boy Who Smiled". The latter two stories mentioned are significant in that they...more
Randy
In the introduction, Elmore Leonard states that when he decided he wanted to be a writer, after college, he chose a genre he could learn to write while getting paid. Since he liked westerns, that's what he chose to start.

Of course it wasn't that easy.

His first effort was rejected and he decided a little research might be handy. His aim was for the higher paying magazines, Saturday Evening Post and Colliers. There were also a half dozen pulp magazines still in existence. There his early success w...more
Carl Brush
The Complete Western Short Stories of Elmore Leonard completes for the time being. my compulsion with Elmore Leonard's work, which was always there, but which turned into nearly an addiction following his death . From modern Detroit and Miami to frontier Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico, the Leonard's career traversed more time and space than perhaps any other American writer.
My answer to my tendency to pick a favorite from this group is "The Nagual." I'd give the award to "Tonto Woman," but I al...more
Jamie
“Three-Ten to Yuma,” still one of my favorites. Twelve pages long and riddled with more tension than you can stand. The rest of the entrants vary from solid to gold, Elmore Leonard doing what Elmore does best.
Andre T
Apr 04, 2012 Andre T is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I'll continue to update this as I read through the short stories.

I liked the introduction of the book that talked with Elmore Leonard about his experiences writing in the western genre, which is also his first foray into professional writing. This is particularly interesting as you hear how he got started as a writer and how he had to manage having a full-time job, a family and pursue his dreams. Since Leonard's style has evolved quite a bit, it's interesting to hear about his aspirations as a y...more
Liralen
I loved this collection, inside and out.

There are some really gorgeous tales in here, and some really amazingly brutal and entirely historical stories of the old old West. Elmore Leeonard's dialog is razor sharp and ONLY what needs to be there. I love the progression through these as well, as he hits his stride and the 3:10 to Yuma is just absolutely perfect.

There are stories in here to break your heart, to figure out what real courage really is, and with the lovely plot twists that are utterly...more
Kirk
So I've decided to teach a short-story class next semester (theory of, not creative writing), and I've decided to do some genre lit. In addition to some noir, I thought it would be fun to do Westerns; since I'm not particularly well-versed in them, I thought it would be a good opportunity to edumacte myself. So I immediately reached for the Elmore.

I've been enjoying the stories, which aren't as formulaic as you might expect. Of course, there's a lot of repetition, but it tends mainly to be in t...more
SeriouslyJerome
I kept seeing Elmore Leonard's name on movies or TV shows that I liked. I had a vague notion that he wrote crime novels, so why would his name be on "Justified" or "3:10 to Yuma" or "Hombre"? Well, everyone starts somewhere, & the western genre was where Leonard started - waaaaaaay back in the 1950's ;)

I enjoyed reading the progression of his writing style & skill. By the end of the collection, his focus was more on the story than the description of the scene. And I appreciate his resea...more
Chris
This is a collection of Elmore Leonard's early Western short stories, from long before he became known as a crime novelist. It's safe to say that he had not yet found his voice when he wrote these -- the snappy dialog that became his trademark later is barely to be found here. The stories are reasonably entertaining, but his crime novels from later in his career are far more fun, and much more satisfying.
Thomas Tyrer
Every once in a while I pick up a book by an author I have always heard about and yet never read just to see what he or she's all about. I am so glad I did with Elmore Leonard. I've seen a couple of the films based on his novels like "Get Shorty" and "Out of Sight," but when I learned that he'd begun his career writing short western stories -- including "3:10 to Yuma" -- I couldn't resist. This is a terrific collection spanning all the big, classic western themes but told with true subtlety, nua...more
Surya
Prolific writer... excellent stories

Living fast paced lives we forgot how to take time, pause and absorb little things life offers. This book by Elmore Leonard is a collection of those little things told in the American western setting of late 1800’s. This book includes stories where a strong willed Sherriff’s deputy doesn’t fall for the sweet talking confident criminal but determined to get him on the train to Yuma; a young hardworking teenage cowhide is not willing let go off his month long ha...more
Benjamin
The audiobook (6 CDs) is only a selection of the complete stories. (And does anyone else find it disturbing for a living author to have a "complete" collection? What do the publishers know about the author's health that we don't know?) The stories in this selection are

"Blood Money" (1953)
"Only Good Ones" (1961)
"Trail of the Apache" (1951)
"Trouble at Rindo's Station" (1953)
"The Boy Who Smiled" (1953)
"The Tonto Woman" (1982)
"Hurrah for Capt. Early" (1961)
"The Colonel's Lady" (1952)
"Saint w...more
David Williams
This is a collection of Elmore Leonard's thirty Western short stories. These stories were written at the beginning of his career. Several of these classic stories were turned into movies. The most famous story in the collection is "3:10 to Yuma" which was turned into a classic western film starting Glenn Ford and then horribly butchered and mangled into a remake starring Russell Crowe.

There are a number of other excellent stories here. Leonard does not use the normal stereotypes seen in so many...more
Chris
Tough, stark, evocative, cinematic western stories by the incomparable Elmore Leonard. The characterization and visual elements in these thirty-one stories are so primed for film treatment that it's a wonder that only two of them--"3:10 to Yuma" and "The Captives" (filmed as The Tall T)--were turned into movies.

It's a rare exception when any reader can say with certainty that a short story collection doesn't have a stinker in the bunch--especially one that has so many tales--but this book qualif...more
Stephen
Although I love his novels more, his short stories are also great. And although I love his crime fiction, I love his westerns even more. This is a great book. The audiobook version is also quite good, although because it's abridged, they don't have all of the stories.

I have the full book on my Kindle.
Steve
You might think this would be too much of a good thing. These stories take place in Arizona territory. The stories describe the actions and interactions of Apaches and cowboys and Mexicans and even a few Union soldiers. But there's no monotony here: though only one story stands out (more below) all are consistently readable and enjoyable. It is sobering to me that Leonard began to write and publish these stories three years before I was born (and I'm no spring chicken). The standout story? This...more
Walter Simpson
I'm late to the bandwagon, first becoming aware of Mr. Leonard from the excellent Justified series on television. These stories grab you from the beginning. Richly detailed, with characters who come alive. His gift for dialogue is unmatched.
Kit★
Feb 22, 2014 Kit★ marked it as to-ponder-sounds-interesting  ·  review of another edition
Almost bought this on my adventure today, but they wanted $6 for a copy that wasn't in amazing shape, so I passed for now, but want to get it eventually.
Damon Isherwood
There is nothing ironical about Leonard's heroes. They are old school: resourceful and brave, the hell with the odds types of men. Very refreshing.
Oyster
You probably know Elmore Leonard best for his crime fiction and the movies based on his books (Out of Sight and Jackie Brown, to name a very few). But he started off his career as a prolific writer of westerns. Get transported far away from wherever yo spend your Thanksgiving.
Bill
I listened to The (Slightly Less than) Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard, and enjoyed it. Possibly my enjoyment would have declined if the audio version contained all that the book did. Other reviews of the book list the differences in the audio versus paper versions of this book, so I won't. Henry Rollin's reading 3:10 to Yuma was definitely a high point of the stories.

Listening to these stories caused me to think back to my youth, watching The Cisco Kid and Lone Ranger with my grandf...more
G.P. Hutchinson
Better than Louis L'Amour or Zane Grey, in my humble opinion
Neven
An endlessly enjoyable collection of Leonard's
Western tales, most of them written in the 1950s. With the exception of the very oldest stories - a bit stilted and boyish, maybe - and the last two - a bit cynical and meandering, perhaps - these are pulp entertainment at its best. Leonard is a passionate writer with a great ear, so even though you're reading cowboy adventures, basically, the writing is never even remotely dull or unconvincing. And during its high points, the book is downright moral...more
R.John
the three Apache stories are worth the price of admission - Trail of the Apache, Trouble at Rindo's Station, You Never See Apaches. They are well structured with the right amount of cunning, stubble, and macho silliness. What Leonard does not do is fall into the shoot em up fantasy so puffed up in western films. Decent short story craftmanship in the other tales, even when they are contrived romances, they creep among the brush and patiently wait until they can make a move without much risk or s...more
Eric
May 19, 2010 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the Western genre and/or Elmore Leonard
I own the Kindle version of this book, and read these short stories on my iPhone.

After reading a few of these stories, I saw Elmore Leonard's growth as a short story writer. 'Trail of the Apache,' his first short story, was overlong and unsure about what point it intended to impress upon the reader. But 'Trouble at Rindo's Ranch,' 'Saint with a Six-Gun' and other stories he wrote later, were much more powerful and gripping. 'Three-Ten to Yuma,' for example, was a perfectly formed short story.
Aaron Curtiss
More like 4.5 stars, subtracting a half star for some of the sappier and more simplistic stories that are peppered through this compilation. Leonard has an incredible sense of timing and truly cinematic attention to detail of movement -- it's no wonder so many of his stories have been put up on the big screen. I especially enjoyed the darker stories, where the notions of justice, right versus wrong, crime and punishment, have a truly noirish aspect to them.
Speedtribes
So...very... manly. Really, I have yet to read a book of stories with more manly prose. Well-written and tasteful manliness with Apaches and Cowboys and... that odd turn of phrase that I can only call Manhood. I only got about halfway through, though, not because it wasn't well written, but because I'm not much of a short story reader and seem to have cycled into nonfiction atm. I'll return to this collection once I'm feeling for the short format again. Good stuff.
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Elmore John Leonard lived in Dallas, Oklahoma City and Memphis before settling in Detroit in 1935. After serving in the navy, he studied English literature at the University of Detroit where he entered a short story competition. His earliest published novels in the 1950s were westerns, but Leonard went on to specialize in crime fiction and suspense thrillers, many of which have been adapted into m...more
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