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The Law at Randado

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  818 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Phil Sundeen thinks Deputy Sheriff Kirby Frye is just a green local kid with a tin badge. And when the wealthy cattle baron's men drag two prisoners from Frye's jail and hang them from a high tree, there's nothing the untried young lawman can do about it. But Kirby's got more grit than Sundeen and his hired muscles bargained for. They can beat the boy and humilate him, but ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 2nd 2002 by HarperTorch (first published 1954)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  818 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: western
A young and and inexperienced deputy sheriff named Kirby Frye has his skills tested when a rich and arrogant rancher and some citizens of Randado conspire to entrust themselves with lawmaking and executions while he’s away. The narrative is nicely dialog driven with plenty of colorful and insightful conversations, especially between Kirby and his mentor and sheriff Danaher. The descriptive prose is taut and compact so get ready to use your imagination when it comes to how the characters and ...more
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: westerns
Elmore Leonard’s early western novels show a gifted short story writer learning how to master the longer narrative form. The Bounty Hunters (1953) is a sometimes awkward attempt to extend and enlarge characters and situations that would make sharply conceived material for short stories but thin out and lose focus over the length of a novel.

The Law at Randado shows him still learning, but he’s turning what he knows of the short story into what holds together well for its 250 pages and more than
Heath Lowrance
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I believe this is Leonard's second novel, written in the early '50's, and as such doesn't really display the trademark humor and terrific dialogue we know him for. For all that, though, it's still very well-written, spare and lean, befitting the Arizona setting.

A group of Randado's prominent citizens, manipulated by rich cattle baron Phil Sundeen, lynch a pair of rustlers without waiting on due process of law. When the young, green deputy sheriff, Kirby Frye, gets wind of it, he sets out to
Karen Kay
Good story.

Benjamin Thomas
I enjoy taking a break from my more usual Louis L'Amour westerns. In this book, Mr Leonard includes some of those classic western features: a green lawman, an evil cattle barron and his henchmen, and ultimately the showdown between the two. But other than that this book, like the other 3 Elmore Leonard westerns I've read, doesn't follow traditional formulas all that much.

The premise is that the town of Randado has decided it doesn't need to wait for the formal legal system of the larger town
HornFan2 (Mike)
Basically a re-read, plucked out of my library, the Western lawmen have always been a favorite of mine and with this one. You get to witness a young Deputy Sheriff in Kirby Frye grow up, with 'The Law at Randado', he can shoot fast, when he needs too and can handle his whiskey.

Enjoying it you know what's come but it stands out more due to all the descriptive details you forgot and makes it all the better. Elmore Leonard's one of those authors that regardless what the genre of his books where
James  Love
A standard horse opera/oater from the master. This noir style western is The Ox-Bow Incident meets Mississippi Burning.

A deputy sheriff returns to Randado to find that the two Mexican horse thieves he jailed pending trial are lynched by the townsfolk. They are led by a spoiled brat and his hired gunman.

This novel was filmed in 1990 and billed as Border Shootout.
Mar 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Who reads Westerns anymore? I do. On occasion. THE LAW AT RANDADO, First out in 1954, has been reissued. Mr. Leonard tells a good story. What happens after a remote town decides to take the law in their hands and lynch a couple of rustlers? Intriguing premise. Sharp dialogue, as you'd expect in any EL saga.
James Adams
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ha-abc-19, western
Now, I don't read a ton of Westerns. I watch some of them, mostly the newer ones, and I'm digging into the classic films, but I'm more likely to read Western-influenced crime novels or Weird Westerns than traditional "men-on-horses" fare. Maybe it's from bad experiences with L'Amour. Still, I'm expanding my horizons here.
I have read a couple Elmore Leonard Westerns now, and I like them better than his crime novels. Terse, to the point, lacking the amusing but inconsequential dialogue of his
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
What happens when you are a young and new lawman in the wild west? Find out in this ripping yarn by one of the greats.
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: leonard
this will be the 45th title i've read by leonard. good stories from him...haven't been disappointed yet...and this one has a fine beginning. and the middle and end is okay, too. elmer leonard never disappoints. onward and upward.
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leonard, western
Another crisp, well written western by Leonard. This story is about a deputy sheriff against a wealthy rancher who has all the town fathers on his side. But he underestimates the young deputy.
Charles  van Buren
Fantastic ending

Another outstanding but quirky Elmore Leonard western. Leonard again proves himself a master of terse , realistic dialog and fine descriptive writing.
Stephen Gallup
This fairly simple tale, the first of Elmore Leonard's westerns to come my way, is quite different from the stories he set in modern times. Previously, I'd read Get Shorty , which I liked, and its sequel, Be Cool , as well as Mr. Paradise . Those latter two weren't as good. I admire the dialog in the above Leonard novels, which is convincing and clever, but I don't like his focus on, perhaps even celebration of, the seamy side of life. Because of that I'd thought I was done with him, but when ...more
Eden Thompson
From my book blog
Elmore Leonard (Get Shorty) began his career writing westerns. The Law at Randado was his second novel, a slow boiler, heavy on back story and character. The pace is leisure and the plot treatment unusual.

Kirby Frye is the young deputy of his hometown Randado. Growing up around Apache people he has a more open view of them than the older ranchers. In his cells are a young Coyotero named Tloh-ka that people call Dandy Jim, and two Mexicans who
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Law at Randado (1954) In Elmore Leonard’s second western novel, Kirby Frye is the young deputy in charge of Randado when a group of local businessmen, led by rancher Phil Sundeen, lynch a couple of Mexicans in his jail. Frye tries to serve papers on them; they take his pants and humiliate him and he keeps coming. Like the best of Leonard’s westerns, it’s true to formula and subverts it at the same time. His characters are neither all good nor all bad, and he nicely turns around the one man ...more
Dec 22, 2019 rated it liked it
This novel only deserves 3 stars because of the protagonist. What a complete, well-rounded, well-founded character; one that I will never forget. Kirby Frye is established through his actions, his (few) words, and the insights of the man who hired him to be a deputy. Really well done!

The story itself is hackneyed (although that may not have been true when it was published in 1954), and the villains are all stereotypes. Without the strong protagonist this novel would not get more than 2 starts.
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From about 1954, Leonard’s second book, Leonard’s abilities show. An original western, if that’s possible, with some of the cleanest written scenes, good dialogue, a fairly steady plot, but not as sharply written as Leonard at his peak. A very fine early novel and a fine western.
matt francis
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great one from Elmore Leonard.
Rick Ratzlaff
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ok story. Drags out in some places.
Jack Sakalauskas
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Once in awhile I read a western just to keep in touch with the genre. This a story of a western town where the town's elite decide that they don't need the state's judicial system and set up there own court. Of course these are just vigilantes who mete out their own sort of justice. Most of the story is the give and take to get the town back on track. I thought it was a slow starter with the fight scenes dragging on. I pushed on and found it a good story and enjoyed the battle for supremacy at ...more
Chad Olson
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kirby Frye learns to uphold the law in southern Arizona.
Craig Garrett
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reads extremely modern for a novel written in the 50s. I enjoyed the cast of characters and unorthodox showdown at the end.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
The ethics of the old West. Great writing!
Carl Buehler
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good solid Western fiction
Anthony Whitt
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
My first Leonard book but it won't be my last. Nice character development without the need for gratuitous violence.
Thomas Tyrer
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently endured a brief string of good-but-not-great books so decided to go back to an Elmore Leonard Western as a potential "sure thing." "The Law at Randado" was just that, with its share of men of principle set against those who constantly rationalize their worst actions so long as there's any self-benefit. In the world of arrogance, self-entitlement and fear-mongering that passes for today's America, it's quite great to be able to call upon two true American treasures -- the classic ...more
Dave N
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western, leonard
Compared with Elmore Leonard's first novel, The Bounty Hunters, I couldn't help but feel that The Law at Randado lacked some of the subtlety in characters and their choices that I really loved about that first book. The lines were drawn so clearly from the beginning that the book degenerates into a series of action scenes with little to no ambiguity as to intentions or outcomes. Kirby Frye lacked the depth that I saw in Dave Flynn. Honestly, I was much more interested in Danaher, and I kind of ...more
Mark Stone
Jan 02, 2014 rated it liked it
My problem with most Westerns is the protagonist is almost always without fault. You know the type if you’ve ever read a Louis L'Amour story: clean-cut, above doubt or suspicion, always acting disinterestedly. Those kinds of protagonists are boring to me. When I read something, I want the characters about whom I’m reading to be real, to be human, and not ideal. I want characters that fall short of being angels.

With The Law at Randado we have the same problem with the protagonist as we find in
Feb 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Old school western. A boy's book with lots of pg (maybe pg-13) shoot em ups, vigilante justice, cowboys, sheriffs and humor. The action scenes are fun and the last scene is fun.
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American Westerns: Winter 2020 - The Law at Randado 12 27 Feb 15, 2020 07:43AM  

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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 ...more
“Don’t interrupt a man when he’s giving himself hell.” 2 likes
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