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The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,637 Ratings  ·  127 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
ebook, 576 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by William Morrow (first published November 2nd 2004)
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May 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthology, western
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
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2fiction, western, 1audio
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
Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulp-fiction
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
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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.
This is his short stories that he provided to a magazine to make a little bit of money.
I read 3:10 to Yuma as I have enjoyed the movie. The Books ending is not the same at all.
Andre T
Apr 04, 2012 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
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me way too long, but after this and Leonard's debut novel "The Bounty Hunters", I think you can count me as an unabashed fan. I remember reading this while waiting for my car to get fixed, with other people present in the waiting room, and I had to actively suppress saying out loud "Dat's cool!" when something cool happened.

Now, this almost visceral reaction happened about three pages into a story. Let it be a testament to the efficiency of Leonard's writing that I had, in three pages or
Dec 27, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
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
Carl R.
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
John Conquest
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cormac Mccarthy this is not, being much closer in spirit to John Wayne type movies. These stories were published in old western magazines so the audience likely wanted heroic adventures, not Blood Meridian style massacres. The author is probably most famous for being the inspiration behind the television show Justified. 30 short stories that read like an mlg highlight reel of Indians, outlaws, and prison escapees being unceremoniously blown out by ranchers and the like.

A good collection of well
Oct 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  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.
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.
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of reviews I had seen online warned that the book was too repetitive, being a collection of all the Westerns that Elmore Leonard wrote at the begging of his career (before moving on to his critically acclaimed crime novels). I agree with that to a certain extent; a lot of the earlier stories are pretty similar in their character writing and plot. However, I thought it was really enjoyable to see how Elmore Leonard diversified his characters and plots within the Western genre as his writing ...more
Brendan Main
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Leonard's Western stories are largely about negotiating a kind of peace i the Wild West between its many factions. Even when his heroes are outlaws, they aren't looking to make trouble or cause harm - they do what they do deliberately and professionally, and keep to themselves. Rather, it's the rabble-rousers, ignorant townsfolk, and racists of every stripe that serve as villains. In this way, these are stories about peacemaking.

Included in this volume is his "3:10 to Yuma", one of the finest We
Joseph Carrabis
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read Leonard's Western Stories because I wanted something out of "my genre" and been told he was a master craftsperson along the lines of Hemingway and Hammett. Plus I'm a big fan of Justified and read Fire in the Hole. Good advice all around as Leonard is, indeed, a master whose sparcity of language is a learning experience in itself.
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lots & lots of very similar characters in very similar landscapes with similar story-lines - perhaps not surprising for complete compilation. However generally found these stories very simplistic & largely plot-less.
May 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition so read...I suppose I wanted more to go on...more in depth, drawn out characters and reading material...
Steve C.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Elmore Leonard was a very good writer.
Chris simpson
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These are a great set of short westerns, Elmore Leonard writes in an easy style, it glides along and takes you into the old west alongside the characters.
Ami Kreider
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm fascinated with the Western genre, but my experience with it is limited and somewhat snobby: True Grit, Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy, The Sisters Brothers, and Molly Gloss's tales of cowgirls & solitary women settlers. In other words, I haven't read Louis L'Amour or Zane Grey and I'm not sure I want to (whatever, I want to). I grabbed this book for the cover-it looks like someone put a cowboy hat on a Dashiell Hammett pulp detective novel. Perfect. As expected, it was a fun read, wit ...more
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
The Cannibal
Oct 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me voici une nouvelle fois de plus plongée dans du western, chevauchant dans le couchant sur mon fidèle destrier, mon colt balançant élégamment contre ma cuisse ferme et garantie sans cellulite ou peau d’orange.

Pour la première nouvelle, celle qui donne le titre au recueil, oubliez le film avec le beau Christian Bale et le terrifiant Russel Crowe.

Le film est tiré de la nouvelle, mais vu que cette dernière fait 20 pages à tout casser, vous vous doutez bien qu’entre elle et le film, il y a eu des
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rick Skwiot
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Arranged chronologically by publication date, these brisk 19th century western tales show Elmore Leonard’s early growing facility with plot, dialogue, characterization and psychological depth. Most resemble small morality plays where honesty, generosity, duty, stoicism and courage are rewarded, with greed, duplicity, hubris and cowardliness duly punished. The later tales deal more frequently with romance (cowboy style) and family issues in affecting ways.

These stories offer fine descriptions of
John Bruni
This may not be a great book, but it's an interesting one. It's a collection of the westerns Elmore Leonard used to write before he was Elmore Leonard. It's interesting because he hasn't discovered his style yet for most of this book. They are tough stories, but he hasn't yet gotten to the point where we would all recognize his work if his name wasn't on it. He still broke some of the rules he'd later immortalize. The stories are good, but there's nothing special about them. They're pretty norma ...more
David Williams
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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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