Monday, May 26, 2014

To Ride the River With by William MacLeod Raine

To Ride the River With is a forgotten book by a forgotten author. William MacLeod Raine (1871-1954) was born in London and grew up on a cattle ranch in Texas. His youthful experiences in the west certainly had an influence on the many western stories he would write. He began publishing prior to World War I, and by the mid-1930s he was nearly as popular as Zane Grey. To Ride the River With was published in hardcover in 1936 by Grosset & Dunlap. The back cover advertises 23 of William MacLeod Raine’s “dashing novels of frontier life.” When Raine died in 1954 many of these books had been reprinted in paperback. I encountered these paperbacks much later, and so was introduced to him through such paperbacks as Gun Showdown and Texas Breed. I bought these paperbacks simply because I liked the covers. The fact that the stories were good was a bonus. In old cowboy lingo, “a man to ride the river with” was a man to be trusted in a pinch. In MacLeod’s novel, Jeff Gray is such a man, although he needs to prove himself amidst ambushes, kidnapping and murder. Raine’s writing is truculent, the characters believable. He is cut from the same cloth as Zane Grey, although without the poetic descriptions of nature that Zane Grey was so good at. Many of William MacLeod Raine’s books are available on Kindle, but for my money it’s a lot more fun tracking down both the originals and paperback copies.
William MacLeod Raine

2 comments:

  1. He's not forgotten by me, I ran across a bunch of his GD hardbacks over the course of one summer at a flea market near me. Wonderful reads, that I'm gonna get to read someday. Most of these were in the pulps before that and I have read him there. Some things like Texas Man from Adventure 1928, I have in hardback too. Can't beat that. He was a very prolific pulpster starting in 1899 in Argosy, and going to Short Stories, etc.I notice he was a lecturer at the University in Colorado, he must have been an interesting speaker!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Jonathan! Looks like you have a good collection of original pulps! that's awesome!

    ReplyDelete

I apologize for the necessity to moderate comments, but somebody opened the zoo cages and the beasts are running amok!