Saturday, September 6, 2014

Buckskin Westerns by Roy LeBeau and Kit Dalton

Leisure Books jumped onto the Adult Western bandwagon in 1983 with the Buckskin series written by Roy LeBeau, a pseudonym for Mitchell Smith. At the same time Leisure Books premiered the Spur series. There were 42 Buckskin novels, with the first 12 credited to LeBeau. The remainder were published under the name Kit Dalton, with most if not all of those being ghost written by Chet Cunningham. The series was intended to compete with the increasingly popular Gunsmith, Longarm and Slocum series, the only three surviving until recently. The late 70s and 80s were really a golden age for Adult Westerns. Buckskin: Rifle River, the first in this series, is a solid novel, well-written and easy to read. I love the cover art on this first one with the blurb “His guns were hot, but his women were hotter!” Buckskin’s real name is Frank Leslie, a legendary gunfighter who disappeared after the death of a saloon girl that he loved. Going by the name Fred Lee, the series put him at odds with various bad-asses and in the arms of various lovely ladies. Riding into dangerous situations or slipping between the sheets with a wanton woman is what Buckskin does best, and he does both and with equal measures of dexterity. This series underwent several changes during its relatively short run. Fred Lee became Buckskin Lee Morgan, and the character took up a whip in the Lash LaRue tradition. I never read them all, but I enjoyed those that I read. The Buckskin books are easy to find on e-bay or at flea markets and in used bookstores. I recommend them for readers like myself who have enjoyed the many Adult Westerns that sadly seem to be vanishing as quickly as Buckskin did.

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