I just noticed there's no thread devoted exclusively to what many consider Howard's best "straight" western tale, The Vultures of Wahpeton.
Several people have noted a resemblance to Dashiel Hammett's Red Harvest (1929). Hammett's novel (it appears) was the ultimate source for what became A Fistful of Dollars. Did REH read Hammett, or was this just parallel genius?
A little piece of independent "research" on my part...
About 5yrs ago, I bought my dad a big collection of John Wayne's early westerns. One of the flicks therein was The Star Packer (as in "He Who Wears a Tin Star"). The movie was released in 1934, about a year before "Vultures" was written.
While not wanting to give TOO much away regarding the plot of either story, both have an outsider come into a town and take over as sheriff. The protagonist learns there is a mysterious gang basically "running" things. They use tunnels to pull off many of their crimes. In the case of the Wayne film, the gang-boss is known as "the Shadow"; in the Howard yarn, the gang is known as "the Vultures".
I'll note that the entire tone of The Star Packer is FAR less "hardboiled" and cynical than REH's yarn.
Did Howard see this Duke movie?
Vultures Of Wahpeton: REH's Classic Western Yarnhardboiled western hammett
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