The blog of a Western fan, for other Western fans
I must confess to never having read Haycox ... now I will seek him out.
TRAIL TOWN was based on the career of a real-life Kansas lawman, but it was not Wyatt Earp. It was Tom "Bear River" Smith, who was the marshal of Abilene. In the novel, the town was fictionalized into "River Bend," KS (Abilene is located near a bend of the Smoky Hill River). For the film, as the title makes clear, the actual name of the town was restored. The Smith figure was probably fictionalized into "Dan Mitchell" because, in real life, Smith, was killed in the line of duty. Since Mitchell is fictional, Haycox was able to spare him that fate.As you note in your own blog entry on Smith, he was more highly regarded by Kansans than Earp, and was a personal hero of President Eisenhower.
That's interesting. Thanks very much. Yes, there is something Bear River Tom-ish about the marshal, even if he does wear a gun!Jeff
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Those interested in Ernest Haycox and his writings might be interested to know that my new book, ERNEST HAYCOX AND THE WESTERN, has just been published this week by the University of Oklahoma Press. Dick Etulain, 9 September 2017
Thank you, Professor Etulain, and it's an honor to have a comment from you on my little blog!I shall certainly be ordering your new book, because I admire your writing and Haycox's in equal measure.Jeff