Westerns

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Montana Nemesis (Hal Jons)

Montana Nemesis jacket design
Originally published 9th December 1960

The business model was simple, brutal and effective: Red Hanson, hand in glove with a double–dealing Land Agent, sold land to settlers looking for good graze…but then his killer crew started to prod and push until the settlers were glad to sell back at give–away prices. The trouble was that Hanson held Mapson City in his uncompromising grasp. The crooked law was in his pocket and he called the tune.
No one had dared to complain – at least, no–one had complained and lived – until Nick and Letty Randall bought a parcel of land from Hanson to breed horses. They got the same treatment as all the others, but this time Hanson had picked on the wrong people and incurred the wrath of the all–powerful Randall–Houston combine.
When a clumsy dude arrived looking for range, he seemed easy meat. His incompetence gave Mapson some laughs as he near fell head over heels at every turn. But the dude turned out to be a man to be reckoned with. Then the dude fell head over heels again, but this time it was for Hanson’s beautiful daughter. This wasn't going to cause anything but trouble. It wasn't long before the range echoed to the thunder of six–guns.
This, Jons' first western, introduces Mex Juarez, almost in passing - Mex was soon to become one of Jons' best-loved characters after he partnered-up with Clint Bellamy.

Cattleman's Gold (Hal Jons)

Cattleman's Gold jacket design
Originally published 2nd June 1961

Bitter Springs, nestling in the shadow of the Big Horn Mountains, had grown used to peace; but then came the Deep Mine Company to win the lead and silver from under Lazy K’s summer graze.
Ross Blake, the flint–hard Mine Manager bought out the Lazy K from Matt Holt, who promptly disappeared, leaving his beautiful daughter, Myra, to fend for herself. Meanwhile, Deep Mine Company payrolls were stolen and Blake demanded action, which led to Mark Wyatt, U.S. Marshal, being called in. It wasn't long before Blake and Wyatt were rivals for Myra’s affections.
What didn't go down well in some quarters was the fact that Wyatt started looking into Holt’s disappearance as well as following up on the payroll theft. Now, why on earth should that cause anyone any concern? Unless they knew something about the disappearance, that is.
When it was first published in 1960, Cattleman’s Gold was described in reviews as “an authentic Western” and as being “in true Western vein” - not bad for an Ebbw Vale lad who'd never been west of Swansea - and with a cast of rampaging gun-slicks and brawling miners, not to mention a classic tale of retribution, you’re sure to agree.

The Llano Kid (Hal Jons)

The Llano Kid jacket design
Originally published 3rd August 1962

The first Clint Bellamy/Mex Jaurez adventure
Clint Bellamy struck Butte County just as the peace enjoyed by the Randall–Houston combine is shattered. Rustling, bank robbery and murder are the unwelcome visitors and Clint is in just the wrong place each time. Not only that, but his face looks mighty familiar – there it is on one of the sheriff’s dodgers, Dill Hankin, wanted for murder. It looks as though Clint is guilty as hell.
Sheriff Delahay and the Randall–Houston crew are quickly after his blood, but the combine’s Doc Devoy and Mex Jaurez become convinced of Clint’s innocence. Meanwhile, mayhem breaks out thanks to the remorseless scheming of Justin Cainey, which leads to the murder of an oldster, whom Clint had befriended whilst laying low. This murder leads Clint onto the trail of revenge, closely followed by the R–H crew, who think that Clint killed the oldster. The trail leads them to lawless Salom, where the law had gone over to evil. If that wasn't enough, Clint is thrown in gaol and when his sister, Nova, arrives to help prove her brother’s innocence, she and Doc Devoy find themselves at the mercy of crooked law.

Saddle Tramps (Hal Jons)

Saddle Tramps jacket design
Originally published 2nd August 1963

A Clint Bellamy/Mex Juarez adventure
It seems that the coming of a rail-road brings out the worst in men – greed, deceit, duplicity, cattle rustling and murder. And the rail-road is coming plumb through Rafter K land. Clint Bellamy and Mex Juarez are just passing through when they witness Mal Barrett being framed with a murder charge.
The pards have a passion for straight play and side with Barrett. However, they have a job on their hands – the Marshal is in the pocket of the schemers that plan to oust Barrett and his beautiful sister, Stella, from the Rafter K. Stella has put her trust in suavely–handsome, smooth–spoken Steve Mitchell. But it is Mitchell who is behind all of the troubles. If he marries Stella, then you can be sure as hell that she and Mal won’t see a cent from the soon–to–be inflated land price caused by the coming rail-road.
Merciless bounty hunter, Wilt Shand, has meanwhile been charged to bring Mal in. The biggest problem for Mal is that Shand is well–known for bringing in dead men. To get Mal in his sights Shand decides to use Stella – and if a woman isn't battered and bleeding by the time he’s finished with her, then he doesn't consider that he’s done his job.

Ghost Gunman (Hal Jons)

Ghost Gunman jacket design
Originally published 1st March 1964

Bart Travers was just a boy when he witnessed Rod Vance’s men murder his parents. Twelve years later – and every inch a man – Bart is back and is out for Vance’s blood. But his revenge is nearly short–lived. Without the timely arrival of his two pards Bart would have enjoyed the dubious honour of being on the wrong end of a lynching for a murder he didn't commit. Even with the help of his pards, Bart is in for trouble because Vance has the whole town in his pocket. Things don’t get any easier when notorious gunman, Ace Ringwall, is set on Bart’s trail with a $200 incentive to tote him in – dead.
Who says trouble doesn't come in threes? As if he didn't already have enough to deal with, Bart falls for Stella Drew, owner of the Diamond Dot ranch. Vance, however, won’t let anything get in the way of taking over the ranch.
Vance may be content with getting his vile hands on the ranch but Des, his lecherous son, has other intentions. Des has his sights firmly set on possessing the beautiful Stella and he doesn't mind how rough he has to be to force her to comply with his base wishes.

Mochita Stage (Hal Jons)

Mochita Stage jacket design
Originally published 1st September 1964

Abe Marsh has Blundell sewn up and, as top dog, he doesn’t see why things should change any. But when Steve Sherman first sets eyes on Marsh his curiosity is piqued – he’s sure he’s seen the hombre before, though under another name. A name that supposedly belongs to a dead man. The man who killed his brother.
Add to the equation a range war and a stage coach chock–full of money, due to arrive any day soon, and it’s for sure that Blundell ain’t a safe place to be. Especially when Marsh’s gang of no–good desperadoes get itchy trigger-fingers. What it adds up to is that good men are gonna die.
One other thing that Steve is curious about – well, it’s got more personal than that – and that is why beautiful, young Claire Digby, enjoys the company of unsavoury visitors when most honest folk are asleep.
Not that troubles ever come alone. Another problem is that the equally beautiful Myra Dean blames Steve for her father’s violent death, but that’s the least of his troubles.

Rogue Ramrods (Hal Jons)

Rogue Ramrods jacker design
Originally published 25th June 1965

A Clint Bellamy/Mex Jaurez adventure
When Matt Nugent’s money was stolen in a deadly bank robbery, it looked like the end for his ranch. The money was owed to Lew Dillon. Now Dillon wants the Triple Bar, so the robbery was kinda convenient for him. Most hombres would have given up but it becomes clear to Matt that he is on the wrong end of a double–cross and he isn’t in any mood to give up his ranch easily. Meanwhile, Clint Bellamy and Mex Juarez are framed for the robbery and murder and decide to horn in on Matt’s side, but there’s treachery at work in the heart of the Triple Bar.
If that wasn’t enough, the situation is made even more incendiary when Kitty, the dead banker’s daughter, is thrown into the mix. Dillon is determined to have Kitty by fair play or foul and is equally determined to have Matt’s ranch by any means. And he has no qualms about anyone picking up any stray lead in the process.
One thing is for sure, which is that before justice can prevail, guns will blaze, fists will fly and passions will run high. And as the gun–smoke clears who will have won the Triple Bar? And who will enjoy Kitty’s affections?

Alamosa Guns (Hal Jons)

Alamosa Guns jacket design
Originally published 25th June 1965

John Reville’s father was lynched without trial for the murder of a bank teller and his son, John, was whipped out of town. Ten years later, the grown–up John Reville – all 6’2″ of him – moseyed back into Alamosa to clear his father’s name and avenge his death. The town owed him and he intended to exact payment in full.
However, many had a vested interest in keeping the dead past buried and Reville’s return spelled trouble. Lew Duggan and Jake Rosen of the Bar D Ranch and Mose Grant of the Lazy K Ranch wanted Reville silenced for good. So did the bank’s owner, Murchison. And so did Deputy Sheriff Kershawe. All had a good deal to hide and a great deal to lose.
Even with the support of Mel Browning, Sheriff Carter and the breathtakingly beautiful Diana Morley, the odds didn’t look too good for Reville. He was outnumbered, but he had right on his side. There again, so had his father and it hadn’t helped him any.
But young Reville had one or two aces up his sleeve. Would they tip the balance? Well, the only surety was that guns were gonna blaze and men would die.

Guns Of Justice (Hal Jons)

Guns Of Justice jacket design
Originally published 23rd October 1980

Des Willard was on the run for the alleged murder of his brother, Jeff, when the six–strong posse caught up with him. The posse didn’t get their man and returned one man short. According to the other five, Willard had shot Sheriff Suter dead in cold-blood. A lesser man than Des Willard would have kept running but he knew he was innocent. Only the horse–rancher, Jack Mallory believed in him, but when Banker, Ezra Scott, was murdered even Mallory doubted Willard’s innocence.
Meanwhile, Seth Dormer, the horse–trader, was heading to Butane to buy stock. Despite the evidence stacking up, Sal, Seth’s beautiful daughter, did not see Willard as a killer. When violence duly erupted, fomented by Hubert Dainton, Willard’s uncle, Somers the Lazy Q rancher, Kershawe the owner of the Stage–line and Smeaton the Indian trader, Seth backed Sal’s instincts and took a hand.
Just when there is a glimmer of hope that Des can prove his innocence to the town, gristly evidence is faked to settle his hash once and for all and even with the Dormers’ help things look bleak. Salvation for Willard teeters on a knife-edge.

Gringo Gold (Hal Jons)

Gringo Gold jacket design
Originally published 10th March 1981

A Clint Bellamy and Mex Jaurez adventure
Clint Bellamy and Mex Juarez are crossing the Amarillo Desert when they come across a wagon–train of Irish immigrants. The gold cross the group had carried had attracted thieves and killers like a magnet until it was stolen. Now they were lost, literally and metaphorically. Matt Sullivan and Kathy Mullins leave the wagon–train to accompany Clint and Mex in pursuit of the cross, but trouble starts when Reardon and Kelly trail along. They want to possess both the cross and the beautiful, teenaged Kathy, neither of which goes down well with her devoted partner, Matt.
When the pards hit town Matt is found holding the knife that has just killed Reardon and he looks set to hang. But Matt knows that only Kathy’s hand could have wielded the knife and he keeps his silence so that she won’t end hers days dangling on the end of a rope. The pards have to prove Matt innocent, hampered by the actions of Gabe Dance’s gang and the machinations of Red Carlson, a lecherous woman–beater, who wants Kathy for his own. Meanwhile, wanted outlaw, Mose Belman, who is posing as a blameless priest, steers a crafty and selfish course with the cross towards the ultimate reward.

Assassin Trail (Hal Jons)

Assassin Trail jacket design
Originally published 30th July 1981

Sheridan’s Light Horse, led by its amoral leader, Major Tim McCord, brought terror to Southern families during the Civil War. They came out of the night, killing all males, irrespective of age, defiling all women and burning all property. Then they sent the used women away in carts, so that fear spread before them. When the war ended, McCord and his evil henchmen, Mordant, Hook and Faulkner, led the troop west to the cattle trails. They planned to steal a herd and sell it in Topeka before moving on to Huggett, Nebraska, to dispose of their war loot. Then at Waco they made the cardinal mistake of tangling with Steve Grant!
One righteous man against a large gang of war–hardened criminals doesn't sound like good odds but, there again, Grant wasn't alone. No, he was partnered by Amos, an elderly black man, the only survivor of one of McCord's butchering raids. All was going well, as the pair whittled down the opposition, until the beautiful Jill Rankin, who was on her way to Waco, was captured by the remains of McCord's gang – men who by now could do with some female pleasure.

Mustang Valley (Hal Jons)

Mustang Valley jacket design
Originally published 21st January 1982

'Assignment: Dave Hallett, U.S. Marshal: Recover bullion and currency stolen from the Salida – La Junta Stage by killers, Jack and Ed Wallis. Jack Wallis hung five years ago. Ed Wallis due release Austin prison.' Ed Wallis had got away with a prison sentence because of his tender age, but he'd had to grow up some in prison. Hallett, meeting him on release, did not rate him a killer even if others were still solidly convinced of his guilt.
Hallett moseys on to Rocky Ford, where he manages to get on the wrong side of Ed’s sister, the beautiful Stella Wallis. Stella is struggling to keep the Anvil horse–ranch going and is grateful for the friendship shown to her by handsome rancher Brett Turner.
Hallett disapproves of Stella’s feelings for Turner for more reasons than one. But it never does for a U.S. Marshal to let his feelings get in the way of doing the job. Hallett, with the aid of the enigmatic Cole Duggan, goes out to deliberately provoke the local populace in the search for truth, getting angry reaction from Turner and his trigger–happy crew, banker Henry Roach, storekeeper Caleb Hanley and Marshal Hoadby. Just what is it that they are all trying to hide?

Travis, U.S. Marshal (Hal Jons)

Travis, U.S. Marshal jacket design
Originally published 28th October 1982

A Carl Travis/Joe Wallace adventure
The town of Pierre was stunned by the ferocity of the raid. It cleared the bank, left the Sheriff wounded on the side-walk and saw seven townsfolk dead. Joe Wallace, the Town Marshall, was out of town with Rod Miller, the banker’s son, visiting Ellis and Dill of the Half-Moon and Lazy T, and their guns were sorely missed.
A few days earlier Art Lovatt and his men had spent a day in town roaming the saloons, and Sam Homer said that some of them were camped just beyond Lone Star graze for a couple of days before the hold-up. When Carl Travis arrived, everyone told him to head after Lovatt’s gang.
Travis, however, was not in the habit of doing things just because everyone tells him to. When people tell you to go look in one place, it means there’s somewhere closer to home they don’t want you to look. Besides, Travis knew that Art Lovatt didn’t do the bank job. So which of the solid citizens criticising Travis for staying put and letting Lovatt’s gang escape is responsible? And how many more townsfolk will have to die before the truth is told?

Cheyenne Medicine (Hal Jons)

Cheyenne Medicine jacket design
Originally published posthumously on 10th March 1983

Mark Holden was heading for St Louis to doctor for a California–bound wagon train when he came upon an attack on the Kremmling to Granby stage. The stage was carrying only four women, coming in answer to an advert for wives for some of the town’s worthies. So what had the outlaws been after? Putting the stage out of business was the simple answer and saving it embroiled Mark in a whole heap of complications.
The complications involved a pushy mining company, crooked law and a scheming, deadly ramrod, who had cleared the opposition by spreading fear amongst Kremmling folk with his evil shadows, the hot–tempered Dando brothers. One more complication was the stage owner’s beautiful, but fierce and fiery, shotgun–toting daughter.
Mark could spare Kremmling just two weeks so he had to both prod and push hard so as to inflame the sort of men who made a good living out of other people dying. Raised Cheyenne style, Mark turns to his Indian friends, who owe him some favours, and things move to the inevitable lead–filled climax.

Guns At Chinooga Peak (Hal Jons)

Guns At Chinooga Peak jacket design
Originally published posthumously in 1983

A Carl Travis/Joe Wallace adventure
Doug Machin’s world collapsed on account of returning a favour. He’d called on Dave Caswall of the Flying Diamond, offering to take a thousand head of beef on his drive to St Louis. When Sam Caswall returned from town, Dave Caswall was dead, and Sheriff Jake Caswall of Springfield made no delay in setting bounty hunter, Moss Hanney, the chore of bringing in Doug. Just one thing, Hanney’s reputation was that he always brought them in dead. So what was it that Jake Caswell was so worried about that he didn’t want a trial – had he killed his own pa? Whatever happened, it looked as though Machin’s fate was sealed. Or was it?
Fickle fate threw another pair of dice in the shape of U.S. Marshal Travis and Deputy Marshal Wallace. The pair arrived in Springfield with time to kill and sensing more than was seen on the surface they started to stir up intrigue and violent reaction in their hunt for the truth. That truth unfolds to the point where there can only be one outcome. Guns blaze and bullets fly as the final act is played out at Chinooga Peak.