In the post-World War II era, Popular Publications was slow to launch new magazines built around a single character. But when they did, they went completely out of the box. Captain Zero was one of those.
In 1950, with the pulp era dwindling, Popular put out The Pecos Kid Western. He was, in the words of editor Mike Tilden, "hardly a regulation Western character".
What did Tilden mean by that? Simply that here was a hero who was neither a steely-eyed pulp stalwart, nor a rodeo-shirted Hollywood trick-shooter - both infallible crusaders for justice, but about as realistic as the Lone Ranger.
The Pecos Kid was really William Calhoun Warren, late of Texas and the Confederate Army. After the Civil War, he set out to make an honest living, assisted by his saddle mates Big Jim Swing and Hernandez Pedro Gonzales y Fuente Jesus Maria Flanagan.
The series was created to reflect the shift toward more mature Western films, which had been growing on Hollywood over much of the 1940s. It would reach its zenith with such cinematic classics as Howard Hawks' 1948 epic Red River, along with High Noon, Shane, and The Searchers, all just around the corner from 1950.
According to author Dan Cushman, The Pecos Kid was actually inspired by The Cisco Kid. "The editors at Popular asked me to write a series on a character they devised called the Pecos Kid, a sort of a spinoff."
In his debut novel, Riders of the Gunsmoke Rim, Bill Warren and his comrades have just finished driving a herd of cattle up from Cheyenne to the untamed town of Miles in Montana Country when they muscle into a hornet's nest of hate and... but you can hear all the ruckus and ruction for yourself as Milton Bagby narrates Dan Cushman's bullet-torn tale ripped from the pages of Pecos Kid Western, July, 1950.
Also included is a novelette by one of the the Pulp West's major stars, Harry F. Olmsted.
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