End of the Drive
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BEAU L'AMOUR'S COMMENTS (in blue): Rustler Roundup was a short novel that remained unpublished until 1997.

In early 1948 Leo Margulies of Standard Magazines sent the following rejection letter to Louis --

"You came darned near having one fine novel in RUSTLER ROUNDUP, but something went a little haywire in the writing of it . . . . you hung back and hung back, pointing with the horror and promising all sorts of dire things while nothing much happened and the reader had to plow through thousands of words of heavy explanation and introspection. . . . Then, after that terrifically long build-up, no climax could possibly live up to the promise. . . . There are two things you can do with the story. One would be to cut it down, leaving the form pretty much as it is, but removing the static parts and some of the changes in viewpoint so as to keep the here more in the story. . . . The other alternative is the harder one of revamping it in the same length, which means taking out the objectionable material and inventing new plot devices to fill in. . . . Your resolution about giving us better and better stories is very noble and very much appreciated. The best to you and a very Happy New Year."

When I was editing End of the Drive I pretty much split the difference between Leo's two suggestions as I worked on this story. Louis did a lot of preparation for this story as you can see here. I fear he was so disheartened that he never went on to try to fix this story.: 

Rustler Roundup

REMY KASTELLE, with her father, Mathiew Kastelle, has moved into the range country at the foot of the Highbinder Hills. She has brought with her 5,000 head of cattle, and complete equipment for a large ranch. Her foreman, Texas Dowd, born in Tennessee and reared in Texas, is a fine cattleman, strictly loyal, and a fast hand with a gun.

Remy is welcomed by PIERCE LOGAN, who calls and assures her of his good will and offers any assistance. He is much impressed by Remy...and just as much by her cattle.

She meets her neighbors, McInnis of the Spur Ranch, in fertile Spur Valley, fifteen miles to the south, and Van Brewster of the Lazy S her nearest neighbor to the northeast. On her first visit to Laird she meets JUDGE GARDNER COLLINS, rancher and local leader. A friendly interesting man. She also sees GARFIELD OTIS, the town bum. She hears stories of the MAHONE, the man who lives in the Highbinder Hills. And then she sees him riding down the street and riding a splendid big horse.

Soon Dowd tells her she is losing cattle. Brewster and McInnis have already told her of that. She suspects Mahone, and refuses to be convinced of anything else. Logan implies he suspects Mahone himself. Yet the town is afraid of big Byrn Sonntag who lives with a cluster of little ranchers back of Brewster's ranch. These outfits are Sonntag's Diamond Box, Ike Hibby's IH connected, and Liebman's Flying U. Their ranch houses are bunched together, and their cattle run in the remote valleys to the northeast where riders from Laird rarely go.

Map of LAIRD and surrounding ranches

1. Emporium
2. Hardware & harness
3. Judge Collin's office
4. Barbershop
5. Store
6. Pierce Logan's office.
7. Longhorn Saloon
8. The Branding Iron
9. Cafe
10.Stage station
11. livery barn
12.Corrals & hotel
13.Doc Finerty
14.Lettie Mason
15.City Hall and jail.

Laird Map
Click for larger image
Map of the
Laird River Valley

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