Jon Tuska’s new edition of his anthology The Western Story: A Chronological Treasury (University of Nebraska, 1995, updating the earlier 1982) contains 20 stories (most not in the previous edition) grouped by named time periods: “The East Goes West,” “Founders of the Golden Age,” “Storytellers of the Golden Age,” and “Visions of Dreams and Dancing.” Only two stories have genuine Texas connections, and both are in the last time slot: Elmer Kelton’s 1982 “Desert Command,” a military story of a thirst-driven command set around San Angelo, and Texas-born Cynthia Haseloff’s 1994 “Redemption at Dry Creek,” set in a generic dry country featuring human conditions in response to earlier killing and hard life.
While reading Tuska’s introduction, readers will notice the dates marking the inauguration of the modern Western story are scattered in the 1890s and spilling into the first decade of the 1900s. Some of the authors mentioned in the introduction or cited in the final bibliography of the period are Owen Wister, Rex Beach, Jack London, Marah Ellis Ryan, Stewart Edward White, Mark Twain, Frederick Remington, Bret Harte, John Neihardt, Clarence Mulford, B.M. Bowers (a woman), and Texans Andy Adams and O. Henry. Tuska mentions that this edition’s collection is different from the previous and from other Western anthologists.
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