Elmer Kelton Books

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Elmer Kelton was an American author that wrote Westerns. Elmer was born in 1926 in Andrews County, Texas. His father worked at the Horse Camp on Five Wells Ranch. Robert William Kelton was a cowboy before making the leap to foreman and then general manager (McElroy Ranch).

Order of Tales of Texas Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Captain's Rangers 1968 Description / Buy
2 Joe Pepper 1975 Description / Buy
3 Long Way to Texas 1976 Description / Buy

Order of Texas Tradition Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 The Day the Cowboys Quit 1971 Description / Buy
2 Wagontongue 1972 Description / Buy
3 Manhunters 1974 Description / Buy
4 The Wolf and the Buffalo 1980 Description / Buy
5 Stand Proud 1984 Description / Buy
6 Dark Thicket 1985 Description / Buy
7 The Man Who Rode Midnight 1987 Description / Buy
8 Honor at Daybreak 1991 Description / Buy

Order of Sons of Texas Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Sons of Texas 1989 Description / Buy
2 The Raiders 1989 Description / Buy
3 The Rebels 1989 Description / Buy

Order of Hewey Calloway Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 The Good Old Boys 1982 Description / Buy
2 The Smiling Country 1998 Description / Buy
3 Six Bits a Day 2005 Description / Buy
4 The Unlikely Lawman ( By: Steve Kelton) 2022 Description / Buy

Order of Texas Rangers Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 The Buckskin Line 1999 Description / Buy
2 Badger Boy 2001 Description / Buy
3 The Way of the Coyote 2001 Description / Buy
4 Ranger's Trail 2002 Description / Buy
5 Other Men's Horses 2002 Description / Buy
6 Lone Star Rising 2003 Description / Buy
7 Texas Vendetta 2004 Description / Buy
8 Jericho's Road 2004 Description / Buy
9 Hard Trail To Follow 2008 Description / Buy
10 Texas Standoff 2010 Description / Buy

Order of Buckalew Family Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Massacre at Goliad 1965 Description / Buy
2 After the Bugles 1967 Description / Buy

Order of Elmer Kelton Standalone Novels

# Read Title Published Details
1 Hot Iron 1956 Description / Buy
2 Buffalo Wagons 1957 Description / Buy
3 Bitter Trail 1959 Description / Buy
4 Texas Rifles 1960 Description / Buy
5 Donovan 1961 Description / Buy
6 Pecos Crossing 1963 Description / Buy
7 Horsehead Crossing 1963 Description / Buy
8 Savage Guns ( With: Brian Garfield, Alex Hawk) 1968 Description / Buy
9 Shotgun Settlement ( With: Brian Garfield, Alex Hawk) 1969 Description / Buy
10 Bowie's Mine 1971 Description / Buy
11 The Time It Never Rained 1973 Description / Buy
12 Barbed Wire 1980 Description / Buy
13 Eyes of the Hawk 1981 Description / Buy
14 Llano River 1982 Description / Buy
15 Shadow of a Star 1984 Description / Buy
16 Hanging Judge 1988 Description / Buy
17 Slaughter 1992 Description / Buy
18 The Best Christmas (Short Story) 1993 Description / Buy
19 The Indian in Frontier News 1993 Description / Buy
20 The Far Canyon 1994 Description / Buy
21 The Pumpkin Rollers 1996 Description / Buy
22 Cloudy in the West 1997 Description / Buy
23 Christmas at the Ranch (Short Story) 2003 Description / Buy
24 Shotgun 2007 Description / Buy
25 Many a River 2008 Description / Buy

Order of Elmer Kelton Short Story Collections

# Read Title Published Details
1 There's Always Another Chance, and Other Stories 1986 Description / Buy
2 The Big Brand 1986 Description / Buy
3 Legend 1999 Description / Buy
4 ReadWest 2011 Description / Buy
5 Wild West 2017 Description / Buy
6 Hard Ride 2018 Description / Buy
7 The Cowboy Way 2020 Description / Buy
8 Law of the Land 2021 Description / Buy

Order of Elmer Kelton Non-Fiction Books

# Read Title Published Details
1 Looking Back West: Selections form the Pioneer News-Observer 1972 Description / Buy
2 Permian: A Continuing Saga (Short Story) 1985 Description / Buy
3 Elmer Kelton: 30 Years of Western Fiction 1985 Description / Buy
4 Living and Writing in West Texas: Two Speeches 1990 Description / Buy
5 The Art of Howard Terpning 1992 Description / Buy
6 The Art of Frank C. McCarthy 1992 Description / Buy
7 The Art of James Bama 1993 Description / Buy
8 Elmer Kelton Country: The Short Nonfiction of a Texas Novelist 1993 Description / Buy
9 My Kind of Heroes: Selected Speeches (Short Story) 1995 Description / Buy
10 Texas (Short Story) 1995 Description / Buy
11 Texas Cattle Barons: Their Families, Land and Legacy 1999 Description / Buy
12 Prairie Gothic ( By: John R. Erickson) 2005 Description / Buy
13 Sandhills Boy: The Winding Trail of a Texas Writer 2007 Description / Buy
14 Tom Lovell: Storyteller with a Brush (Short Story) 2020 Description / Buy

Elmer Kelton Anthologies

# Read Title Published Details
1 Horsing Around: Contemporary Cowboy Humor 1991 Description / Buy
2 New Trails: Twenty-Three Original Stories 1994 Description / Buy
3 The Best of the American West II 1999 Description / Buy
4 A Century of Great Western Stories 2001 Description / Buy
5 Lone Star Law 2005 Description / Buy
6 Noah’s Ride 2006 Description / Buy
7 Lost Trails 2007 Description / Buy
8 The Way of the West 2008 Description / Buy
9 Law of the Gun 2010 Description / Buy
10 Ghost Towns 2010 Description / Buy
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Elmer was preceded by three generations of ranchers (on his father’s side). But the author couldn’t follow in their footsteps because of his poor eyesight. Elmer was disappointed because he admired cowboys immensely but couldn’t participate in their way of life.

Laypeople thought of him as a cowboy, but to the cowboys, Elmer was just another layperson. The author became a source of concern for his father because Robert thought his son would never make an honest living.

But Elmer was hopeful. After discovering western pulps at an early age, he set his sights on a career in publishing. The author would scribble short stories in composition books at school before hiding them because Elmer did not want anyone to discover his secret.

He couldn’t help it. Writing was not only unmanly but unrespectable. And after failing to follow in his father’s footsteps, the last thing he wanted was to make things worse by revealing his interest in the written word.

But Elmer couldn’t keep his hobby a secret forever. Eventually, it came to the surface. After attending Crane High School, the author had a short stint at the University of Texas before the war took him to Europe.

Elmer did less fighting than most because an accident with a tank left him on crutches. But you won’t find him complaining. The war brought Elmer his wife. The author met Anni Lipp after migrating to Austria during his military service.

Once the fighting ended, Elmer got his B.A. in journalism and revealed his intention to pursue writing and publishing to his father. Robert was skeptical because writing seemed shady. It did not sound like real work.

But Elmer was persistent. He kept submitting stories until he made a sale in 1948. Once he made that initial $65 sale, it gave the author the push to write more stores. His sales became more regular.

Elmer’s career took another leap forward when Paul Patterson asked him to illustrate ‘McGoo and Texas Too.’ The folklorist was Elmer’s high school teacher. Eventually, the pair became best friends, and after returning from the war, Patterson asked him to illustrate the book, a job Elmer did for $200.

By the mid-1950s, the author had published his first novel (Hot Iron), which readers gravitated to because it was an atypical Western.

Elmer Kelton Awards

Elmer’s collection of accolades includes Spur, Western Heritage, and Owen Wiser Awards.

Best Elmer Kelton Books

The author died of natural causes in 2009. Elmer Kelton’s best books include:

The Time It Never Rained: The Time It Never Rained tells the story of Charlie Flagg. Flagg is part of a dying breed of men that survived by squeezing the life out of a harsh landscape. That fight for survival made them fiercely independent.

That trait is still strong in Flagg. The man is old and overweight. But he has no intention of bending to the bureaucratic regulations that accompany the federal aid everyone wants Flagg to accept.

West Texas is still in the throes of the longest drought it has ever seen. But Flagg is determined to make it alone. He loves his land and has no intention of leaving, even though his son is more interested in pursuing the rodeo circuit.

The Good Old Boys: Hewey Calloway wanted to spend his days pursuing the life of a cowboy, wandering freely across the open range. But things were changing in ways Hewey hadn’t anticipated. West Texas was no longer the land his forefathers had called home.

Everywhere he looked, Hewey saw more barbed-wire fences, cars, and machines. The air had a new smell and sounds he barely recognized. He knew progress was coming, and his options were limited.

Hewey could either remain in the past, watching as modern life consumed him, or he could adapt. Hewey was not stupid. He knew that happiness lay in his future, and he could claim it, but only if he made the necessary sacrifices.

When Does The Next Elmer Kelton book come out?

Elmer Kelton doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is Law of the Land and was released on November, 16th 2021. It is the newest book in the Elmer Kelton Short Story Collections.


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