Outlaws Ride the Range by T. P. Monahon was published by Pastime Publications of Toronto, Canada. T. P. Monahon is the alias of Canadian ex-boxer Thomas P. Kelley, best remembered in the pulp fiction community for his contributions to the American magazine Weird Tales. The digest-sized paperback carries no copyright date but would be circa 1947 to very early 1948. The artwork is unsigned and features a masked bandit wielding six-shooters.
The cover might look familiar if you collect hero pulps. Specifically, “western” hero pulps. The cover was swiped from the July 1946 issue of Masked Rider Western. Makes me wonder if the other covers via Pastime Publications are also swipes!
During and shortly after WW2, some of England’s publishers looked to Canada to publish books on their behalf, due to strict paper rations. This particular paperback was contracted by Pemberton’s, as part of their Action Novel(s) series.
Notice the red circle on the lower right cover?
It lacks a cover price. That is where the printers ought to have inserted a cover price. I suspect the area was intentionally left blank by request of Pemberton’s. Leaving it blank enabled dealers in other countries to slap on an appropriate sticker-price, not just in England, but in other English colonies that Pemberton’s distributed their books.
The western here is actually not a novel, but a composite of historical fact meshed with Kelley’s fiction. The “stories” concern outlaws of the Wild West.
CHAPTER #: Outlaw(s) (Page numbers)
Chapter 1: Billy the Kid (4-24)
Chapter 2: Cherokee Bill (25-33)
Chapter 3: The Four Bad Men (34-38)
Chapter 4: Charley Bent (39-43)
Chapter 5: Belle Starr (44-51)
Chapter 6: “Bad Bill” Hollis (52-59)
Chapters 7-15: Jesse James (60-129)
I’ve researched the data found within the stories and found the names and those murdered, along with various events, to be historically fairly accurate. However, I’m not certain about the data on two chapters. Those include Chapters 3 and 6.
In regard to the former, there are rather obscure records about four unnamed bad men that created terror. Who were they? Why did they vanish?
Regarding the latter, I can’t find any record of Bill Hollis, but Kelley asserts that his downfall came when challenging outlaw Jesse James. If Hollis is fake, Kelley made a damned interesting fictional story to lead readers into the next series of chapters, representing the final half of the paperback!
And, as a matter of record, Jesse James was also one of Kelley’s specialties. He was so fond of the man’s legacy that he penned a novel entitled Jesse James: His Life and Death (Canada: News Stand Library #92 / Export Publications) in 1950. I’ve not had the opportunity to compare text, but I am interested in knowing if Kelley recycled any from this Monahon book.
4 thoughts on “Outlaws Ride the Range by T. P. Monahon (aka: Thomas P. Kelley)”
I’m not a betting man, but I think there’s a fair chance that Kelley recycled something of Outlaws Ride the Range in Jesse James: His Life and Death… that is if his known self-plagiarisms are anything to go by. My favourite overlap (to use a more polite term) involves Famous Canadian Crimes (Collins White Circle, 1949) and Bad Men of Canada (Arrow, 1950). In my opinion, Thomas P. Kelley stands with Richard Rohmer as Canada’s greatest recycler.
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I did wonder if there was a chance that he might have done so, too. Personally, I think a competent author back then was smart if he could pull it off. Harry Stephen Keeler is infamous for the amount of recycling he pulled off from his pulp stories, and cutting them up to form novels.
There are four other Kelley collections from Canadian publishers – “Canada’s Greatest Crimes” (Harelquin 435), “Famous Canadian Crimes” (Wm. Collins’s White Circle 378), “Bad Men of Canada” (Arrow Publishing 115) and “Wicked Women of Canada” ( Federal Publishing’s Illustrated Big Book 1 as by Carl Bonner). There are 67 stories in the four books, 26 of which are recycled once ot twice. Included in this group is chapter 3 above “Four Bad Men” (Arrow 115 – 10 pages) and a renamed “The Murderin’ McLeans” (White Circle 378 – 4 pages). The “Belle Starr” may be another one – have to check “Wicked Women of Canada”.
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