Thursday, May 14, 2015

STAMPEDE by Lev Levison


I’m pleased to see that Piccadilly is e-publishing STAMPEDE this month.  This was my favorite western out of the 26 westerns I’ve written so far, originally by my pseudonym Josh Edwards, published by Charter Diamond in 1992.  It is number 7 in my SEARCHER series currently being resurrected by Piccadilly.

STAMPEDE is about a cattle drive from Texas to Kansas, fighting outlaws, injuns and a tornado along the way, not to mention conflict among cowboys on the drive, some of whom are outlaws themselves, and the complication of a woman named Cassandra, supposedly in charge.  It’s her herd and she’ll be ruined if the herd doesn’t make it to the railhead.  Unfortunately she knows very little about cattle drives, and constantly is being pranked by cowboys whom she fears, although they all love her including Truscott the hardbitten ramrod.

Riding the drag is a former Confederate cavalry officer named John Stone, now impoverished and searching the Wild West for a woman to whom he was engaged before the Civil War, a woman who somewhat resembles Cassandra.  And then there’s the small matter of peyote to which the cowboys and Cassandra are introduced by some friendly Osage Indians.

It was a wild ride and I really enjoyed writing it.  Sometimes it felt like I was on the cattle drive.  I extensively researched cattle drives, so every detail was authentic.

Some years later I was contacted by a collector of westerns named Acklin Hoofman from Michigan, who had collected and read a huge number of westerns.  He asked me to autograph some of mine, which I did.  In a phone conversation, he said that a western like STAMPEDE didn’t come along every day, which I considered a tremendous compliment from a man who'd read tons of westerns.

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