Elmer Kelton
Elmer Kelton (1926-2009) was an American author of western fiction in addition to being a journalist. He was voted as the greatest western writer of all-time by the Western Writers of America. Elmer wrote the Texas Tradition and Texas Rangers series. Elmer’s novels were set in Texas – the state he called home. He received his Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and then served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Elmer was an eight-time winner of the Spur Award as well as a three-time winner of the Western Heritage Award. In the midst of writing a novel, Kelton passed away of natural causes in 2009.

Elmer Kelton became a published author in 1955 with the novel Hot Iron. His final novel was Texas Standoff (from the Texas Rangers series), which was published in 2010. Below is a list of Elmer Kelton’s books in order of when they were originally released (as well as in chronological order when necessary):

Publication Order of Tales of Texas Books

Captain's Rangers (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Joe Pepper (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Long Way to Texas (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon.com

Publication Order of Texas Tradition Books

The Day the Cowboys Quit (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Wagontongue (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Manhunters (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Wolf and the Buffalo (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Stand Proud (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Dark Thicket (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Man Who Rode Midnight (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Honor at Daybreak (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon.com

Publication Order of Sons of Texas Books

Publication Order of Hewey Calloway Books

The Good Old Boys (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Smiling Country (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Six Bits a Day (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Unlikely Lawman (By: Steve Kelton) (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon.com

Publication Order of Texas Rangers Books

The Buckskin Line (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Badger Boy (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Way of the Coyote (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Ranger's Trail (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Other Men's Horses (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Lone Star Rising (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Texas Vendetta (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Jericho's Road (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Hard Trail To Follow (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Texas Standoff (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon.com

Publication Order of Buckalew Family Books

Massacre at Goliad (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
After the Bugles (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon.com

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Hot Iron (1956)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Buffalo Wagons (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Bitter Trail (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Texas Rifles (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Donovan (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Pecos Crossing (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Horsehead Crossing (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Savage Guns (With: Brian Garfield,Alex Hawk) (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Shotgun Settlement (With: Brian Garfield,Alex Hawk) (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Bowie's Mine (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Time It Never Rained (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Barbed Wire (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Eyes of the Hawk (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Llano River (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Shadow of a Star (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Hanging Judge (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Slaughter (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Best Christmas (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Indian in Frontier News (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Far Canyon (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Pumpkin Rollers (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Cloudy in the West (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Christmas at the Ranch (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Shotgun (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Many a River (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon.com

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

There's Always Another Chance, and Other Stories (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Big Brand (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Legend (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
ReadWest (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Wild West (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Hard Ride (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Cowboy Way (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Law of the Land (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon.com

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Looking Back West: Selections form the Pioneer News-Observer (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Permian: A Continuing Saga (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Elmer Kelton: 30 Years of Western Fiction (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Living and Writing in West Texas: Two Speeches (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Art of Howard Terpning (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Art of Frank C. McCarthy (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Art of James Bama (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Elmer Kelton Country: The Short Nonfiction of a Texas Novelist (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
My Kind of Heroes: Selected Speeches (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Texas (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Texas Cattle Barons: Their Families, Land and Legacy (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Prairie Gothic (By: John R. Erickson) (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Sandhills Boy: The Winding Trail of a Texas Writer (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Tom Lovell: Storyteller with a Brush (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon.com

Publication Order of Anthologies

Horsing Around: Contemporary Cowboy Humor(1991)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
New Trails: Twenty-Three Original Stories(1994)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Best of the American West II(1999)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
A Century of Great Western Stories(2001)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Lone Star Law(2005)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Noah’s Ride(2006)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Lost Trails(2007)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
The Way of the West(2008)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Law of the Gun(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon.com
Ghost Towns(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon.com

Notes: Joe Pepper, Long Way to Texas and Eyes of the Hawk were written as Lee McElroy. Shotgun Settlement was written under the pen name of Alex Hawk. The Funeral of Tanner Moody was written with John Jakes and Robert J. Randisi. Noah’s Ride is a collaborative novel that also contains contributions by Phyllis Allen, Judy Alter, Mike Blackman, Mike Cochran, Jeff Guinn, Mary Dittoe Kelly, James Ward Lee, James Reasoner and Mary Rogers. Legend is co-authored with Judy Alter, Jane Candia Coleman, Loren D. Estleman, Ed Gorman, Robert J. Randisi and James Reasoner. Lost Trails also contains contributions by Loren D. Estleman, William W. Johnstone and Louis L’Amour. The Sons of Texas series was written as Tom Early (with James Reasoner).

If You Like Elmer Kelton Books, You’ll Love…

Elmer Kelton Synopses: The Good Old Boys is the first novel in the Texas Tradition series in chronological order and the fourth novel to be published in the series. The novel follows Hewey Calloway in West Texas in the year 1906. Hewey only wants to be a cowboy, while he watches the Old West he knew and loved become modernized. He comes to realize that every choice he makes requires a sacrifice. The novel was adapted into a TNT made-for-TV movie starring Tommy Lee Jones.

Shotgun was the final standalone novel that Elmer Kelton completed. Blair Bishop makes his living as a rancher in Two Forks, Texas. He is a man who with enemies – the recently released from prison Macy Modock and a rival cowman named Clarence Cass. To make things worse, Cass’ daughter, Jessie, and Bishop’s son, Allan, are in love. Can Macy Modock and Clarence Cass form an alliance in order to ruin Blair Bishop’s life?

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