The story titled ‘Riders of the Sunset’ was never published and we do not know for certain that it is a rewrite of ‘Drums of the Sunset‘ or an entirely new story. 

According to REH scholar, Patrice Louinet Howard was in the process of recycling ideas and rewriting yarns in mid-1931. It’s not unlikely that ‘Drums’ was rewritten as ‘Riders’. The story certainly circled around, getting rejected. The typescript was eventually sent by Howard’s father to Otis Kline after Howard’s death. It’s listed as ‘Riders of the Sunset’, running 34 pages.

Drums of Sunset was published in nine parts in the Cross Plains Review. The Cross Plains Review has been the newspaper for Cross Plains, Texas since 1909. 

Howard tried to sell the story to Fiction House, but was rejected by John F. Byrne. In a letter from Byrne to Howard on April 10th, 1931 we learn:

My dear Howard:
There is good color and action in “Riders of the Sunsets,” but it didn’t hit us very hard as a story.

In the first place, we don’t like Indians in our yarns. A second objection is that the plot idea has sufficient freshness to pull it out of the rut.

You can make a slight plot sing in your Steve Costigan’s yarns because you have built up such good interest in Steve, and because he is such a unique character. But a story like this lacking Steve’s dominant personality to carry it through needs more red-blooded plot meat.

It was sent to Argosy on April 16th, 1931 (after been rejected by both Adventure and Fiction House). It was later rejected by Argosy and sent to Street & Smith but was never published anywhere.

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