“The Extermination of Yellow Donory,” penned in the early spring of 1929, exists in two distinct drafts. The initial draft was titled “The Killing of Yellow Donory.” While both drafts narrate a similar story, the later version, which is the focus of this edition, is a carbon copy that incorporates additional details compared to the earlier draft. This later version enriches the narrative with more nuanced elements, providing a fuller picture of the story.

First published in Zane Grey Western Magazine, June 1970.

The story

“The Extermination of Yellow Donory” is a tale of Joey Donory, a man tormented by his own perceived cowardice. Living in a rugged environment, Joey feels overshadowed by larger, more imposing figures, leading to a life riddled with self-loathing and humiliation. In a desperate bid to escape his misery, Joey plans to commit suicide but instead finds himself in a saloon, confronting the notorious gunman Demon Darts. Through an unexpected turn of events, Joey, fueled by alcohol and desperation, challenges and inadvertently intimidates Darts, leading to a complete reversal of his reputation. Joey, once seen as a coward, is now respected as a fearsome gunfighter, gaining both a job and newfound respect from those around him. This transformation marks the ‘extermination’ of his old self, Yellow Donory, and the emergence of a new, respected identity.


  • Joey Donory/Yellow Donory/Mister Donory: The protagonist, struggling with his self-image as a coward and seeking to change his fate.
  • Demon Darts: A notorious gunman, known for his intimidating presence and feared reputation.
  • Bull Groker: A character who interacts with Joey, contributing to the development of the story’s themes and Joey’s transformation.
  • Townspeople and Saloon Patrons: They collectively represent the societal views and pressures that shape Joey’s perception of himself and his ultimate transformation.

Alternative title:


Published in:

Listen to the story: