“The Last Ride,” co-authored by Chandler Whipple (also known as Robert Enders Allen), was submitted to the Kline Agency on September 24, 1934, in a titled carbon prepared by Howard. Jessica Miller from Kline’s team began marketing it the following day. The story’s exact authorial contributions remain unknown. However, it was eventually sold to A. A. Wyn for $175 on July 20, 1935, with Howard receiving half that amount after a 10% agency commission. Whipple’s 1965 letter to Glenn Lord reveals that Otis Kline had suggested Howard could help turn the story into a saleable piece.

In a letter from July 20, 1965, to Glenn Lord from Whipple we learn this:

“One day Otis Kline stopped in to see me at Popular Publications, where I was then working as an editor, and asked if he couldn’t try to sell something of mine that I had failed to market. I gave him “The Last Ride.” He told me he thought he could get Bob Howard to turn it into a saleable piece, and I told him to go ahead.”

The Last Stride

The story

“The Last Ride” is a Western tale centered around Buck Laramie, the youngest of the Laramie brothers, who are known outlaws. The story depicts Buck’s internal conflict between his loyalty to his family and his moral compass, which is against their criminal lifestyle. After a bank robbery, Buck leaves his brothers, seeking a new life. Years later, he returns to San Leon, the scene of their last crime, to find redemption and repay the townspeople. However, his return leads to a series of misadventures and misunderstandings, reflecting Buck’s struggle to escape his past.

The characters

  • Buck (Bucky) Laramie: The youngest Laramie brother, who despises his family’s criminal activities and seeks redemption.
  • Big Jim Laramie: The eldest brother, leader of the Laramie gang.
  • Luke, Tom, and Hank Laramie: The other Laramie brothers, part of the outlaw gang.
  • Sheriff “Pop” Anders: The sheriff of San Leon, tragically killed in a confrontation with the Laramies.
  • Bob Anders: The new sheriff and son of “Pop” Anders, who becomes involved in the conflict with Buck.
  • Judy Anders: The sheriff’s daughter, who holds a personal connection to Buck.
  • Mart Rawley: A character later in the story, who owns the Red Lode and is revealed to have a significant role in the plot against Buck.
  • Ely Harrison: President of the Cattlemen’s Bank, playing a significant role in the town’s financial affairs.
  • Joel Waters: A long-time friend of Laramie’s father and owner of the Boxed W Ranch, who assists Buck in his endeavors.
  • Hop Sing: The cook at Joel Waters’ ranch, known to and trusted by Laramie.

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