The Peaceful Pilgrim. Featuring Breckinridge Elkins. Howard did an extensive rewrite of this story and it appeared in the August 1935 Action Stories under the title “Cupid from Bear Creek“. Later it was altered slightly to become Chapter 9 of the novel, A Gent From Bear Creek.
John Byrne from Fiction House wrote and returned the story to Miss Viola Irene Cooper (Miss Cooper was one of Otis A. Kline’s New York literary representatives; Kline then was located in Chicago) regarding “The Peaceful Pilgrim” on March 1, 1935.
Here’s the letter:
Dear Miss Cooper:
I didn’t think that Breckenridge Elkins was up to snuff in “The Peaceful Pilgrim». It seemed to me that the plot was rather lightweight, and I didn’t like the arsenic – I thought it too slap-stick.
I think, however, that Howard can take the same set-up and build a better yarn around it, saving a great deal of the present action. I am jotting down off-hand a few ideas which I have in this connection. Howard may get some suggestions from them.
Suppose Blink Wiltshaw and Breckenridge have been courting the same girl. When Breckenridge meets him, Wiltshaw says that he wants to get the gold out because he is going to be married in Wahpeton within a few days and is moreover going to bring out the girl’s grandpa, or uncle, or something – a minister to perform the ceremony. Breckenridge takes over the assignment of getting the gold out and bringing along the minister from Hell-Wind Pass. The minister he does bring, of course, is the notorious bandit and the girl who is to be married is of course the one he has been courting. The fact that Wiltshaw has mentioned Wahpeton has led Breckenridge to believe that the girl is from that town and that by aiding the marriage he is going to eliminate a contender for the hand of his beloved.
I think B. Elkins shines best in this type of story and I hope that Howard can revise it somewhat along these lines without too much difficulty.
John F. Byrne
- THE SUMMIT COUNTY JOURNAL, February 16, 23; March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 1968 (7-part serial)
- MAYHEM ON BEAR CREEK, Grant, 1979
- HEROES OF BEAR CREEK, Ace, November 1983
- THE FACE OF A TORNADO, North-West, 1998 (Russian)
- RIOT AT BUCKSNORT AND OTHER WESTERN TALES, Bison Books, April 2005
- THE ADVENTURES OF BRECKINRIDGE ELKINS VOLUME 2, REH Foundation Press, March 2017
- ROBERT E. HOWARD FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER V15N2, Robert E. Howard Foundation, Summer 2021