“Gunman’s Tally” by L. Ron Hubbard 


“Gunman’s Tally”
by L. Ron Hubbard
Multi-cast performance
Produced by Galaxy Audio
Approx: 2 hours

Once again it’s time visit the thrilling days of yesteryear and listen to another great Western story from the master storyteller from the golden age of stories, L. Ron Hubbard. During the mid-20th Century the pulp magazines were a great source of some great stories. These magazines ran the gamut of genres for many writers. Hubbard was a prolific contributor to the pulps, and like the magazines he covered all genres. My absolute favorite genre from Hubbard is the Science-Fiction group of stories. However thanks to these superb audio productions of Hubbard’s short stories I’m really liking these westerns.

The reason the westerns are growing on me is not a secret to anyone who has ever listened to the stories published by Galaxy Audio. Since 2008 Galaxy Audio and Galaxy Press have been republishing the stories from the writings of L. Ron Hubbard that originally appeared in the various issues of those old pulps. With the paperback versions they have the look and feel of the old pulp magazines, even with a thicker stock of paper to simulate the pulpy pages that gave the magazines their nickname. Even better are the audiobooks produced. These audio productions are all full cast performances with the actors bringing to life the over the top and heroes and villains created by Hubbard. On top of the great voicework there are also sound effects that help push the story along and plunge the listener into Hubbard’s Old West. The westerns are even more effective in that all of the effects surround the listener with the sounds of horses, guns and dusty trails. So realistic are the sounds that at the end of each story you may have to dust yourself off.

This latest audiobook includes two short stories which were originally published in the late 1930s.

The first story is the title story, “Gunman’s Tally.” This story was originally published in the November 1937 issue of “All Western” magazine. It is the perfect western story that tells of a normally peace-loving landowner willing to do whatever it takes to protect is land and defend his family name. When “Easy” Bill Gates, finds out that the outlaw, Fanner Marsten has killed his brother, Bill sets off to seek revenge. After killing the number one gunslinger in the area, Bill now has a reputation of being the fastest and the best. George Barton, owner of a nearby Ranch wants Bill’s land and hires another gunslinger to take Bill out. Bill manages to kill this guy and soon the fastest guns pretty much get in line to take Bill out. Will Bill’s luck hold out?

This story had me interested not only because of the great action and suspense but also because of the use of two names in the story. First the obvious, Bill Gates. While this was originally written in the 1930s, Hubbard couldn’t have known of the future computer guru with the same name, but it was a nice representation of the little guy (Microsoft) having what the big guy (IBM) wanted. I guess if we were to continue the story of Easy Bill Gates, we’d see him overpower his competitors and become the monopoly in the area.

The other name that intrigued me was Fanner Marsten. Hubbard would later use that name in the 1943 story “The Great Secret” seeks the secret that should make him the ruler of the universe. Throughout this story, whenever Marsten’s name was mentioned I would picture an astronaut walking through a desert planet dying of thirst. (Read or listen to that great sci-fi story from Hubbard for more information.

The second story is “Ruin at Rio Piedras” and was originally published in the December 1938 issue of “Western Story.” This is the story of Tumbleweed Lowrie and his exile from a ranch. He was “exiled” because he was in love with the ranchowner’s daughter. Tumbleweed manages to capture rustlers that are stealing the cattle from the ranch and win the trust of the owner. The fun part of this story is all in the “how he does it.”

Once again another great release from Galaxy Audio.