The Hash Knife Outfit (Jim Traft II) (1933)

01 Jun
Colliers, September 21, 1929

Colliers, September 21, 1929

Collier’s Sep 21 1929 (+11), as “The Yellowjacket Feud”
Harper & Brothers, New York 1933
Zane Grey’s Western Magazine May 1948
Zane Grey’s Western Magazine (Australia) Mar 1950, Apr 1957, Apr 1961 (Galactic Central)

The Hash Knife Outfit is the sequel to The Drift Fence and its story unfolds about 7 years after the Pleasant Valley War.

Credit: $1LENCE D00600D, 2012

Credit: $1LENCE D00600D, 2012

In real life The Hashknife outfit worked for Aztec Land and Cattle Co. But ALCC were owners who knew diddly about cattle. It turned out they had bought every other section of land with the other half being made available for settlers. What the Hashknife outfit did was turn their cattle loose and let them graze where ever they wanted (32000 heads of cattle). Trouble was inevitable and the Hashknife outfit’s (eventually found its way to the Babbits) reputation for dastardly deeds was a given. (Duggan, R., 2012)

A conflict needs two parties and that is why we have the Diamond Outfit (or – probably the Diamond “A” Cattle Co) for the role as the so-called good guys. These guys were also huge and prone to both losing and gaining cattle unexpectedly. (Rancher’s net) Burton C. Mossman (ranger) was first a member of the Hashknife outfit, then a ranger and later on an owner of the Diamond A. (AZ Rangers)

Enter Zane Grey and his love of a good background and storytelling ability. His fictional telling of the Hash-Knife Outfit (who were never criminals in the eyes of the law) vs. the Diamond Outfit probably has some elements of truth, but just what those might be we will never know.

Cowboys herding cattle. PhotoId : 2005.0015.039

Cowboys herding cattle. PhotoId : 2005.0015.039

“Awful funny,” agreed Locke, in a dry tone, which acquainted the listening Jim with the fact that the circumstance was most decidedly not funny. “Anyway, it started me off. An’ the upshot of my nosin’ around was to find out that the Hash-Knife crowd are at Yellow Jacket an’ all of a sudden on common interested in you an’ young Jim, an’ the Diamond, an’ Slinger Dunn.”

“Ahuh. Wal, they’ll be a heap more so by spring,” replied Traft. “Funny about Bambridge.”

“The Hash-Knife have friends in Flag, you bet, an’ more’n we’d ever guess. Shore, nobody knows our business, onless the cowboys have talked. I’m afraid Bud an’ Curly have bragged. They do when they get to town an’ guzzle a bit. Madden did darn little drinkin’ an’ none ‘cept when he was treated. Another funny thing. He bought all the forty-five calibre shells Babbitt’s had in stock. An’ a heap of the same kind, along with some forty-fours for rifles, at Davis’s. He bought hardware, too. Some new guns. An’ enough grub to feed an outfit for a year.”

Things have happened on the love-front and the situation at the end of The Drift Fence is no longer the case in The Hash-Knife Outfit. Not to worry though. There will be plenty of “lover’s qualms” and damsel-in-distress situations along with all of the action that the above promises.

The Hashknife Outfit on Gutenberg

Review: Charles Wheeler


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Posted by on 2014-06-01 in Books


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