Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Tabor Evans' Longarm and the Loggers

Longarm and the Loggers by Tabor Evans (published in 1979) belongs to a pulp fiction genre the existence of which I had never even suspected until recently - the adult western. What exactly adult western means I have no idea but I’m about to find out.

Tabor Evans was a pseudonym used by Lou Cameron (1924-2010) who wrote adult westerns under other names as well, including his own.

Longarm and the Loggers is the sixth of the Longarm series. Another 430 (!) titles would follow. I don’t know how many of these were in fact written by Cameron.

Longarm is Deputy U.S. Marshal Custis Long. Folks call him Longarm. He’s been sent to Nevada to track down an army deserter. He arrives in Silver City and pretty soon he’s got the town figured out. It’s a company town. The logging company runs the town. There’s a sheriff but no deputies and the law is enforced by the company guards. The logging company is the law in this town.

At the moment there’s some excitement in town. A new shipment of whores has arrived. Somewhat to his surprise Longarm gets a free sample of the merchandise, and finds the quality to be most satisfactory. There’s more excitement later, with the loggers fixing to Lynch four of the local Paiute Indians. Longarm puts a stop to that but he makes enemies by doing so. Longarm isn’t setting out to make enemies but in this place it just seems to keep happening. Things are pretty tense in the small logging township of Whipsaw as well.

The tension stems from irreconcilable differences between the loggers and the cattlemen. The logging is destroying the country, turning lush fertile land into a waterless desert. The cattlemen have resorted to extreme measures, such as shooting up logging camps. Longarm is caught in the middle. He sympathise with the ranchers but the law is on the side of the loggers, and he has to enforce the law.

It would be a bad idea for Longarm to start getting personally involved but that’s exactly what happens. After being forced to shoot young cattleman Wally Troy (in self-defence) he takes the wounded boy back to the Flying T Ranch. That’s where he meets Terry Troy. Terry Troy is a spirited young woman and she owns the ranch. It’s a lonely life for a woman, especially for a woman with strong physical needs. She uses her foreman Russ Blodgett to satisfy her physical cravings but sleeping with an employee makes discipline difficult. Once Terry sets eyes on Longarm she realises that he can satisfy her physical cravings much more effectively and pretty soon Longarm and Terry are getting to know each other real well.

And Longarm will find himself meeting other interesting women as well, such as a glamorous young lady anthropologist.

So there’s a reasonably complex plot with lots of emotional complications. This is a western that is not just about gunfights and six-guns. There are gunfights certainly, quite a few of them, enough to satisfy those who like action scenes. There’s lots of bedroom action as well (although Longarm and Terry seem to prefer having sex in the great outdoors).

The problem with historical fiction (and westerns are after all a form of historical fiction) is that it’s immensely difficult to avoid anachronisms, especially anachronistic social attitudes. That’s a bit of a problem here. Longarm does at times seem like a very 1970s hero. He’s very very sympathetic to the Indians, to an extent that might perhaps be a bit unrealistic for the period. The female characters are a bit too sexually liberated. OK, there was plenty of sex in the Old West. There were as many prostitutes as there were cowboys. But in this tale respectable women seem just a bit unrealistically enthusiastic about jumping into bed with any man who catches their eye. It’s not a fatal flaw in the book but at times it stretches credibility a bit.

There are definite political themes in the book. The Federal Government is portrayed as being totally corrupt (which of course is perfectly accurate for this time period). There’s a bit of a 1970s environmentalist slant.

The political stuff is a bit overdone, and it’s all 1970s politics. All the political and social attitudes of all the characters are straight out of the 70s.

And the characters are 1970s characters, suddenly dropped into the 1880s. So the book just doesn’t quite ring true. People in the 19th century were not necessarily as sexually repressed as the popular legend of the 19th century would suggest, but they certainly didn’t

As for the book’s claims to be an adult western - there’s plenty of sex and it’s fairly explicit. Which is rather refreshing for a western.

Longarm and the Loggers is well-written and entertaining. It just would have worked better in a 1970s setting. It’s still worth a look if you want to find out what the adult western genre is all about.


  1. Every used bookstore I ever go to, in the Western section, there are mounds of 'Longarm' paperbacks. So if you want to pursue further entries in the Longarm franchise, be assured, they await you in bulk.........

  2. I just came across this blog and can see I'm going to have to go back to the first and read the archives. Good stuff! I can give you some information on the Longarm series. This particular entry was written by Will C. Knott. Lou Cameron created the series and wrote many of them. Starting out the regular rotation of authors was Lou Cameron, Mel Marshall, and Will C. Knott, with each man writing every third book. This only holds true for about the first three dozen, though. After that the rotation becomes much more haphazard, so you might get two in a row by the same author. Harry Whittington joined the stable with #28 but wrote only six books. His last one was #48, after which he told the editor (according to Bill Crider), "From where the sun now stands, I will write no more Longarm forever." Frank Roderus replaced Whittington in the group, and later a bunch of other authors contributed Longarm novels, including myself. My first one was LONGARM AND THE GOLDEN DEATH

    1. Thanks for that information. With these long-running series it's always a bit bewildering figuring out exactly who wrote particular books.

  3. Posted that too quickly. As I was saying, my first Longarm was #178, I believe. I went on to write 47 total, 42 regular editions and 5 Longarm Giants. I really enjoyed writing for the series. I hope you'll read more of them. There are some stinkers, of course, but overall it's a consistently good series.