I Tell Stories

I tell stories.

I tell sad stories, glad stories, best-you-ever-had stories; stories of then and stories of now, stories of when and stories of how. But mostly I tell stories of the American West and of the people who lived out their lives in that great and spacious region during the last half of the Nineteenth Century.

I grew up on such stories. My grandfather was a horse trader and owner of the first livery stable in our town. He told me of hauling freight by wagon to far-flung towns in Wyoming and of gun battles he saw and heard about from men who took part in the Johnson County War.

My dad ran sheep in the tens of thousands on the grazing lands of the Crow Reservation in southeastern Montana, and I spent my early years in the company of ranch hands, sheepherders, and cowboys who of course had stories of their own.

To the boy I was their stories seemed exciting, adventurous, and grand as all outdoors. I heard tales of mountain men, of gold seekers and vigilantes. I lived scant miles from the windswept hill where Custer fell, and I have walked among the ghosts. Cowboys told me of freeze-out winters and cattle drives up the trail from Texas, and spoke of other things I was probably too young to hear. I learned the names of the legends–Jim Bridger and Jedediah Smith, Wild Bill and Calamity Jane, Jesse and Frank, Wyatt and Doc.

I was hooked, and I still am. Even learning as I grew older that heroes have feet of clay and that glory has its dark side have failed to cure me.

I’ve told my stories in two nationally syndicated cartoon strips, RickO’Shay and Latigo, and since 1995 in seven western novels featuring the adventures of U.S. Deputy Marshal Merlin Fanshaw. Novel number eight is in the works, even as we speak.

At this late date I’ve abandoned all hope of recovery from my addiction to the history, lore and legend of the Old West, but I take comfort in the company and friendship of my many fellow sufferers, who love it as much as I do.

I tell stories.

For more stories, check my web site www.StanLynde.net.


About Stan Lynde

I'm Stan Lynde, author ofTo Kill a Copper Kingand six other Merlin Fanshaw western novels. Thanks for stopping by! Back in the days of the early west, when cabin doors were secured from within by heavy bars, absent settlers offered hospitality to the occasional visitor. A leather thong attached to the bar inside the cabin was extended outside through a hole in the door. A pull on the thong lifted the bar inside and allowed the visitor to enter. This practice led to a western phrase of welcome which I extend to you here at my "cyber ranch," the latch string is always out. Come on in; let me show you around!
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27 Responses to I Tell Stories

  1. LoraxX2 says:

    Thanks for all you have done and continue to do by documenting the old west in an artful manner using first comics then novels. You have literally bridged a 100+ year gap. Not only can we see and read authentic western history, we feel like our story teller actually lived the adventure. It’s that good. And the characters that bring us the history…Hipshot, Merlin, Ridgeway…life is better having known your cast and crew and seeing them use good judgement (most times anyway) and rely on solid values such as honesty, trust, friendship and a belief in God and country. You and your attention to detail, creativity and art work are appreciated more than you’ll ever fully know.

  2. Thanks for the blog hope to learn more about you and the old west. My Great Gand father was a Wagon Master making 12 trips across the plains delivering hams and bacon to Brigham Young in Salt Lake city. My Grand Mother would tell me the stories of his trips and how he had to use block and tackle to lift the hoers and wagon up and dow the cliffs on the trail and 12 trips took 12 years to complete the round trips. On His Last trip to Salt Lake he want on to California to settle in Colosa Calif. He said California was the promised land ad lived to be 96 years old. My son has moved to Helena Mt And works at the Historical Society. He told me about your son an that they are friends and now I have found blog . Keep up the good work. Ps I am a pin n ink artist some times also.

    • stanlynde says:

      Great to hear from you! You certainly have some wonderful western history in your family background. More importantly, you appreciate it. My early influences led me to make a career of storytelling, in comics and cartoons, and since 1995 in western novels. Your comments on using the block and tackle reminded me of a calendar back in 1949 (I think), illustrated by Harold Von Schmidt. The calendar had to do with the California gold rush and one illustration showed a wagon being raised up the mountain as you describe.
      Thanks again for your comments.

  3. Tom Foolery says:

    You’ve been more than just a story teller to me through the years. You were also a teacher. The first time I ever saw a La Mat revolver, I thought THAT’S THE GUN “RED” HAD IN THE RICK O’SHAY STORY. That was at least 20 years after the story was printed.

    Thanks for keeping the OLD WEST alive

    • stanlynde says:

      Thanks for the compliment! I think I’ve learned more from my readers than I’ve taught, but it’s great to hear I’ve passed along a few things of interest. Welcome to my blog, and to the “Cartoon” page.

  4. lrector44 says:

    When will you latest Merlin Fanshaw western be published?

    • stanlynde says:

      My current project is to reprint Merlin Falnshaw number three, SAVING MISS JULIE, as an Amazon paperback and Ebook on Kindle. It should be out within the next few months.

  5. Jack Bogut says:


    I am listening to “Vendetta Canyon” and mildly disagree with your blog.

    You do much more than tell stories – you paint personal pictures words. That’s why your tales resonate so well with both reader and listener. Here are some things about storytelling I believe to be true:

    No story can be told without someone willing to hear it

    No story will be willingly received without a mental connection between teller and listener. To simply tell a story without completing a mental circuit is like that tree that falls in an empty forest: It might not be heard even though it fell.

    No mental connection will be made without a common frame of reference.

    The strongest mental connections between us are emotions.

    The strongest emotions are
     joy,
     fear,
     judgment,
     respect,
     and the instinct for survival

    You do all of the above in spades.

    When I listen, I see faces and landscapes I recognize, hear the bleating of sheep, water boiling, dogs barking, and the rustle of canvas. I smell tea, leather, blood, horse hide, and dew on the grass. And I feel good manners, fairness, unfairness, order, disorder, and hope for the best.

    All those things are personal. And you lit the lamp.

    You’re better than ever, my friend.

    Jack Bogut

    P. S. I still believe “Rick O’Shay” was a slightly more complex “Peanuts.”

    • stanlynde says:

      Thanks, Jack. High praise indeed, coming from a master storyteller like you. Congratulations again on your induction into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame!

  6. Shan Lynde says:

    So delightful to read all the comments too your blog. Must say, how true they are and how well you have communicated through your art and the art of expression thru words. Thanks dad.

    • stanlynde says:

      Thank you, Shan. It’s gratifying–and humbling–to receive such positive comments. I’m sure I have the best and most loyal readers in the world!

  7. Stan, As a young girl growing up near the Blackfeet reservation, one of my greatest joy’s was listening to old time stories. I consider the folks who were telling the stories as the “gold” in my life. I heard everything from whiskey runners crossing the Canadian border to how my old uncle lost his finger trying to rope a steer. Those stories came from the Connolly family as well as the Gerard’s. ( Fred Gerard, who I am related to, was in the Battle of the Bighorn and hid in the trees along the river until it was safe to come out. He was an interpreter for Custer. ) My mother (who was a Connolly) was known to ride horseback from one end of the reservation to the other as a very young girl. Her pets included a badger and an eagle. She told us kids endless stories which I loved hearing. Maybe you remember Murray Brown since you grew up in that area? I cooked on his ranch about eight or ten years ago. I loved listening to him tell stories about how they would calve down in the brush for protection from the cold spring winds because they didn’t have many barns or sheds. He told me how his friend Johnny Gentry would plow through the deep winter snows on horseback to get to the homestead on the Wolf Mountains. How I wish I would have written those stories down…You are they type of person who also cherished those old stories and have recorded them in your own way, be it cartoons or story form. I haven’t read your books, but will…I only found out that you were writing them, even though I read many of your cartoons. I still have you’re “Centennial Cattle Drive” calender which rode right by my house on Hwy. 87 back then. I look forward to reading your stories, I know that I will enjoy them immensely!!! Barbara

    • stanlynde says:

      You certainly have a rich and historic background, Barbara. Years ago, broadcaster Chet Huntley (who was from Montana, as I”m sure you know) wrote a memoir entitled “The Generous Years.” I’ve always thought that way of my own growing up years on the Crow Reservation. The little town of Lodge Grass became the model for the town in Rick O’Shay–Conniption–and also for the fictional town of Dry Creek in my Merlin Fanshaw novels. I think you’ll agree that our backgrounds not only gave us a strong identity with people and places in tthe West, it also gave us values to live by–and hopefully, to pass on. Thanks for commenting, and welcome to the blog!

  8. John Putnam says:

    Oh, and such a tale you tell in your blog.
    It will tempt many to read more than a word or two.
    I’ll keep in touch,
    I’d like to hear more from you.

    • stanlynde says:

      Thanks for your comments, John. I’m an admirer of your blog and a fellow member of WWA. I particularly admire your use of graphics to illustrate your blog!

  9. Del says:

    I remember learning from your comic strip that there were dailies in 1962 when I was twelve. Up until then I only got to see your comic strip on Sundays which were episodic, usually comical. I would see them after accompanying my grandmother to the First Baptist Church on Sundays and returning to read them. I was fascinated with the story lines of your daily strips and would read them at school religiously since we didn’t have a home delivered newspaper. My Dad acquired several bobcat kittens from his dog hunting of coyotes. We called one of them Hipshot, Fastest Claw in The West. I had a friend of mine who would come over to play chess with me and that large cat would hop up onto his lap, purring like a Harley Davidson and “neading bread” on his lap. This served to distract him greatly while trying to concentrate on playing a serious game of chess. When he asked where the name came from, he snorted, that the cat ought to be renamed Crotch Shot! Loved your work and was very disappointed after I moved to Houston to see the strip cancelled. .

    • stanlynde says:

      Thanks for sharing your Rick O’Shay memories, Del. Since about 1995 I’ve been writing western fiction, the Merlin Fanshaw Western series in particular. You’ll find some of the same approaches to life and living, and the same humor you found in the comics. Fastest Claw in the West and Belle Starr (Hipshot’s cat in the trip) would have made quite a pair!

      • Del says:

        I remember vividly when Hipshot got shot by a guy using a hide out gun. I also remember Hipshot telling somebody menacing him with a derringer that he would be very angry if he ever found out the guy had shot him with it. I remember another one where he was getting blind drunk at New Years eve and Rick asked him if he was drinking to forget all the bad memories. Hipshot replied, nah, he was drinking to forget how bad he was going to feel the next morning.

        I grew up in the southern tip of Texas on a subsistence farm. I raised cows and rode some ponies and grew up getting acquainted with some really crusty old cowboys and Texas Rangers. People I work with at NASA are just nonplussed at some of the things I rip off sometimes. The early guys here were largely off the farm and were real hosses. Check this out. Luther was one tough, tough son of a bitch. My Dad passed away in May and he had an encyclopedic memory of so much of those kind of folks when he grew up there from 1925 on when the Rio Grande Valley was a real frontier. http://www.raymondvillechroniclenews.com/news/2009-02-11/farm_ranch/018.html

  10. Bryon Steinwand says:

    I love the stories.

  11. Del says:

    Any possibility of you reprising your comic strips? Are they available in a bound book form. I was really marveling at my vivid recall of your comics. There were a few others, but not nearly as many as yours. That was fifty years ago, so I guess Uncle Al-zheimers isn’t knocking on my door yet! God, it is hot and dryer than a popcorn f@rt here in Texas now.

  12. Hi, Stan,
    Glad I found your blog! It’s a good one, like all your other work!


  13. K.C. Peterson says:

    Stan-I grew up in the SF Bay area reading Rick O’Shay in the SF Chronicle, which I faithfully delivered for five years (no paper boys on bikes anymore…all done out of cars!)…GREAT memories, I always liked the puns, the wit, the values, and the wisdom of the main characters. So with the wonder of the Internet, I started doing a little exploring to see if there were collections of the strip. Of course there is, and they are a now a joy to my kids, nephews and nieces. Uncle K.C. has the BEST collection of comics–a known fact in my family, and ONLY quality comics are included. Was happy to find your Merlin Fanshaw novels (own them all now) and a highlight was finding your mother’s memoirs Daylight In the Canyon…a good story of real life old Montana. Enjoy looking up the sites mentioned in the book. I bought the copy I have from a used book dealer through Amazon and somebody had made little comments in the margins indicating they knew some of the same people your family did!
    Plan on retiring in a few years to Montana, and looking forward to delving into state history. Right now my passion is 1906 SF Earthquake and Gold Rush history (have an extensive library), but wish to learn more of Big Sky country. You have whetted my appetite, pardner, for more…for which I am grateful…
    Blessings to you and yours,
    K.C. Peterson

    • stanlynde says:

      Welcome, K.C.! You certainly have collected my work over the years–even Daylight In The Canyon! Also, delighted to hear you’re returning to The Last Best Place. It seems to be a truism that Montanans always come back when they can! Best Regards!

  14. Robert L. McBroom says:

    Saw your picture on Carol’s wall on facebook. Recognized the name immediately. My Grandfather, Robert Clay was a cowboy and rancher who started by breaking and selling horses to the U.S. Cavelry (dyslexic can’t spell) and went on to being a rancher in Montana and Alberta. I delivered the Daily Missoulian in Polson. For the Old Cowboys, I was RC’s Grandson and I picked up many of their memories of the Old West. Some of the Old Timers claimed that my Grandfather knew Charlie Russell when he was still working as a cowboy. I know you through your comic strips and hope to read some of your books….Robert L. McBroom (Gopher)

  15. Ulf Granberg says:

    Hello Stan,

    Well – here I am back at the office after Holidays in our cottage up in the Swedish mountains. I’ll be interested in following your blog and i would certainly like to check your cartoons regularly, so please send me the password.

    Ciao from you old friend in Sweden


    • stanlynde says:

      Great to hear from you, Ulf! We no longer require a password to access the cartoons. Just go to the blog’s home page and click on “cartoons” to go to the Grass Roots panels. Or type in http://www.oldmontana.com
      Hope you’ll sign up–and pass the word to all my Swedish fans!

      With every good wish!

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