January 26, 2016—Altus Press announces the release of two more collections in our Halfaday Creek Library. Written by James B. Hendryx, these stories of outlaws on the Alaska-Yukon border were among the longest-running and most popular series in the pulps. These collections, Strange Doings on Halfaday Creek (1943) and Murder on Halfaday Creek (1951) are sourced form the original texts from Short Stories magazine, and include the original illustrations.
In the notorious colony of outlaws on Halfaday Creek, every newcomer draws his name out of a tin can, and old Cush at the saloon keeps more money in his safe than most banks ever see. Tough, cagey Black John Smith maintains law and order in the district, and in dispensing justice he never forgets the value of money.
In this high-spirited, action-loaded series of stories about the Yukon-Alaska border country, he manages to rake in a profit with every adventure. He foils a plot dreamed up by as mean a gang of crooks as ever stacked a deck, exchanging twenty-five thousand dollars in fake bills for good ones; he runs a pair of swindlers out of town, after persuading them to leave their cash behind, in his name; and he doubles the twenty thousand he paid for some sacks of fool’s gold, and hangs a murderer in the bargain.
Murder on Halfaday Creek by James B. Hendryx contains the following stories:
- “Black John Turns a Trick”
- “Black John Wins a Bet”
- “Skin Game”
- “Miner’s Meetin’”
- “Permanent Resident on Halfaday”
- “Willie Shows Up on Halfaday”
Cushing’s Fort on Halfaday Creek is conveniently located in Canadian territory close to the border of United States territory, so that men in ill repute with the Mounted Police can elude them easily. There are “outlaws” of Halfaday Creek live, a band of doughty prospectors ruled by their self-appointed czar, Black John Smith, one of many John Smiths that inhabit that notorious lair.
Law and order, however, are nowhere so well maintained as on Halfaday Creek, and Black John dispenses justice with the wisdom of a Solomon and a heart as big as the biggest nugget ever found in the gold rush days. Murder is one of the minor hangable offenses there; skullduggery, connivin’ and conspirin’ are punished by the rope, after a miners’ meeting passes an irrevocable sentence. Confidence men, city slickers, anyone who would take advantage of another man, woman or child, are dealt with sharply, and with a geniality that disarms evildoers unfamiliar with Black John’s swift, efficient legal procedure.
In this warmhearted and humorous chronicle of strange doings on Halfaday, Corporal Downey of the Mounted and Black John and Old Cush punish some murderers, claim robbers and scoundrels who have made the mistake of assuming that the “outlaws” are not men of honor. Black John needs no introduction to his many admirers; he is one of out most honest and lovable rogues.
Strange Doings on Halfaday Creek by James B. Hendryx contains the following stories:
- “All the Evidence”
- “Bear Paws”
- “Black John Assists at a Wedding”
- “Black John Files a Claim”
- “Father John”
- “Mail Order to Halfaday”