The Cadillac Cowboys
Random House  Library of Congress # 60-10770

O'Sullivan Woodside & Company paperback.

Click here to read the first short chapter of Glendon Swarthout’s comic romp with The Cadillac Cowboys, a satiric survey of suburban life among the cacti, golf courses and country clubs with the last of the commission cattlemen in upscale Scottsdale, Arizona, Glendon’s hometown for the last thirty years of his writing life. 

The Cadillac CowboysGlendon moved from midwestern American tragedy to southwestern American satire with this next novel, following his loose strategy of alternating dramas with comedies. His new hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona, he felt through his newcomer's sharp eyes, was ripe for some thoughtful ribbing.

In his search for the Old West of romantic legend, Professor H. Carleton Cadell of Connecticut, with rich wife and teenaged step-daughters, arrived at that outpost of civilization -- Scottsdale, Arizona. They bought a house ("pseudo- adobe- mock- tile- roofed- baroque… hacienda -- sort of") on Sarcophagus Mountain. At their first cocktail party they met Wall Streeters, oil magnates, and dowagers; but the prize was Eddie Bud Boyd, last of the cowboys, now a commission cattleman, resplendent in ranchman's costume and 12-gallon hat.  Here was the Old West! On his part, Eddie Bud saw in Cadell his first friend among these rich dudes and his entrée into the Scottsdale social whirl.

So began Eddie Bud's downfall and Cadell's disillusion. The last cowboy had made his pile and now wanted something to show for his money. The realtors sold him a house on Fast Draw Drive -- a $150,000 rococo-Polynesian job. Sponsored by Cadell, Eddie joined Glendon Swarthout the Camino d' Oro Country Club for $5k, and his troubles began when his new young ranch wife Christobel caused $220,000 damage to a neighbor's property in her first drive in her new Cadillac. Other expensive catastrophes also occurred. Even a quiet Sunday ended in disaster when a group of old-time cowboys from up Wickenburg way come to town. At the Camino d' Oro bar, one thing lead to another, and the party wound up as a rodeo in golf carts, causing devastation to greens and fairways.

One funny crisis followed another, until Eddie Bud finally hit the skids with tragic force in spite of H. Carleton's dramatic efforts to save him. But old cowboys never die, and Eddie Bud finally found a Western role to play on a surprising new range.

This southwestern comedy was probably Glendon's most "regional" book, selling fewer copies than any of his other novels, so today a hard cover copy of Cadillac Cowboys is a rare book. So amusing is this farcical tale, though, that it was once optioned for a possible Broadway play by the late actor, Tom Ewell.

Reviews

"An acidly, bitingly funny book. Glendon Swarthout is an astonishing craftsman."  Rex Barley, Times-Mirror Syndicate

"I ain't had as much fun since the hogs et Grandma. The Cadillac Cowboys is a beaut. Glendon Swarthout writes like an unwrung angel."  Humorist H. Allen Smith

"The Old West isn't what it used to be. The New West isn't what it used to be either; it is changing drastically day by day. Glendon Swarthout describes this metamorphosis in a scathing and often funny novel, appropriately called The Cadillac Cowboys."   Harry Bowman, Dallas, Texas News.

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