The Old Colts

Donald I. Fine Books.  ISBN  0-917657-18-7

Trade paperback by same publisher  ISBN 0-917657-70-5

Click here to read the first few pages of Glendon Swarthout’s
The Old Colts, purported to be the gospel about the last misadventures of frontier legend Bat Masterson, and his long-time pal, the equally legendary Wyatt Earp

The Old ColtsWhen Glendon Swarthout's barber introduces him to  a retired journalist in the local OK Tonsorial Corral, the one, the only Walter Winchell, he is stunned to learn that the old-timer is in possession   of a remarkable document: the true story of Bat Masterson's final years, written in the legendary shootist's own hand. Passed on from Damon Runyon in 1945, the four holograph pages, if genuine, are pure dynamite. For here we learn how Masterson meets up with the one, the only Wyatt Earp in New York City and these two aging gunslingers, a couple of old Colts, turn their backs on their reputations and start raising hell in the late afternoon of their lives.

Wine, women, song and -- if you can believe it -- a life of crime by two of the most respected heroes of the Wild West. Truth or fiction, the author leaves the reader to decide in this masterfully handled comic Western.

Optioned 3 times for films or TV-Movies. Film rights have now reverted to the Swarthout estate. Screenplay available from Hoodwinks Productions (310-578-5404).


Cadbury's Coffin

"Swarthout easily weaves the facts about Earp's and Masterson's actual careers into his fiction, and his engaging yarn spins along at the brisk pace of a well-tuned Model T. The slang reads right, the laughs are real, and the pay-off is deserved. The Old Colts is a knee-slapper, a jaw-dropper and a comic delight."  Los Angeles Times

"Go beyond any question of authenticity and there remains a barn-burner story written by a fast and exciting scribbler . . . You won't want to miss it. You'll ride through this wooly tale with no saddle sores, it's fast-paced and smooth. Anyone who can smell the dusty trails and doesn't mind imbibing a little hair-of-the-dog will be sorry when there's no more of it to read."  Wayne M. Anderson, Fort Worth Star Telegram

"It's fast and funny. One admires not only Swarthout's ability to handle the language of the period, but also his inventiveness with scene and incident . . . it's a marvel of a tall tale."  Rex Burns, Denver Post

"Is there a movie here? Who else but Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster? They would be just about perfect, those two, as Bat and Wyatt in this romp through history as it might have happened. Or should have happened."  Don Freeman, San Diego Union

". . . the book ends with an action-packed episode that will make every Western buff cheer."  Phil Thomas, Associated Press Books Editor

"Catchy dialogue and a flavorful portrayal of the Old West mindset are the hallmarks of this novel, which will be enjoyed by both genre buffs and general readers."  Booklist

"If ever a book were entitled to the description "ripsnorter," this is it . . . Glendon Swarthout has a filmmaker's eye and sense of pace, a poet's love of language . . . Swarthout takes Wyatt Earp and us for quite a ride. One hopes they make a movie out of this latest ragtag brawler of a book. Lee Marvin and George Kennedy could do it.  So who cares if The Old Colts isn't exactly history? We can always wish it were."  William Ruehlmann, the Virginian-Pilot

"This is a fast-paced, wry story, heavy with atmospheric flavor and packed with a cameo cast that ranges from George M. Cohan to Teddy Roosevelt. A dandy entertainment."  Charles Michaud, Library Journal

"In a yarn highly reminiscent of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Glendon Swarthout has put together an extremely entertaining tale of the latter days of Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp . . . Swarthout has a most realistic touch and the two characters come winningly to life from his pages . . . Entertaining reading for a hot summer night, it certainly is. And with all, a look at the Old West far more realistic and candid than has appeared in a long time."   Bruce Lawrason, Indianapolis Star

"Among the many good things going for this novel, Swarthout knows the Old West as well as any writer around. He has a certain reverence, even, for the old colts like Wyatt and Bat. He has a flair for the comic, and he has the wit and gift to bring off a spoof like this in such a way that the old colts, far from being tarnished in the telling, gain a humanness that is missing in their biographies. The Old Colts is a wonderful romp."  Dale L. Walker, El Paso Times

"This is a sprightly, hilarious romp through western history crafted by a master . . . It provides a much-needed glimpse of how Kansas might actually have been midway through the second decade of this century. Most (and best) of all, it's fun, from first page to last -- lean, fast-moving, insightful and authentically written pure entertainment."  Gene Smith, Topeka, Kansas Capital-Journal

"Written in the first person, this book not only will generate smiles but also will provoke good old-fashioned guffaws."  John Neely Davis, Amarillo, Texas News

"Wyatt and Bat surely will join the brotherhood of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as well as their latter-day counterparts, "the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight," in this riotous gallop over the wild American past."  Paul C. Day, Tulsa, Oklahoma Tribune

"It's an amusing tale that Swarthout handles with just enough tongue-in-cheek to make it entertaining."  Chicago Tribune

"The Old Colts is a wildly funny story of a reunion between the famous gunfighters, when they were in their sixties, and their last great adventure together . . . Swarthout has resurrected with affection and humor a pair of American legends who deserve never to be forgotten."  James M. Tarbox, St. Paul, Minnesota Morning Pioneer Press Dispatch

"A genuinely humorous novel that is frequently exciting due to its inventive use of language. Most of all it is great fun. Let me add that there is a passage in which Wyatt and Bat go out on a date with a couple of Dodge City girls. The scene back at the hotel is, in my opinion, a minor classic. Warning: reading it may be hazardous to your ability to keep a straight face for hours afterward."  Dennis Beck, McAllen, Texas Monitor

"Swarthout has done a good job of illustrating the rapid changes the country went through from the late 1800's, when Bat, Wyatt, and the six-shooters were the law, to the modern automobile-filled cities of the early 1900's, where the pair had to apply for permits just to carry their famous 'six-shooters' . . . The dialogue between the two tight-lipped cowboys is especially good, their few short words containing the hopes, fears, regrets and love shared between tow men whose business it had been -- as gamblers and lawmen -- to conceal emotion . . . Swarthout has done an excellent job of portraying two genuine American folk heroes, and the difficulties they face once history and progress leave them behind."   Richard Turner, Springfield, Missouri News-Leader

"A MARVELOUS tongue-in-cheek adventure that reunites two legends of the Wild West, Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp, in the bustling New York of the early 1900's . . . Masterson, who in fact moved to New York and became a respected sports columnist, and Earp, who retired to California, are brought charmingly to life in this outrageous tale. It is obviously untrue, but Swarthout's style makes you imagine it just MIGHT have happened."  Jim Elrick, Aberdeen, Scotland Evening Express

"In any other hands but those of the accomplished writer, it would have become farce, but not with Mr. Swarthout in charge. It's a book to enjoy, completely at variance with his more serious preceding novels. If you like good writing -- read. If you like Westerns -- read. If you like both -- then you're in for a treat. I guarantee."   Jewish Gazette, British Isles