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A couple of Fridays ago, I did a post on Patti Abbot’s Forgotten Books for a Hashknife Hartley and Sleepy Stevens novel. Today, I’m posting on a couple of radio episodes of our range detective cowboys. They originally ran on Sagebrush Theater for the Armed Forces Radio Network in 1950 and had the cachet of a bit of narration by W. C. Tuttle himself. They way they are presented everywhere I look, these were the only two Hashknife and Sleepy stories to make radio. Frank Martin played Hashknife and Barton Yarborough played Sleepy. I couldn’t find out anything else about the rest of the cast(I probably wasn’t looking in the right place), but I believe I recognized one voice in the DOUBLE CROSS episode. Unless I’m completely goofy(not outside the realm of possibility), James Best played the young man accused of murder. Best is probably best known for his role as Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane on The Dukes of Hazzard, but I remember him more for his two spots on The Andy Griffith Show as Jim Lindsey, guitar player extraordinaire.

In DOUBLE CROSS, Hashknife and Sleepy ride into town just in time for the murder of a rich rancher. They learn he had just broke up the wedding of his daughter and a “$20 dollar a month and found” cowboy. The cowboy had threatened the rancher’s life as he stormed out.

It’s up to our two heroes, well actually just Hashknife as Sleepy seems there for comedy relief as much as anything, to figure out what’s going on and prove the young man innocent of the murder.

RANGE WAR has that old plot of two ranches wanting control of a range.

Hashknife and Sleepy ride up to find a young fellow working on a cabin on a nice piece of range land. They stop to talk, learning he’s just recently filed on the land, has a small herd of a hundred cattle, and is planning to send for his wife as soon as the cabin is finished.

About that time, the rich rancher rides up and demands he get off his land. He admits he’d always planned to file on it, having used it for grazing land for ten years, but had never got around to it. That sets the stage for the coming tussle.

Someone decides to play the two men against each other, stealing half the smaller man’s herd one night and the same amount, fifty head, of the big man’s the next. We learn early on who the culprits are and it’s up to Hashknife and Sleepy to again figure it out before blood is spilled and things really get out of hand.

These two episodes are available HERE for a reasonable price(which is what I did). It works in MP3 players and your computer, but won’t play in standard CD players. You can also listen to the two episodes HERE.(which I also did).

They were a lot of fun listening to these. I paid for them, but OTR has sent me discs in the past. I have one(of five) from the Gunsmoke radio program and the two disc set of Philip Marlowe(a particular favorite).

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