Blood and Pussy in the Wild West

The Revisionist Frontier of the Adult Pulp Westerns

by B. Amundson

"Oh, Gunsmith," she moaned, "I have to say I wanted you like this from the moment I saw you through the saloon window." To prove her words, she reached down and quickly found his rigid manhood. Her hips arched up and Clint slammed his hips forward to drive himself deep into her. "Oooh," she groaned with a shudder that made her heels drum on the cabin floor, "I've never made love to a gunfighter before." She began to buck and yelp as he stroked her long and to the hilt, then she screamed ecstatically, head thrown back, as she exploded into a frenzy of twisting and wriggling, "Oh, Gunsmith! I'm coming, I'm... Ohhh, Yes!!!.."

Yeeeh haaa!! Ride 'em, cowboy!! What in tarnation's goin' on here? This isn't the kind of behavior we expect from our western heroes, is it? You mean to say that Lucas McCain and Matt Dillon were satisfying the orgasmic needs of America's pioneer damsels after dispatching hoards of narrow-eyed bad guys that threatened the lawful traditions of the Great American West? Say it ain't so, Marshal.

Well, pardner, according to the revisionist history offered up in a relatively new genre of pulp paperbacks, the Adult Western, it ain't only so, but it's giving staid traditionalists of the western format like Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey a real run for the mass market money.

The genre got its start in the late 70's, and by 1980 most of the major paperback houses, including Jove, Berkeley, Pinnacle, and the infamously tasteless Zebra, had entries in the field. All starred ruggedly handsome, chisel-featured, stoic loners with an intuitive sense of morality and the capacity to emit volcanic quantities of semen from horse-sized goads of swollen manhood. They traversed this mythical west with colorful and original monikers, such as Spur, Slocum, Longarm, and the aforementioned Gunsmith. After liquidating thirty or forty subhuman saloon toughs and initiating a variety of virginal farm wives to the pleasures of missionary jackhammering, our new hero "waved farewell and galloped toward the high, cool mountains" as the willowy, yet inner-countenance ridden Jenny Neal called out, "Can I name our first son after you?" Not bad work, if you can get it, and get it these fellows do, in volume after volume of 180-185 page adventures.

Let's take a closer look at one of these long, tall tales featuring Longarm ("One of the men who made the exciting old west wild!") in adventure #91, Longarm and the Great Cattle Kill, by the astonishingly prolific Tabor Evans.

The cover is a pastiche of soft-core romance imagery, detective-adventure-pulp-firearm-phallic symbolism, and strong, masculine logo-type done in the style of veteran cover artist, George Gross.

Curtis Long, i.e. Longarm, i.e. Long Arm of the Law, i.e.applied appendage transference, is a freewheeling Deputy Federal Marshal, a title that gives him an open license-to-kill that even 007 would envy. We first meet our cheroot-smoking, Tom Moore-drinking, selfless hero as he aids the newly divorced Janis Treadwell, she of the "full, pouting lips and bulging, full figure," at the Kansas City train depot. The courtesy is repaid on p. 5 (5!) as Longarm generously lets Janis "ride on top this time" to a "quivering series of jerks that ended in a throaty sigh of satisfaction." Not once did she and Longarm have to discuss relationships.

Then on p. 28 Longarm sends a "spattering spurt of blood and brain tissue" out the back of an outlaw's head in the process of pulling a Peckinpah on three bad-assed renegades. Cool.

On p. 98 Longarm "felt the warmth of Dr. Holly Tree's breath as she had his engorged shaft deep in her mouth..., her tongue rasping over it avidly." Holly Tree is a tall, well-proportioned Army Corps of Engineers doctor with a generous bulge of bosom investigating an anthrax epidemic. As with most of Longarm's female acquaintances, she has the textbook knowledge of fellatio necessary the crack the pages of this male-oriented genre, as well as the unique ability to mimic a horse and rider during her metaphorical gallop towards climax: bucking, straddling, whinnying, neighing. Longarm didn't even have to ask her out.

Anyway, Longarm gets in some tight spots, solves the mystery, and kills a load of people before meeting ranch widow Elizabeth Whiting, who after more obligatory fellatio, winds up crying small, high-pitched horse screams of ecstatic agony, to no one's surprise. Once again Longarm neglected to discuss birth control.

Essentially, this is the tried and true formula followed through the entire Longarm series, and the entire genre as well. Good Guy kills Bad Guy and gets laid for his reward. Repeatedly. The payoff isn't just the simple love of the open range and its archetypal call to freedom, but rather pure, instantaneous sexual gratification. Pussy becomes the last frontier.

Variations of the genre do exist. The Edge series, billed as the "Most Violent Western in Print," replaces straight sex with sadistic, splatter-film imagery that would make Jason want to visit the Cartwrights. And then there's Lone Star, featuring that Magnificent Woman of the West, Jessica Starbuck, and her sidekick Ki, who is trained in the deadly skills of the Samurai, in a Debbie Does Desperados / Kung Fu double billing. This pairing doubles the number of sex scenes and introduces cunnilingus to the proceedings, a practice apparently not yet known to Jessie's more conservative pulp compadres.

But none of these books feature the complications of an 80's-style personal relationship or even your standard frontier relationship, for that matter. No impotence. No pregnancy. No self-doubt. No working parents. No Doctor Ruth. No sexually transmitted diseases.

What a life! Ridin', killin', and foolin' around. All the inherent guarantees of the constitution. Granted, there's something sad about reducing the vast promise of the American frontier to getting our collective rocks off, but does this really comes as such a surprise? In an era riddled with political and personal ironies made all but imperceptible by an omnipotent, exploitive media, perhaps pure, simple sex has metaphorically become the Promise of the Frontier.

So buy the books. Get back to the roots you never had (and will most likely never find). And for God's sake, let's make sure Longarm never appears on the Donahue Show.

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