My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
The case of the cowboy as P.I. isn't that far-fetched, actually. Scratch Shane, and the Continental Op comes peeks out...
In fact, P.I. authors such as diverse as Robert Randisi, Ed Gorman, Frank Gruber, Robert B. Parker, James Reasoner, Bill Pronzini, Bill Crider and Loren Estleman are all more than willing to point out the similiarities. And they all just happen to have written both mysteries and westerns.
Come to think of it, doesn't Shane seem a bit, uh, Marlowesque? And the dusty old streets of the "Old West" were probably even harsher than Chandler's famous mean streets. As far as I can figure, that first attempt to really blend the two genres was television's Have Gun, Will Travel, which made its debut on CBS way back in 1957. But it wasn't the last attempt. Here's a few other eyes of the wild frontier:
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