In his carefully researched biography of Clarence E. Mulford (entitled, not coincidentally, Bar 20) Francis M. Nevins, Jr., wrote this about the character known and loved as Hoppy:


When we see Cassidy at the beginning of Mulford's first book, Bar 20 (1907), he is a tough-talking, red-thatched, tobacco-spitting man of 23--Mulford's age the year most of the episodic novel appeared in Outing Magazine--looking not in the least like William Boyd. He is in the bunkhouse, gobbling dinner and swapping insults with foreman Buck Peters and fellow ranch hands. . . . The first word he is heard to speak is "Gu--," which is Mulford's version of "Good" spoken by a man through a mouthful of beef. Before the end of the scene Cassidy is in a food fight with his pals that to the modern reader must look like something from Animal House. Welcome to the world that Mulford made; sanitized movie cowboys keep out!


     For those who know Hopalong Cassidy only through the entertaining Westerns that featured him, the contest between the print and motion picture Hoppys can be startling. Yet both manifestations were extremely popular in their respective media, the movie version being extended to radio and television.
     In the coming weeks you will have the opportunity to meet Mulford's Hopalong Cassidy, assuming you have not encountered him before. By the way, in some of the later reprints of Cassidy novels the original Hoppy was cleaned up a bit to match the Boyd characterization. And in 1951 Doubleday hired Louis L'Amour to write four new Hopalong Cassidy books under the pen name Tex Burns.
     Although a portion of the material was new, Bar-20 was actually an amalgamation of eight Hoppy short stories, beginning with "The Fight at Buckskin" (from Outing Magazine, December 1905) and stretching through "Roping a Rustler" (from Outing, May 1907). Author Mulford penned a couple of new chapters to round out the book. He also inserted a few passages of transition to pull the stories together. You no doubt will spot them.
     But adventure awaits. Enjoy Bar-20.

Raymond William Stedman
May 2002

Editor's Note:  Clarence Mulford wrote the dialogue for Bar-20 in a style that attempted to capture the feel of the "Old West". We have attempted to keep this style intact throught the novel and have only made a few minor changes where it was felt there were actual typographical errors. The only concious change that was made in spelling was to take the words "bronchs" and "bronchos" and change them to the more common spelling of "bronc" and "broncos".

     A review of the Francis Nevins biography of Clarence Mulford, Bar 20, can be found here.
     There is also a gallery of images of Hopalong Cassidy as portrayed in film and on book and magazine covers. It can be found by clicking here.

To read online:  With Adobe 4.0 or above integrated into your browser, left click on the chapter you wish to read and Adobe will do the rest.
To save for later reading:
Netscape:  Right click on the chapter you wish to save and, using the sub-menu, select "Save Link As".
IE:  Right click on the chapter you wish to save and, using the sub-menu, select "Save Target As".

by Clarence E. Mulford

The Complete Novel
Contains the complete novel with illustrations, cover, title page and
linked table of contents in a single download.  Approx. 2.8MB in size.

(Posted October 4, 2002)


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