The Bounty Hunters was Elmore Leonard’s first novel. He had published a number of short stories in Western magazines before this. As a writer of westerns he was brilliant. The love of character is evident from this first novel.
The Bounty Hunters follows Dave Flynn, former cavalry officer turned scout as he leads a young lieutenant into Mexico on the trail of an Apache war chief. Along the way they encounter American scalp hunters who work for the local Mexican commander. Trouble with these scalp hunters is that they aren’t particular with whose scalps they take. A young woman, the daughter of a friend, is taken by the scalp hunters and Flynn goes after them.
All the classic western themes are here. The rugged individual, the dangerous situations. We have good guys, we have bad guys, and in the end both the good guys and bad guys get their reward. Bounty Hunters delivers all that could be expected from a western written by Elmore Leonard.