This is actually the first Elmore Leonard novel I've read despite having been a fan of several films based on his crime novels rather than his westerns (e.g., Out of Sight, Jackie Brown, Get Shorty). I was in the mood for a western, however, so I picked this one up. For a novel released in 1953, I certainly wasn't expecting something this dark and violent. The Bounty Hunters seems to anticipate the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone by over a decade. The story is fairly simple, but it's handled so capably that it still feels fresh over fifty years later. The only problems I had with the story were the stereotypical representations of the Apaches and the Mexicans. What helps to offset this, however, is that the titular bounty hunters are, in fact, the most evil sons of guns in the entire book. They're characters you can't wait to see get their bloody comeuppance. Honestly, by the end, I was cheering for the Apaches,--lead Apache Soldado is such an intelligent and capable character that I found it hard not to cheer for him--and I believe Leonard has a bit of admiration for them himself. (Whether or not that admiration translates into a balanced depiction is another matter entirely.) I highly enjoyed this book, and I look forward to reading more of Leonard's western fiction. Who knows; maybe I'll eventually get around to reading some of his crime novels.