Warlock (Oakley Hall novel)

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This article is about the Hall novel. For its film adaptation, see Warlock (1959 film). For the Smith novel, see Warlock (2001 novel). For other uses, see Warlock (disambiguation).
Cover of first edition
Author Oakley Hall
Country United States
Language English
Series Legends West trilogy
Genre Western
Publisher Viking Press
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 471
ISBN n/a
LC Class PS3558.A373W3
Followed by The Bad Lands

Warlock is an American western novel by author Oakley Hall, first published in 1958.

The novel is loosely based on characters and events that took place in the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.[1]

Hall's most famous novel, Warlock was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1958.[2][3] Writer Thomas Pynchon praised it for restoring "to the myth of Tombstone its full, mortal, blooded humanity" and showing "that what is called society, with its law and order, is as frail, as precarious, as flesh and can be snuffed out and assimilated into the desert as easily as a corpse can. It is the deep sensitivity to abysses that makes Warlock one of our best American novels."[4]

In 1959, it was made into a film, also called Warlock, starring Henry Fonda, Richard Widmark, and Anthony Quinn.

Hall's 1978 novel The Bad Lands and 1986 novel Apaches are sequels to Warlock. The three together form the Legends West trilogy.

Plot summary[edit]

In the frontier boomtown of Warlock, residents attempt to keep the peace. After violence escalates, a committee determines to take a course of action against criminal cowboys and cattle rustlers. A Texas gunslinger named Clay Blaisedell is hired and, although things go smoothly at first, the morality of life in the legal no-man's-land becomes ever more ambiguous.


  1. ^ Pictorial History of the Wild West by James D. Horan and Paul Sann ISBN 0-600-03103-9, ISBN 978-0-600-03103-1
  2. ^ Carlson, Michael (2008-06-18). "Oakley Hall: Obituaries: guardian.co.uk". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  3. ^ Hall, Oakley Warlock (Author Biography)
  4. ^ Pynchon, Thomas A Review of Oakley Hall's Warlock