The Outcasts of Poker Flat by Bret Harte

Image result for the mammoth book of westerns book cover

Title: The Outcasts of Poker Flat
Author: Bret Harte
In: The Mammoth Book of Westerns (Jon E. Lewis)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Westerns
Dates read: 9th March 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: He returned to his pocket the handkerchief with which he had been whipping away the red dust of Poker Flat from his neat boots, and quietly discharged his mind of any further conjecture.

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They don’t quite fit in anywhere, even with each other at their gambling houses and saloons in Poker Flat.


This is my first western short story. And it was an incredibly interesting experience. One that I was kind of not expecting. Although, I have next to no experience with actual Westerns… I’ve read some fantasy stories with a western spin… but nothing which actually falls completely under this genre heading… and it was a good introduction.

I like that in a collection of westerns, the first one features gambling and outcasts. Actually, the entire time I was reading this, the song The Gambler by Kenny Rogers was running through my head on repeat. There is just something about that song and this story which seemed to perfectly suit one another. Something that had that same, great atmosphere that made this a really enjoyable experience.

This was a fun, easy read. But it wasn’t overly memorable. It was fun, easy and enjoyable. But it also wasn’t an amazing, earth shaking storyline. Not one that I’ll necessarily pick up in years to come. But a great way to spend a few moments escaping the world and reality.

<- The Mammoth Book of WesternsWay Out West ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

3 thoughts on “The Outcasts of Poker Flat by Bret Harte

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