Breckinridge Elkins

Breckinridge Elkins
Breckinridge Elkins, illustration by Rudolph Belarski.jpg
Illustration by Rudolph Belarski for "The Scalp Hunters," Action Stories, August 1934.
First appearanceAction Stories, March–April 1934
Created byRobert E. Howard

Breckinridge Elkins is a fictional character created by pulp writer Robert E. Howard. He was featured in twenty-six humorous Western short stories, most of which originally appeared in the pages of Action Stories between 1934 and 1937,[1] as well as the novel A Gent from Bear Creek.[2]

Character description

"Breck" Elkins is a hillbilly from Bear Creek, a fictional location in the Humboldt Mountains of Nevada. He is "mighty of stature and small of brain"[3]—a physically huge and imposing figure, and his reputation as a short-tempered and ferocious fighter often precedes him throughout the Southwest. He is usually found in the company of Cap'n Kidd, his equally fierce and cantankerous horse. He sometimes wears a coonskin cap and is depicted wearing one in several illustrations that accompanied the stories in the original pulp magazine. Elkins is a man of limited intelligence and education, illiterate in some of the stories, while able to read in others.

Although Howard referred to the Elkins stories as "Westerns," they all have exaggerated elements and humor that make them closer in tone to Texas "Tall Lying" stories[4] (such as the well-known tall tales of Pecos Bill) than to traditional Western action stories. Breckinridge is a larger-than-life figure whose abilities to dish out and absorb punishment go well beyond the limits of credulity. He is the first-person narrator (in hillbilly dialect)[5] of all of his stories, and much of the humor is derived from his limited understanding of situations, leading to confusion and complications. His ill-fated attempts to help friends and relatives usually come to grief for himself and often those he was ostensibly aiding. His repeated romantic failures in wooing the eligible women he encounters are another recurring theme in the stories.

Other Languages