Buck Marshall, Range Detective is a fairly repetitive series, set in and around Sage City. Buck helps the sheriff (who never gets a name) with cases that frequently involve murder, and usually cattle rustling as well.
In the bulk of the tales rivalry between ranchers, over cattle, land and access to water, proves the motive for the crimes, and they always are trying to blame each other. Once in a while a bank or stagecoach or payroll gets robbed, but even in those stories the root motives usually come back to ranchers squabbling with each other.
This is another series for which I am going to bend my rules, and discuss it past December 1939, as it ends in February 1940, and it was such a long dull read I want to get it over with.
Not that it’s awful, just extremely repetitious (I said that already, didn’t I?)
In issue 7 a Texas Ranger is murdered in his hill-top cabin, and Buck does some impressive observation and deduction with the state of the bullet, the nature of the injury, and angle of entry to determine the killer. From then on the story sort of becomes CSI: Sage City. His tales were only 6 pages long, and generally the middle two or three would be Buck noticing footprints, clay residues, damaged plants, torn clothing, or other physical evidence, from which the crime would be solved.
The nameless sheriff gets a nameless deputy for issue 21, but, frustrated as his lack of name (my interpretation) he turns to the dark side and uses his position of power to run the largest rustling operation in the region.
Issue 29 sees the sheriff ask Buck to go to the town of Redstone, where he is arrested and imprisoned, but only so that he can get information on a murder plot from his cellmate.
There are a few more of these varied stories as the run nears its conclusion. Counterfeit money in 32, a mine swindle in 33; in 36, his last adventure, the first half of the tale is a court trial, and the second half sees Buck find evidence to prove the convicted man is innocent.
Buck Marshall: Detective Comics 1 – 5 ( Mar 37-July 37), 7 – 11 (Sep 37-Jan 38), 13 – 17 (Mar-July 38), 20-21 (Oct-Nov 38), 23-25 (Jan-Mar 39), 27 – 28 (May-June 39), 30 – 36 (Aug 39-Feb 40)