During the days of the American Frontier, James Hardwick, the "bravest man in Duro County," ran a mining interest there, but always took time out to teach his son Preston how to ride and shoot. Hardwick, originally from the East and with a good family name, was a good man in addition to being a good shooter, and so when he was shot in the back it came as a shock to everyone in town. Preston, who had been out East for the last few years to finish his education, raced back home upon hearing the news. Wishing to see the killer brought to justice, but remembering a promise he had made to his father to never "let gunpowder besmirch the family name," Preston realized his appearance had changed so much while he had been gone that even family friends did not recognize him. He decided, therefore, to take an alias, Red Larabee, and tracked down his father's murderers. After avenging his father's death, Hardwick travelled the west on his horse Terror (later renamed Blaze) earning the reputation of a deadly gunslinger. He became known to people as the Gunhawk, and many an outlaw feared his guns.
In Sante Fe, the Gunhawk became interested in how local George Blackwell was rallying locals to go to war against the local Comanche tribe on orders, apparently from the United States government, to remove the Comanches from their land. Seeing a peaceful resolution, the Gunhawk visited the Comanches and learned that they were caring for a US land agent named Carson who informed the Gunhawk that Blackwell hired outlaws to steal his papers and make forgeries and that the Comanches land was being protected by the government. With this information, the Gunhawk put a stop to Blackwell's plot and left him to face justice with the locals of Sante Fe and the Comanches. Soon after, Larabee stopped a horse thief from stealing Terror and brought him to a nearby town to face justice. However, the Gunhawk let the horse thief go when he realized the sheriff was ruthless and hung all criminals even for the smallest infraction. Red later caught the same sheriff trying to kill a wild stallion. Stopping the sheriff Red learned that the sheriff's frustrations and cruelty came from his inability to capture and tame the stallion and so he decided to kill it instead. Red stopped him and managed to capture the horse and tame it for the sheriff, gifting him the horse on the hopes it will teach him to treat others fairly. In Tomahawk Creek, Red also spread his wisdom to Donna Dane, an easterner who inherited a ranch and hated the west. Larabee taught her to appreciate the west for what it was convincing her it was a beautiful place after all.
The Gunhawk quickly earned a reputation as a feared gunman, however he was a man of honor and came to the aid of those in need. Riding into the town of San Marco, he came upon an ugly scene at the local saloon: A local boy was holding the town hostage, angered by the fact that nobody defended his ranch when Luke Durano and his men attacked and killed his father. Failing to talk the boy down, Red earned the ire of the boy's sister who denounced his use of violence. Red promised the girl that he would not use his guns in her presence again. However, the girl recanted her demand when Luke Durano and his men returned and the Gunhawk gunned the entire gang down. Travelling into Wyoming he came to the aid of a US army fort that was invaded by the renegade Native American warrior named Howling Wolf and his minions. Gunhawk's reputation was idolized by a young boy named Nolie Desmond who sought to join Red as his partner. Gunhawk purposely encouraged run-ins with outlaws to show him that his life was not something to idolize.
Shortly thereafter, the Gunhawk had a run in with Notch Cannon and his gang of outlaws. During the confrontation, Red was knocked off his horse and left for dead. Cannon took the heroes guns and used their legendary reputation to strike fear across the region. Red meanwhile survived but was struck with amnesia. Riding into Paige City, he was witness to an attack by Notch Cannon and his men. It restored his memory and he wiped the gang out, recovering his guns. Travelling to Mexico, Red ended up in the town of San Juan Del Rio which was terrorized by an outlaw named Manuel Ramon Del Oro. Gunhawk was able to out-shoot Del Oro and convinced him to become a champion to his people, instead of a tyrant. Returning to the United States he assisted a young Texas Ranger chase a band of renegade Native American's into Death Valley. Laramee later helped both the town of Smoke City and Coronado City who had their town wealth stolen by Charro Gage. In thanks, the people named the Smoke City bank after Red. Laramee later gave an abject lesson to the people of Cartridge City, a town that had outlawed guns, the benefit of having weapons when the town was invaded by Hogjaw Mosher and Mesa Sam. That winter, Gunhawk was captured by some Native American warriors who sought to torture him. However, when their boat lost control in a raging river, Red saved them, earning his freedom.
In the town of Burro Flats, Texas, the Gunhawk stumbled upon a plot by Banker Bailey to claim a hidden cash of trasure hidden by early Spanish explorers. Killing Bailey, Gunhawk decided to keep the trasure's location hidden to prevent other ambitious men murdering to claim it. In Arroyo, Red defeated Bush Bascomb in a rodeo. He was later captured by Shoshone warriors and won his freedom by beating their three greatest hunters. In a more mundane adventure, Red came to the aid of the town of Bedlam who had money intended for a new school was stolen by Jack Lacey. He later liberated the town of Tumbleweed when it was terrorized by Crazy Cahill. When a tribe of Crow warriors threatened to go on the warpath due to white men hunting their buffalo herds, Red helped capture the man responisble in order to maintain peace. In the town of White Boulder, Red came to the aid of Kitty Random, who was being held for ransom by cardsharp Earl Sinclair. By 1868, Gunhawk was back in Wyoming where he crossed paths with the Pacsos family, a clan of religious zealouts who were terrorizing the area. Red followed them back up to their isolated mountain town and wiped them out.
Returning to Mexico, Red assisted Ricardo Ibanez track down outlaw Tinto Chavez who killed Ricardo's parents. He was also hired by the Texas Ranger to assist the Mexican government liberate the Mexican folk-hero El Magnifico, who was secretly a government agent who was imprisoned by the ruthless Porifio Jimminez, mayor of Casa Del Toro. In yet another mundaine adventure, Red helped the town of Bedlam evict people who refused to leave the town jail after their sentences were up. He also put a stop to the insane Shoshone medicine man Kurata who caused disasters for his people so his predicitions would come true. He later assisted authorities on a manhunt for Yuma Jack and his gang.
While travelling along the border, the Gunhawk encountered the Jameson Party who was savagely attacked by a tribe of Aztecs who sought to reclaim the Golden Key of Quapultec which they had discovered. Red agreed to go into Mexico and recover it from their expedition. Locating the hidden village of Toecala, the Gunhawk was captured by the tribe and was nearly sacrificed to the tribes fire gods. Red broke free when volcanic activity destabilized the area and fled with the key. However, after escaping near death, Red decided the key was not worth all the death and destruction and tossed it in a nearby lava flow. Gunhawk later investigated what were apparent attacks on coaches by the local Arapho tribe. However, realizing that they were really outlaws posing as the Natives, the Gunhawk exposed a plot by banker Mather who was setting the outlaws to attack his own coaches to defraud his insurance company.
In his last recorded appearance, the Gunhawk faced the so-called Legion of the Dead, who appeared to be undead outlaws risen from the grave. However, after tracking them down to their hideout below a graveyard, the Gunhawk shot them all dead, exposing the fact that they were very mortal outlaws who were posing as dead criminals to strike fear into their victims.
Further adventures of the Gunhawk remain unrecorded, and his final fate is unknown.
Gunhawk is an excellent shot, having been trained by his father. He also knows judo and is an expert horseman.
Gunhawk wore a bulletproof vest hidden under his shirt
- 15 Appearances of Preston Hardwick (Earth-616)
- Minor Appearances of Preston Hardwick (Earth-616)
- Media Preston Hardwick (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 16 Images featuring Preston Hardwick (Earth-616)
- Quotations by or about Preston Hardwick (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Preston Hardwick (Earth-616)
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