Appearing in "Unmask the Black Rider!"
- Slade's Gang
- Ginger Spade
- Hank Desmond
- Other Members (Unnamed)
- Slasher Slade
- Bobby Lathrop (Mentioned)
- Anvil Jones (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "Unmask the Black Rider!"
The Black Rider is walking through Showdown when he comes across Ginger Spade and Hank Desmond, two of Slasher Slade's men. Not liking the fact they are in town the Black Rider begins to question them but they refuse to talk. Suddenly there is an explosion on the other end of town, when Ginger and Hank try to stop the Black Rider he easily subdues them and rides to the site of the explosion. There the sheriff of Showdown tells the Black Rider that Slasher Slade's men busted him out of prison and fled toward Flint Ridge. The Black Rider rushes out of town following their trail but ends up losing it when he reaches a rock outcropping that left no hoof tracks to follow.
Meanwhile, at his secret cave hideout, Slasher learns of the Black Rider's involvement and manhunt and orders his men to try and unmask the hero so they can learn who he really is. Elsewhere, the Black Rider runs into Marie Lathrop and she tells him that she is going into town to fetch Dr. Matthew Masters as her brother Bobby has come down with a fever. The Black Rider tells her to go back to her father's ranch while he fetches the doctor. Unaware that some of Slasher's men are following him, the Black Rider finds a secluded area to change back into his alter-ego of Matthew Masters.
When Masters departs from the bush, Slasher's men go down to investigate and find matching hoof prints going in and out. Suspecting that Masters is the Black Rider, the two men follow him along the way to the Lathrop ranch. When he meets up with Marie, they ambush the pair after having tended to Bobby's condition and take them back to Slasher's cave. There Slade demands to know who the Black Rider is, suspecting that Masters is the masked hero due to the matching hoof prints. Matthew tells the outlaws that the reason why both he and the Black Rider's horses have matching prints is because they use the same kind of horseshoes.
However, Masters convinces the outlaws that he can bring the Black Rider to them and they let him go. Slasher then tells his men to get ready to move Marie to a shack not far away in case there is trouble. However before they can do so, Masters has quickly changed back into the Black Rider and doubled back, getting the drop on them. The Black Rider easily subdues Slasher and his gang and takes them into custody.
Appearing in "The Crisis!"
- Cameron's Gang
- Spur Cameron
- Buster (Horse)
- Cindy (Horse)
- Burt Wyatt (Only appearance; dies)
Races and Species:
- Leadville Stage
Synopsis for "The Crisis!"
The Black Rider comes across a pair of men about to attack a stage coach heading into Leadville and gets the drop on them. He forces them to stand down until the coach passes by and sends them on their way. Still not trusting the men he encountered, the Black Rider catches up with the coach to ask the drivers if they had any trouble. They tell the Black Rider that it was a smooth run except for a stop six miles back where they were a couple of Wells Fargo men had them change their water supply. Finding this suspicious the Rider learns that none of the drivers drank the new water but one of the passengers had. The Rider rolls back and questions the passenger in question: Burt Wyatt who tells him the water was okay.
Still suspicious the Black Rider takes a canteen of the water and rushes ahead into the town and changes back into his alter-ego of Dr. Matthew Masters and returns to his medical practice. However before he can examine the water, Burt Wyatt comes for a visit telling Masters that he suddenly feels ill. While examining the man, Matthew learns that he had come to town to testify against Spur Cameron a local outlaw that is standing trial in town. Suddenly, Wyatt falls completely ill and suddenly dies. Masters examines the body but cannot find any cause of death.
He goes to report the situation to Sheriff Ben Yarby, who is upset that Wyatt is dead as without his testimony Spur Cameron will go free. Yarby also tells Masters that he will have to find a cause of death for the Territorial Examiner. When Masters fails to produce one he is told that his medical license is suspended. Shamed, Masters prepares to leave town but examines the water he took from the stage coach before doing so and finds traces of a poison in it. Realizing this is what killed Wyatt, he changes back into the Black Rider.
Learning that Spur Cameron was set free and he and his men were last seen riding off in the direction of the Lathrop ranch, he rushes there. When he arrives he finds the ranch hands recovering from a fight and they tell them that Spur was wounded in the fight and has barricaded himself in the Lathrop house with the whole family as his prisoners. Inside, the wounded Cameron demands that the Lathrop's send someone to get a doctor for him. The Black Rider changes into Matthew Masters and enters the house and presents himself to Spur.
When Spur demands that he patch him up, Masters explains that he is no longer licensed to practice medicine due to Wyatt dying on his watch. However, he offers to patch up Spur if he admits that he killed Wyatt. Spur does just that and as Masters treats him he gets a hold of the killer's gun and holds him at gunpoint while Jim and Marie send Bobby in town to fetch the sheriff. With the confession made by Spur, Matthew's medical license is reinstated.
Appearing in "Payroll Peril"
- Appearances not yet listed
Synopsis for "Payroll Peril"
- Synopsis not yet written.
Appearing in "The Fastest Draw!"
- Slim Warner
- Paul Jonas
- Ms. Sally
Races and Species:
- Slim's Ranch
- Slim's Ranch
Synopsis for "The Fastest Draw!"
A western tale.
Appearing in "The Silver Bullet!"
- Paso Jack's Gang
- Paso Jack
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "The Silver Bullet!"
The Black Rider watches as a pair of men put money down with some ranchers in a shooting contest. Finding it strange, the Black Rider offers to join in. The men are reluctant but the Black Rider insists. Realizing that the shells for the rifle they have been using seem awful light, the Black Rider compensates for this and manages to shoot the tin cans off the fence post. When he tries to claim the pot, the two men pull their guns but the Black Rider easily disarms them with his lightning fast reflexes and quick shooting skills. He then tells the other competitors to take their money, informing them that they had been swindled. Before the others can start a fight, the Black Rider keeps them back and tells the two swindlers to pack out of town.
The two men -- who are outlaws hired by Paso Jack -- report back to Tappan, a third member of their party, who is furious that they tried to pull a con job when they are plotting to rob the Leadville bank. That night, Matthew Masters finds himself restless and decides to go out for a ride as the Black Rider. Meanwhile, the outlaws led by Paso Jack blast the side of the Leadville bank open and rob it. Hearing the blast the Black Rider chases after them, wounding them all but captures the entire gang except for their leader. Handing the captured cooks over to Sheriff Yarby, the Black Rider departs to change into his alter-ego of Matthew Masters so he can treat them for their gunshots.
While doing so, he learns that Yarby was unable to recover the stolen money and without it the proof he needs to convict them of a crime. Yarby also tells Masters that he would have suspected that Paso Jack if he wasn't locked up in the town jail. Suddenly one of the jailers comes in and tells both Yarby and Matthew that Paso Jack is acting strange and they go to investigate. When they go, Masters checks him out and pulls one of the silver bullets that the Black Rider shot into Jack during the robbery. Returning back to his medical practice to puzzle it over, Masters realizes that Paso must have had a means of getting out of his cell.
Changing back into the Black Rider, the masked hero pays a visit to the sheriff and they go to search Paso Jack's cell. When they arrive they find it empty, but examining the floor they find a section of it has been cut out and that there is a tunnel below. Following it they catch Jack and the rest of his gang as they are preparing to flee town with he stolen money and apprehend them.
- In the story "The Crisis!" Matthew Masters claims that he had never lost a patient before. This is in direct contradiction of many previous Black Rider stories where patients have died of gunshot wounds. Notably the Phantom who died in Masters care circa Wild Western #8. This statement likely had less to do with a continuity error than the fact that when this issue was published the Comic Code Authority had recently come into effect and was strictly enforced.
- "Unmask the Black Rider!" is reprinted in Western Gunfighters (Vol. 2) #16.
- "The Crisis!" is reprinted in Western Gunfighters (Vol. 2) #15.
- "The Fastest Draw!" is reprinted in Mighty Marvel Western #25.
- 1 Image(s) from Western Tales of Black Rider Vol 1 31
- 2 Reprints of Western Tales of Black Rider Vol 1 31
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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