Media Loco for Naked Cowboy Suit

The story is a cliche, but the way the media is frothing about it, you’d think we’re back in the golden age of westerns.
It’s the typical cowboy vs. rustler story:
1.) cowboy tries to keep a little spread and make a living; 2.) some rustler tries to horn in to make money; c.) cowboy prevails, simultaneously getting . . . → Read More: Media Loco for Naked Cowboy Suit

Elmer Kelton 1926-2009; or, Happy Trails

“I have often been asked how my characters differ from the traditional, larger-than-life heroes of the mythical West,” Mr. Kelton said in an interview with The Dallas Morning News in 2007. “ ‘Those,’ I reply, ‘are seven feet tall and invincible. My characters are 5-8 and nervous.’ ”

Elmer Kelton died August 22 in Texas, after a long and . . . → Read More: Elmer Kelton 1926-2009; or, Happy Trails

Boone’s Day; or, Not the Boone of Boone’s Farm

We have Daniel Boone’s ADHD to thank for the western two-thirds of the United States. June 7 is a day that lives in glorious Disney colors or one that lives in infamy, depending on whether you were not or were a Native American.
On June 7, 1769, Daniel Boone crested a summit in the Appalachians and looked . . . → Read More: Boone’s Day; or, Not the Boone of Boone’s Farm

An Alien Land; or, Happy Birthday, Arizona!

Arizona was birthed by treaty and the Territory of New Mexico on February 23, 1863 (how did they have time to work this out in the middle of a disastrous Civil War?). Pretty, shiny things brought prospectors and settlers, drove out Native American tribes (again), and opened the state to a future of retirement communities, faux frontier towns, . . . → Read More: An Alien Land; or, Happy Birthday, Arizona!

I Heart the Obama Kid

The Kid is in. The Great Decider is out–and so are slimy campaign innuendos. I’ll not be sorry to hear the last of the slander of the good Maverick family name. I’ll not be sorry to have less of cowboy-diplomacy-this* and cowboy-foreign-policy-that drop into my inbox with such alarming regularity. And I won’t be surprised if this . . . → Read More: I Heart the Obama Kid

Our Mother’s Relations; or, Tony Hillerman, Jim Chee, and Joe Leaphorn

Tony Hillerman, from laurieroberts.net

My mother read Tony Hillerman’s books–one after the other, like eating potato chips.* One quiet day in her condo**  I stretched out my hand and picked up a creased paperback and immediately fell into Hillerman Country.

Hillerman Country is red and ochre and brown and yellow. Dusty and windy. Populated . . . → Read More: Our Mother’s Relations; or, Tony Hillerman, Jim Chee, and Joe Leaphorn

Maverick; or, Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

MAVERICK. Ask not how many times you can say a word, but why you need to say the word so many times in the first place.

“Maverick.” Thou shalt not repeat a word in the hopes that it sticks.

“Maverick” took on a pop culture tone in the 1950s with James Garner’s hat-pushed back, insouciant gambler. The middle . . . → Read More: Maverick; or, Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

Newman’s Own

I was in love. He was the blue-eyed rascal, the master of the one liner. He was, by turns, cool and hot–matched by his partner who was hot and cool. The two of them wore their dusty britches like uniforms of hip scoundreldom, and they grasped six-guns in sure fingers. I didn’t even mind the girl . . . → Read More: Newman’s Own

Wild Western News

 

In an American headline world dominated by an Alaskan governor, in the face of tragedy on the floodplains of India (three million people displaced), and escalating tensions worldwide, it’s time to escape into a good western, where problems can be solved in about ninety minutes. 

In this Wild Western world, a newspaper might have these headlines:

Top Headline:

. . . → Read More: Wild Western News

Westerns 101; or, What Owen Wister Gave the World

Yesterday was Owen Wister’s birthday, the man who almost single-handedly created the Cowboy mythos. He’s both a masterful wordsmith and a cautionary example against using the Cowboy indiscriminately. 

Who the hell is Owen Wister? One of my favorite places on the Wild Western Web for all things Americana, The Library of Congress’s . . . → Read More: Westerns 101; or, What Owen Wister Gave the World