I love reel-life tough, taciturn cowboy heroes, in case you haven’t guessed. But don’t try to make this into a therapy session about my real-life father figure, who was a generous, slightly nerdy guy who loved music and reading, The Muppet Show (yes, it’s true, eek), and walks in the woods. He taught me just as much as . . . → Read More: What Would Dad Do?; or, Four Fundamental Reel-Life Lessons from My Father
The wilderness of writer’s block is vast, dangerous, and difficult–if not impossible–to cross.
Or is it just the packaging that makes everything look so vast?*
(*Image used with permission from the delightful Toy Soldiers Collecting blog, where adventure awaits after a click on the link…)
A writer never expects to get seriously lost in this wilderness; like . . . → Read More: Rescue Me, Flint!; or, Of Wagon Train and Writer’s Block
The novel of the homestead cabin writes itself.
It was a prologue of possibilities, of quails and tarantulas and Joshua tree groves and sunshine. Since then, its chapters, experienced at a 2,500-mile distance, waver between comedy and tragedy and tearjerker, with the love of my life, the cabin, being both beautiful and ugly, stoic and needy, a magnet . . . → Read More: Enter My House Justified; or, Skirmish at the Old Homestead Cabin
I’m often asked how I got into westerns–sometimes with a tone of disbelief, as in how could one possibly like this hoary, cardboard cutout genre??
I barely know myself: I was always the one who insisted on playing the Indian in Cowboys and Indians because cowboys were just so not interesting to me. And watching movies where . . . → Read More: Fact and Fiction: What Looney Tunes, Bugs Bunny, and Star Trek Taught Me about the West
Two pics from Django, Unchained are seeding the Wild Western Web. Be still, my beating heart. You’re making me type typos.
One is of Leonardo DiCaprio wielding a hammer and Mephistophelian eyebrows, the devil with a red suit on, degeneracy signified by not only a cigarillo in a holder (instead of tucked into the corner of mouth, . . . → Read More: Clothes Maketh the Man; or New Silver-Screen Western Hero Django Unchained
Huh. And I thought it was all in the camerawork.
A recent (April 2012) study at UCLA funded by the US Air Force has found that humans will perceive a man with a gun as larger than he really is. Study participants were asked to judge the size of men holding things like caulking guns, saws, drills, and . . . → Read More: Reach for the Skies; or, Study Says Guns Make People Look Bigger
It’s a well-worn stereotype that western heroes don’t talk about their feelings. But it’s not that they don’t have them. Western heroes are deep wells of emotion, actually. If you flicked a pebble into one of those wells, that little “plink” would echo and re-echo a thousandfold-fold-fold-fold-fold…
Spoiler alert: Coop gets the gal in The Virginian.
Take . . . → Read More: Shut up; or, The Eternal Silence of the Western Hero
Steer the rattling wagons into a tight circle! Protect the women and children! Draw your six-shooters as whooping Indians on painted war ponies streak over the rise of a hill!
Look sharp, Tonto! This isn’t just a tired western stereotype, it’s a Silver-Screen Western Hero Equation!
c. 2011 es cowboylands
In reel life: Earnest pioneers moving to promised . . . → Read More: Circle the Wagons!; or, More Advice from a Besieged Writer
I knew where it was going. Anyone who’s done his or her western homework would.
There are two American archetypes that were sometimes played against each other in old Westerns.
The egghead Eastern lawyer who lacks the skills or stomach for a gunfight is contrasted with the tough Western rancher and ace shot who has no patience for . . . → Read More: Fast Times at Liberty Valance High; or The Reel-Life Politics of Ford’s Anti-Western
Some Silver-Screen Western Heroes have big pecs and holsters hanging alongside their brass balls.
The Silver-Screen Western Antihero
Some have breasts that don’t sag and thighs without cellulite, even if they try to wreak vengeance in a poncho.
Gratiuitous Raquel Welch photo
All ride into town and act all aloof and lo! They get the girl and kick the . . . → Read More: A Silver-Screen Western Hero’s Journey; or, The Rough and Ready Life of an Unpublished Author