Circle the Wagons!; or, More Advice from a Besieged Writer

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

Fast Times at Liberty Valance High; or The Reel-Life Politics of Ford’s Anti-Western

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

A Silver-Screen Western Hero’s Journey; or, The Rough and Ready Life of an Unpublished Author

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 → Read More: A Silver-Screen Western Hero’s Journey; or, The Rough and Ready Life of an Unpublished Author

Wild, 24/7; or The West of Atlantic City

Nothing makes my day more than drifting through a town that has mojo already and finding a shrine to the West. Like discovering the Mithraic alter beneath a Roman church, it means that I have uncovered a power so potent it can’t be hidden.

So here was Atlantic City: slots, mobsters, boardwalk, 1940s-sailors-on-leave / bad-1980s-haircut feel.

And . . . → Read More: Wild, 24/7; or The West of Atlantic City

Drifting Along; or, Tumbling Tumbleweeds ‘R’ Me

The Dude totally got them. Roy Rogers harmonized for them in their self-titled theme song by Bob Nolan. The glamorous Supremes sang about them. Jack Palance recited their theme song. The Library of Congress, in 2010, honored them with their song’s inclusion into the National Registry.

Seeeeeeeeeeeee them tumbling down
Pledging their love to . . . → Read More: Drifting Along; or, Tumbling Tumbleweeds ‘R’ Me

Bonanza’s True North; or, Re-Orienting to the Cartwrights

Ponderosa Ranch meant wholesome family entertainment with guns and cowboys, and first lick of flame burning up the hand-drawn map of the ranch meant “Bring in your TV dinners, kids, Bonanza is starting!”

Ponderosa Ranch (Autry Collections Photo)

Check out the cultural landmark on display at the Autry National Center, a must-see museum in Los Angeles, chockfull . . . → Read More: Bonanza’s True North; or, Re-Orienting to the Cartwrights

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall; or, The Magnificent Seven’s Professionals ‘R’ Us

“We deal in lead, friend,” says Steve McQueen. And the 1960s western was born.

Exit stage left the single-minded lone gunfighter shooting it out with a single-minded lone villain, the only real conflict between the two being who is the fairest of them all. It had been an epic time–a time when one man’s word had more . . . → Read More: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall; or, The Magnificent Seven’s Professionals ‘R’ Us

Et tu, Cimarron?; or More Rules for Epic Westerns

As I was saying before paying work and Valentine’s Day and the call of the West in the form of watching The Stalking Moon, starring Gregory “Awesome Gimlet-Eye” Peck, epic westerns aren’t my cuppa tea. Or joe.

I’d just finished spinning my snark about epic westerns in an earlier post when Nuts4r2 “Awesome Gimlet-eyed Film Reviewer” called . . . → Read More: Et tu, Cimarron?; or More Rules for Epic Westerns

The Way of the Novel; or, Cowboy Up and Write Already

Writing a novel is not for the common mortal. And I have been all too mortal these days. Too whiney. Too morose. Too passive. Just like the hero of my novel (or so I’ve heard from my ever-patient agent). The End. Ho hum.

Or have I been pressed to set the novel-in-progress . . . → Read More: The Way of the Novel; or, Cowboy Up and Write Already

The Simple Western Things in Life; or, What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

What to do when villainy threatens from every side? When decisions become do-or-die cliffhangers? When walls close in and chasms yawn wide?

Focus on the beautiful things.

The very beautiful things.

The extremely very beautiful things.

The perfectly awesomely epic beautiful (very) sort of things. Like Tom Mix’s gimlet eyes. And Roy Rogers’s . . . → Read More: The Simple Western Things in Life; or, What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do