John Wayne made attaining happiness seem so simple and easy—stand tall, shoot straight, give the love of your life a ranch—and it is. That happy-ever-after goal will soon be found in Reach for the Skies: The Modern Buckaroo’s Guide to Happiness, a tongue-in-cheek handbook for discovering your inner silver-screen cowboy hero and getting the girl (or guy), the ranch, and most importantly, some two-fisted cowboy hero attitude.
Western movies, chock full of romance, drama, and (usually) happy endings, provide simple-as-black-and-white rules for changing the plot of your life from everyday to epic. Face it—only a silver-screen western hero knows exactly what will satisfy him and achieves it, whether it’s the love of his life in his arms or a lonely ride into the sunset, looking idol-worthy. How does he do it? And how can the average person do it too, before his or her ending credits?
Go ahead: Laugh at western movies’ tired stereotypes. Dismiss their stale plot devices. You’ll only doom yourself to a life of disappointment. Because what advertising—and film audiences and rodeo stars from Peoria to Hong Kong—have known for decades is that the American cowboy is a potent symbol of self-actualization, especially the silver-screen variety. They live lives of epic possibility in a West that isn’t just a geographical region, but a state of mind where the Code of the Silver-Screen Cowboy rules. Reach for the Skies will be the first time that this Code has been distilled into eight principles for a successful, engaged, and happy life. For many people living soul-sucking lives of monotony and ambivalence, what Reach for the Skies offers is the last and greatest frontier.
Reach for the Skies will explain how to get started in your epic storyline in the chapters of “Act 1: True Grit.” It’s a fact that only by being tested do you truly know who you are, so logically, a quiz is the first step on the trail to discovering your inner a.) shining knight of a hero, b.) flawed but cool antihero, or c.) singing cowboy. Thus will be followed by the careful application of the ABCs of western plots until humdrum daily life is filled with cliffhangers, and a love interest is right around the corner. Lastly, a handy flowchart will help you unlock your potential, transforming your inner stock character (such as the sidekick and tart with a heart of gold) into a movie star.
“Act II: Tall in the Saddle” covers what people from presidents to country-western singers know: you have to look the part. And how to put all those epic elements into making an epic life? “Act III: Bonanza” helps you develop action plans to transform a run-of-the-mill date into sizzling romance, or your mortgaged-up-the-wazoo house into your home, home on the range.
And finally, today’s key word is sustainability. Rounding up the last pages of the guide is a list of resources, from western-wear stores to western fan pages on Facebook; from museums for further western hero study, such as the excellent Museum of American West in Los Angeles, to western movie pilgrimage sites, like Deadwood, South Dakota.
Film stills and vintage illustrations will inspire; music and movie playlists will elevate everyday occasions to cinematic glory. And best of all, by the time you’ve followed the instructions in Reach for the Skies: The Modern Buckaroo’s Guide to Happiness, you’ll not only be well versed in what makes a western hero heroic, you’ll know what makes westerns so darn satisfying in the first place.
Until publication, check out emulation-worthy heroes and their movies, a quiz for finding your own inner silver-screen western hero, and more at Reach for the Skies!