To Hell or the Pecos, by Patrick Dearen, is a fast-paced western that had me flipping the virtual pages on my iPad as fast as my finger could swipe. (Oh, I was riding a bucking bronco at the time, and shooting at bandits to save a rancher’s daughter. Just so you know I’m not a total . . . → Read More: Galloping To Hell or the Pecos; or, One Bucko’s Review of a Novel of Pursuit, Redemption, and River Crossings
Silence is golden. Combine that with a serious western hero, and you have gunpowder to burn.
(Just one of the many promos pics of Olyphant aiming a gun. Note the un-western tie.)
One of the best modern takes on the classic laconic western hero is U.S. Marshal Rayland Givens, from the master of gab, Elmore Leonard. Leonard’s dialogue–from . . . → Read More: Justified My Love; or, Elmore Leonard Updates Western Hero
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
True Grit has accomplished the impossible. Unity! It’s a miracle! It’s hope, change, and Old West dialogue all mixed together!
True Grit has bridged the red state/blue state divide, Frank Rich of The New York Times writes. It’s a hit with coastal elites and Middle America family-values families alike, something that the blue/red mix of voters . . . → Read More: The Purple States of True Grit; or, Bridging the Gap, One Movie Theater at a Time
Ah, the beauty of pulpish western cover art, filled to the brim with all the perfect 1950s western cover clichés, combined and intertwined in a perfect union of cinematic, pulp western majesty.
Can life get any better?
You might recognize the title, perhaps? Anthony Mann’s films with James Stewart, such as The Man from Laramie (1955) are . . . → Read More: The Man from Laramie; or, The One-Two Punch of 1950s America
A Silver-Screen Western hero never goes off half-cocked, meaning, in a metaphorical way, that one’s hammer, or firing pin, which you had thought you’d set at half-cock to keep your metaphorical gun from firing, fails just when don’t want it to, and your misplaced or uncontrolled rage shoots you in the foot, leg, your prize-winning cow . . . → Read More: Don’t Just Be Cool, Stay Cool; or, Jimmy Ringo’s Showdown Tips
Cowboys have it good. Women swoon in close proximity to them. Gay men do, too. Boot fetishists want to lick their boot soles. Everything about them is beloved, from the ching of their spurs to their slang.
But the real-life historical cowboy wasn’t so lovable. He could be a roughneck, a gangbanger, a kind of ride-into-town-get-drunk . . . → Read More: Shoot Up the Town; or, The Establishing Six-Gun Shot
Cowboy accidentally fires gun in hotel.
Is this what the Wild Western World has come to? “Accidentally”?
Aren’t cowboys–the rough-riding kind that gallop through streets shooting guns in the air, whooping and hollering and making schoolmarms dive for cover behind Randolph Scott–supPOSED to fire guns in town streets, saloons, and hotels?
Oh, movies. Right. Where . . . → Read More: What to Do When You Shoot Up the Town; or, The Cowboy Code in Action
In the 1920s, William S. Hart was the icon of the West. As well as Uncle Sam, a shining-knight cowboy, west-ho adventurer, and all-around patriotic patriarchal figure.
Thirty years later, John Wayne became the next icon of choice for manly men everywhere. Embodying home and hearth as well as risky adventure, Wayne’s shade of derring-do was equally . . . → Read More: From William S. Hart to the Dude; or, We Have Met the Hero, and He Is Us
William S. Hart bid adieu to the West and westerns as he loved them in the prologue of 1925′s Tumbleweeds, his last film, reissued in 1939.
He wore too much makeup (OK,unfair–all actors did in silent films), acted in a stilted manner (OK, OK, it goes with silent-film territory), and moralized about how little the westerns being made . . . → Read More: In the Beginning; or, William S. Hart and the Western Cliché Genesis