Of Western Writing and Dreaming; or, William Post’s The Mystery of Table Mountain

Writers are badasses. They have to be. The stereotype of a writer is a coffee-shop-writing fop in a cravat not needing to cling to a 9-to-5 job, but honestly, to get images to incarnate as black-and-white correctly spelled prose between a front and back cover with ISBN number, and read and critiqued and/or praised by more . . . → Read More: Of Western Writing and Dreaming; or, William Post’s The Mystery of Table Mountain

The Man from Laramie; or, The One-Two Punch of 1950s America

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

One’s All You Need; or, Shane’s Successful Showdown Advice

Control your arsenal at all times.

Just as real-life sharpshooters should be aware of the number of bullets (think of Dirty Harry’s classic line that foiled the Scorpio Killer: “I know what you’re thinking. ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’”), a Silver-Screen Western Hero wannabe knows the quantity and quality of his or her . . . → Read More: One’s All You Need; or, Shane’s Successful Showdown Advice

One Name Stands Out of All the Rest; or, Bat Masterson’s Song of Myself

Every night that I remember to pray (after a good slug of whiskey to provide the appropriate gravitas), I pray for my family, my friends, my Urban Cowboy, my godless country (for if more Americans prayed, for example health insurance execs, we would have better health care). On good days I sprinkle in a.) when it’s . . . → Read More: One Name Stands Out of All the Rest; or, Bat Masterson’s Song of Myself

In the Beginning; or, William S. Hart and the Western Cliché Genesis

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

Real Men Drink Milk; or, Overturning Wild Western Clichés

The Number One Silver-Screen Western Drinking Cliché

Real men drink whiskey, right? Wrongo.

Example #1: Destry Rides Again (1939) In which the new sheriff in town turns every expectation the town has about him upside down.

Deputy Thomas Jefferson Destry, Jr., (James Stewart) arrives in town with a killer reputation to clean it up . . . → Read More: Real Men Drink Milk; or, Overturning Wild Western Clichés

Trying Hard to Sound like Gary Cooper; or, How to Talk Super-Dooper

The quintessential taciturn cowboy, lanky yet graceful, was branded “Gary Cooper” by the 1929 film The Virginian. The son of  a Montana rancher, the Coop could ride as soon as he could walk. Born Frank James Cooper, he changed his name per a casting director’s advice to “Gary,” which she thought would sound more rugged, like . . . → Read More: Trying Hard to Sound like Gary Cooper; or, How to Talk Super-Dooper

Novel High Noon Approaching; or, Gary Cooper as Seen Through the Eyes of…

I’m revising a novel at a sprint now, so some days will be bloggier than others! Not to worry–my famed western how-tos on achieving happiness through following the filmsteps of silver-screen western hero Gary Cooper’s Virginian will return tomorrow. Just keep practicing those squints and stares and epic pauses, y’hear?

As author Paul Green commented, when . . . → Read More: Novel High Noon Approaching; or, Gary Cooper as Seen Through the Eyes of…

Trying Hard to Look like Gary Cooper; or, How to Act Super-Dooper

What would the Virginian do?

That’s a worthy question, whether you’re seeking direction in love, life, business, or baking mac and cheese.

As I’ve said before, the Virginian’s a proven success story, whether in Owen Wister’s hundred-year-old best-seller or Gary Cooper’s first talkie (1929). The role made the Coop a star, and cemented the popular view of the . . . → Read More: Trying Hard to Look like Gary Cooper; or, How to Act Super-Dooper

Kemo Sabe Sucks Eggs; or Another of the Worst Silver-Screen Animal Hero Westerns

I never saw 1981’s The Legend of the Lone Ranger. And now, thanks be to Flapjack42, guest blogger extraordinaire, I never have to see this jaw-droppingly bad flick. Best of all, now you don’t either, especially with the following blow-by-blow account of what truly be an awesomely bad movie. All praise Flapjack42! Especially because that bucko . . . → Read More: Kemo Sabe Sucks Eggs; or Another of the Worst Silver-Screen Animal Hero Westerns