Shut up; or, The Eternal Silence of the 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

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

Trying Hard to Look like Gary Cooper; or, The Virginian and the Average Joe

Cecil B. DeMille once said that the Virginian was the ideal American–“short on speech and  long on action.”

Owen Wister’s 1902 fictional cowboy hero and DeMille’s 1929 Coop-starring western was a classic early twentieth-century success story. He got the girl, killed the bad man, made the West safe for suburban houses, and became master of his own . . . → Read More: Trying Hard to Look like Gary Cooper; or, The Virginian and the Average Joe

Denis Johnson’s Land; or, The West of "Nobody Move"

The cover of Denis Johnson’s new novel Nobody Move screams KITSCHPULPNOIR with red and yellow letters and bullet holes spangling the jacket.
Famously serialized in Playboy, the story has plenty to like, or plenty to dislike, depending on how cooked you like your femme fatales, gun-toting heavies, and convoluted plots. I take mine hard as nails, so . . . → Read More: Denis Johnson’s Land; or, The West of "Nobody Move"

Westerns 101; or, What Owen Wister Gave the World

Yesterday was Owen Wister’s birthday, the man who almost single-handedly created the Cowboy mythos. He’s both a masterful wordsmith and a cautionary example against using the Cowboy indiscriminately. 

Who the hell is Owen Wister? One of my favorite places on the Wild Western Web for all things Americana, The Library of Congress’s . . . → Read More: Westerns 101; or, What Owen Wister Gave the World