Zombie Cowboys; or, Why Western Henchmen Never Die

They’re the snarling thugs behind the mustache-twirling villain. The what’s-his-name-again guys holding prisoner the beautiful cowgirl in distress. The cannon fodder who aim their guns at the well-armed Silver Screen Western Hero. On cue they say “Okay boss,” “Let’s get him!” or just grunt. 

Let's get 'em, boys!

Henchmen come in all sizes, most ethnicities, one gender, and . . . → Read More: Zombie Cowboys; or, Why Western Henchmen Never Die

Get It On; or, Western Fetishes, from Michael Jackson to Appaloosa

Get it on! Another da bomb of a Wild Western Web find! Michael Jackson as cowboy, circa 1977. *swoon*

Even through the anemic strains of a stoopit disco arrangement, you can discern the moves that made MJ great. Taking on the butch character of a cowboy/gunslinger, Michael Jackson’s dancing transforms classic western movie clichés into fetish objects. Check . . . → Read More: Get It On; or, Western Fetishes, from Michael Jackson to Appaloosa

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

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

A Man’s Gotta Do What a Man’s Gotta Do * ; or A Handy Guide to Life’s Goals

The epically awesome goals of a Silver-Screen Western hero can be distilled down to five emulation-worthy goals, which can be mixed and matched for dramatic effect.

win a love interest
protect society
wreak revenge
get rich
know thyself

*(btw, title from George Jetson of The Jetsons, not John Wayne)

Of these, . . . → Read More: A Man’s Gotta Do What a Man’s Gotta Do * ; or A Handy Guide to Life’s Goals

The Girls of Westerns, part 1; or, The Quick and the Dead

I’m on a quest to find kick-butt cowgirl heroines, and although I appreciate the girl-next-door look of the singing cowgirls and I love-love-love the whip of Linda Stirling in Zorro’s Black Whip, I find that while there are many cowgirls that are hawtness personified, there are none with the on-screen charisma of a Clint Eastwood.
Is my . . . → Read More: The Girls of Westerns, part 1; or, The Quick and the Dead

To Hell on a Fast Horse; or, Epic Happiness Pursued by Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett

To Hell on a Fast Horse: Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid, and and the Epic to Chase to Justice in the Old West, by Mark Lee Gardner began as a story of two men on opposite sides of the law, and ended as two life stories that compete to this day: Billy the Kid’s self-satisfying romp . . . → Read More: To Hell on a Fast Horse; or, Epic Happiness Pursued by Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett

High Noon; or, Cramer Stewart CNBC Cowboy Stamp Showdown

The New York Times isn’t above reaching for hyperbolic language like a grocery store rag. I couldn’t help discovering–OK everything even remotely related to the West gets shot to my e-mail like a .44 caliber bullet so I can read these things greedily as if they were pulp novels, of which I have over three hundred . . . → Read More: High Noon; or, Cramer Stewart CNBC Cowboy Stamp Showdown

I’m Dreaming of a Clint Christmas

I asked him what his favorite western pulp novel was. (Brave, I admit–Clint Eastwood does not have a lot of time to make nice with visitors to his California ranch.)

In reply he did that squinty Clint thing (my heart simultaneously leaped and quailed–giving me heartburn later on in the day).

You know, I persisted, like Luke Short or Ernest Haycox? . . . → Read More: I’m Dreaming of a Clint Christmas