Category: Western Movies

Ranches, Horses and Cowboys, Oh My!

Lately I’ve wondered how an Iowa city girl ended up writing romances with cowboy heroes. Or, I’ve wondered about the reasons other than the obvious—that cowboys are incredibly sexy. For my first official blog as a filly at Petticoats and Pistols, I’m sharing what fascinates me about cowboys.

For me, a cowboy isn’t as much about the occupation as the state of mind and attitude. Sure when I think of a cowboy, I see a man in form fitting Levi’s or Wranglers. I see dusty, worn cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, but it’s more than that, too. There’s something about the way he moves in a slow, yet deliberate way, that says he’ll take his time with what matters in life. If you’ve seen Scott Eastwood in The Longest Ride, you know what I mean. If not, watch it now. I’ll wait.

Now that we’re done drooling over Scott, back to the topic at hand. Cowboys have a connection to the land that goes deeper than most people’s. That taps into my love of my grandparents’ farm in Decorah, Iowa. I spent hours wandering over that land spinning stories and imaging my life living on a similar place. Writing about my heroes and heroines strolling over their land or walking along Wishing’s streets fill me with the same warm affection. That intense bond with the ZSAER%^land was a big inspiration behind my Wishing, Texas series. For those heroes, their link Ty Barnett’s ranch, The Bar 7 and each other anchor their lives.

As to a cowboy’s attitude and mind-set—people see him as a loner, and he is, but I also see his strong tie to family. Family, however he defines it, is allowed past his guard. When I wrote my first novel for Harlequin, I wanted my hero so desperate for money he’d model in New York. But I wanted something different. What does a cowboy love more than his ranch and horse? His mama. That one detail told me everything I needed to know about my hero.

A cowboy has a sense of honor that factors into every decision. In my first Wishing, Texas book, To Love A Texas Cowboy, Ty Barnett’s world is turned upside down because of a promise to a friend. One he’ll keep even if it means dealing with Cassie Reynolds. This unwavering honor paired with a good dose of Alpha male, makes writing stories with cowboy heroes fun when I turn the tables on them. In To Catch A Texas Cowboy, AJ Quinn’s sick of hearing “let’s just be friends” from women. Poor cowboy. I had a blast torturing AJ giving him what he asked, but not what he bargained for, in New Yorker Grace Henry.

For me, these characteristics make cowboys fascinating, and oh so hero-worthy. Now it’s your turn. Tell me what it about cowboys makes you swoon or say that’s a hero?

I’m giving away a copy of To Catch A Texas Cowboy and a wine glass. Post a comment to enter.

 

Updated: August 1, 2017 — 8:54 am

The Magnificent Seven

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I love a good western flick, and when my boys (who are computer nerds and Star Wars lovers) pleaded with me to take them to see the latest rendition of The Magnificent Seven, they didn’t have to twist my arm very hard to get me to say yes. So last night (Tuesday is bargain night at our local theater – I’m too cheap to pay full price for a first run movie, even a western LOL), we finally made the time to go see it.

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It was a great, gritty western in the classic style. You just have to cheer for rough and tumble cowboys who find meaning for their lives by bonding together to help others.

original-magnificent-sevenNow, I have to admit that I never saw the original with Yul Brenner. After first meeting him as the king of Siam in The King and I, I just couldn’t quite picture him as a gunslinger. But as I perused the cast listed on the 1960 film, there are some pretty big names from the western genre – Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn – so I might need to reconsider.

However, I fell in love with the television series version from the late 1990s. It only ran a couple years, but I loved every minute of it. (It didn’t hurt that the cast was comprised of some pretty good looking cowboys.)

the_magnificent_seven-tvEric Close Magnificent SevenI had a bit of a crush on Eric Close at the time. You gotta admit, he makes a right fine western hero.

In the latest edition, Chris Pratt was the one who stole my heart. Gotta love a cowboy with a sense of humor along with a dangerous set of skills to ensure he is always taken seriously. Doesn’t the picture below just have western romance written all over it? The movie was about as far from a romance as you can get, but I can’t help but be inspired by  this picture. Makes me want to spin off on another tale altogether.

magnificentseven-faraday-emmaSo, have you seen the movie yet? If so, what did you think?

Who are some of your favorite movie cowboys?

Movie Quotes: You Can’t Say it Better Than That!

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I love good dialogue, especially when it delivers the unexpected or makes me laugh. Dialogue sparkles when it reveals insight into the character, adds conflict, or moves the plot forward. I also like dialogue that adds sexual tension—hee haw!  Here are a few of my favorite western movie quotes.

The Ououtlawtlaw Josey Wales

Josey Wales: When I get to liking someone, they ain’t around long.
Lone Watie: I notice when you get to disliking someone they ain’t around for long neither.

 

Once Upon a Time in the West

Wobbles: You can trust me, Frank.
Frank: Trust ya? How can you trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders, a man who can’t even trust his own pants?

True Grit

Rooster Cogburn: Damn that Texan, when you need him he’s dead.

The Magnificent Seven

Chico: Ah, that was the greatest shot I’ve ever seen.
Britt: The worst! I was aiming at the horse.

 Tombstone

 Wyatt Earp: You gonna do something or just stand there and bleed?

 Unforgiven

The kid:  Well, I guess they had it comin’.
Munny: We all got it comin’, kid.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

 Man with no name: See, in this world, there’s two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig.

 The Cowboys

Jebediah: Above all, forgive me for the men I’ve killed in anger…and those I am about to.cowboy

 Pale Rider

Preacher (played by Clint Eastwood): Well, if you’re waitin’ for a woman to make up her mind, you may have a long wait.

 Support Your Local Sheriff

Jake: You want me to tell Joe Danby that he’s under arrest for murder? What’re you gonna do after he kills me?
Jason: Then I’ll arrest him for both murders.

The Searchers

Martin: I hope you die!
Ethan: That’ll be the day.

Blazing Saddles

Lamarr: Taggart.
Taggart: Yes, sir.
Lamarr: I’ve decided to launch an attack that will reduce Rock Ridge to ashes.
Taggart: What do you want me to do, sir?
Lamarr: I want you to round up every vicious criminal and gunslinger in the West. Take this down: I want rustlers, cut-throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperadoes, mugs, pugs, thugs, nit-wits, half-wits, dim-wits, vipers, snipers, con-men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bush-whackers, horn-swagglers, horse-thieves, bull-dykes, train-robbers, bank-robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers, and Methodists!
Taggart: Could you repeat that, sir?

GWTWWestern movies aren’t known for love or romance, so I offer one of my favorite romantic quotes from Gone with The Wind:

Rhett Butler (who else?) You should be kissed — and often — and by someone who knows how.

And finally, here’s one from my soon-to-be-released book Left at the Altar

Josie (when the groom fails to show up for the wedding) You don’t suppose something might have happened to Tommy, do you? An accident?
Meg (the bride) It better have!

Do you have a favorite book or movie quote to share?  If not, which of the movie quotes above did you like best?

LeftattheAltarfinalcoverWelcome to Two-Time Texas:

Where tempers burn hot

Love runs deep

And a single marriage can unite a feuding town

…or tear it apart for good.

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Updated: July 28, 2016 — 2:27 pm

1870’s with a 30’s Twist

I love early western movies—those made in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s. These movies were made close enough to the times they portrayed—the 1860s-1890’s—that the sets, the clothing, the horse gear, have a fighting chance of being fairly accurate. And if they’re not accurate, at least they’re interesting.

This weekend I watched Zane Grey’s To the Last Man, which was filmed in 1933. It wasn’t the most accurate western I’ve ever seen clothing-wise…but it was interesting.

The story was one of young love redeeming feuding families. The Colby and Hayden families have feuded in Kentucky for generations. After the Civil War, Jed Colby (Noah Beery Sr.) goes to prison for murdering a Hayden, and the Hayden family heads to Nevada, leaving Lynn Hayden (Randolph Scott) behind to take care of the homestead. When Jed gets out of prison, he goes to Nevada, to seek revenge against the Haydens. Lynn is hot on his heels, hoping to stop the violence. Matters are further complicated by the fact that Lynn’s in love with Ellen Colby (Esther Ralston) and the two hope to marry.  I loved the final shootout, where people were actually reloading weapons, and the reloading took some time, just like it does in real life. The women are shooting as much as the men.

So, back to the clothing… no matter how bad an old movie might be, I can entertain myself looking at the fashions. Men’s. Women’s. Horse’s.

In this movie Randolph Scott wore buckskin. So did the heroine—and she
showed a fair amount of leg, even though the movie took place after the Civil War, probably in the very late 1860’s or early 1870’s. Was this accurate? Probably not–the leg part anyway. Nor were her 1930’s pencil thin eyebrows and semi-marceled hairdo accurate. But, since I love the 1930s, it was fun to see the 30’s influence on the 1870s fashions.

As you can see in the photo, Shirley Temple is in the film, as is a very young John Carradine.

If you want to catch To the Last Man, it’s available on YouTube.

 

Jane Porter: Life with the Alpha Hero

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We’re heading towards Valentine’s Day and I’m in the thick of writing my next, and final, Taming of the Sheenans story, set in Marietta, Montana and I love this series because it celebrates tough rugged men and equally strong women.

The series started with five brothers that grew up together on the Sheenan ranch in Paradise Valley and each of the brothers (including the lost brother, Shane, that shows up this April) is a true alpha hero.

American actors Robert Redford (left) and Paul Newman in a still from the film, 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,' directed by George Roy Hill, 1969. (Photo by 20th Century Fox/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

American actors Robert Redford (left) and Paul Newman in a still from the film, ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,’ directed by George Roy Hill, 1969. (Photo by 20th Century Fox/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

An alpha hero is my favorite hero to write, and read. He isn’t defined by money or success. He might be powerful and successful, but that’s not what sets him apart.

 

What makes him riveting reading is that he is almost always a masculine, primal male. He doesn’t need to be rich, but he must have the means to provide for his woman. And he can and will, because he is strong, mentally and physically.

But alpha males are not perfect. They make mistakes…maybe even more than other men…and that’s because they take risks and they aren’t quitters and they refuse to walk away from a fight where something important is at stake.

john-wayne-movie-poster-1971-1020222804These heroes may have painful pasts, too, and because they’ve had to overcome challenges and tragedies, they can be overly confident. Possibly arrogant.

But when they love, oh how they love. Once an alpha hero finds his match…his mate…he will never be content with another woman.

I adore reading and writing alpha heroes because they sizzle and are sensual in bed (whether they seduce the heroine before marriage or wait til after), but he’s complex, and he demands more from his woman. He doesn’t want a doormat. He wants an equal, and he’s going to demand a lot from his woman. Maybe even in bed.

UnknownA great alpha hero must know how to satisfy a woman. He must focus on her, and focus on her pleasure, ensuring she is going to have the most sensual, satisfying experience of her life. He’s a man that’s gifted in foreplay, and can, and will, put her needs before his.

Readers that enjoy love scenes, want to read love scenes where the hero does satisfy the heroine…but not just sexually, emotionally, too. A great love scene requires connection and time. In real life people are rushed and tired and there might just not be enough foreplay, but in a romance novel, the hero better make sure he has endless time and energy to please his woman.

4343437733_remembering_paul_newman_photos_02152009_43_820x1003_answer_3_xlargeAnd thank goodness this same hero doesn’t ignore his ranch responsibilities. We don’t read about him leaving his socks or boots all over the bedroom. His dirty Wranglers aren’t crumpled on the bathroom floor. His truck isn’t filled with junkfood wrappers. Even better, he always takes care of the livestock and the chores so that she doesn’t have to pick up his slack. No, the great alpha hero in our western romances is concerned about making life better for her. He isn’t there to make life harder, but easier.

images-1I love that.

I love that in a romance, we get a man who wants and needs his woman, but doesn’t want her trapped in the laundry room, or the kitchen.

Heaven.

Do you have a favorite type of hero? What makes him special? I’d love to hear what kind of man makes you swoon! (He can be real or fictional!)  Leave a comment for a chance to win a $15 gift card from Amazon!

TheTycoon'sKiss-SMALLWinner announced on the 10th!

PS: In case you’re interested in catching up with my Sheenan Brothers, Book 2, The Tycoon’s Kiss is on sale for .99 until Feb 8th so be sure to get your download soon!

 

Updated: February 3, 2016 — 12:02 am

Fun Movie Stats

Stats from boxofficemojo.com these are ranked by the money they made. This list is NOT adjusted for inflation.

Rank Title Studio Lifetime Gross / Theaters Opening / Theaters Date
1 Dances with Wolves Orion $184,208,848 1,636 $598,257 14 11/9/90
2 True Grit Par. $171,243,005 3,464 $24,830,443 3,047 12/22/10
3 Django Unchained Wein. $162,805,434 3,012 $30,122,888 3,010 12/25/12
4 Rango Par. $123,477,607 3,923 $38,079,323 3,917 3/4/11
5 Wild Wild West WB $113,804,681 3,342 $27,687,484 3,342 6/30/99
6 Maverick WB $101,631,272 2,537 $17,248,545 2,537 5/20/94
7 Unforgiven WB $101,157,447 2,087 $15,018,007 2,071 8/7/92
8 Cowboys & Aliens Uni. $100,240,551 3,754 $36,431,290 3,750 7/29/11
9 The Lone Ranger BV $89,302,115 3,904 $29,210,849 3,904 7/3/13
10 Back to the Future Part III Uni. $87,727,583 2,070 $19,089,645 2,019 5/25/90

The next top ten list if from Rottentomatoes.com this is ranked by movie review critics and how many good vs bad reviews did they get?

 

Rank Tomatometer Title No. of Reviews
1. 100% The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) 44
2. 97% The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 67
3. 100% The Searchers (1956) 41
4. 96% High Noon (1952) 47
5. 98% The Wild Bunch (1969) 47
6. 96% True Grit (2010) 259
7. 98% Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) 54
8. 98% A Fistful of Dollars (1964) 43
9. 95% Unforgiven (1992) 82
10. 97% Sweetgrass (2009) 58

The 10 Greatest Western Movies of All Time: by the Editors of American Cowboy Magazine

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

The Searchers (1956)

Red River (1948)

High Noon (1952)

Shane (1953)

Unforgiven (1992)

Johnny Guitar (1954)

The Wild Bunch (1969)

Greed (1924)

Some of these lists are about 100 movies long. But look at some of these titles.

Greed (1924) Johnny Guitar (1954) I’ve never even heard those titles let alone seen the movies. Rango? Wasn’t that a cartoon? Back to the Future III? Well, okay I guess that’s a western but I’d have never thought of it. I think The Lone Ranger was a huge flop. Yes it made a lot of money but it cost so much it was considered and disaster.

Are your favorites on this list? If not, what’s your favorite western movie of all time? I’m sure they’re on the lists farthest down but I’m a huge Quigley Down Under fan. I love Silverado. Anything John Wayne…but possibly my favorite is The Sons of Katy Elder.

Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card.

The Homestead Brides Collection

Through nine historical romance adventures, readers will journey along with individuals who are ready to stake a claim and plant their dreams on a piece of the great American plains. While fighting land disputes, helping neighbors, and tackling the challenges of nature the homesteaders are placed in the path of other dreamers with whom romance sparks. And God has His hand in orchestrating each unique meeting.

http://www.maryconnealy.com

 

Updated: February 19, 2015 — 9:55 am

Debra Clopton Loves Western Movies!

Debra CloptonHi Everyone! Debra Clopton here and I’m thrilled to be back on Petticoats and Pistols. Like everyone else here, I love cowboys and write Texas cowboy heroes in all of my books.

How did that happen?  Well, I live in central Texas, cowboy capital basically, in between Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. I’m surrounded by every kind of cowboy there is: Horse trainers, ropers, bull riders, calf wrestlers, and just plain hard-working cowboys, ranchers and cowboys at heart. Because of where I live, my research is fairly easy.  I watch, listen and ask the closest cowboy around if I don’t know about something.

But, since one of the things my readers love most about my books is the spunky interaction between my heroes and heroines, I fuel my imagination for those fun sparring matches through my love of cowboy movies. Oh yeah, give me a cocky, slow-drawling cowboy movie hero and I’m a happy girl. Fun western romances with strong cowboys who meet their match with strong-willed feisty heroines are the best. You know what I mean.  Hero and heroines involved in some good old-fashioned arguing fueled by undeniable attraction!

So let’s talk movies for a moment.

Here are a few of my favorite movies:

THE BALLAD OF JOSIE:  Doris Day plays a widow who has to fight the cattlemen when she decides to raise sheep in the middle of cattleDebra Clopton 2 Debra Clopton 1country! Now there’s conflict! What a fun movie this is and the sparks!!! I think I’m going to rent it this weekend because it’s been too long since I’ve watched it.

NORTH TO ALASKA! Oh, my.  Stewart Granger, goodness what a hunk. And of course John Wayne. Fast-paced quick word play and lots of those sparks between hero and heroine.

And then speaking of the Duke—my all-time favorite: McLINTOCK with Maureen O’Hara. Those two make me smile just thinking about them. A fairly silly movie, but just plain good fun. When I’m really getting into my hero and heroine having at it, these two and the chemistry between them always spurs me on.

I’ve talked about this one here on P&P before, but QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER has some of the best dialogue between Mathew Quigley and Crazy Cora that I’ve ever seen. There is so much about this movie that is wonderful. I loved it so much that for my novella A COWBOY FOR KATIE which will be included in the June 2015 anthology collection, FOUR WEDDINGS AND A KISS, I decided to create my own version of Crazy Cora! I had a blast creating Crazy Katie and her hero Treb Rayburn. Katie has her reasons, but she’s a pistol packin’, sure shootin’ little gal who’d just as soon shoot a cowboy for lookin’ at her wrong, especially if he happens to ask her to marry him…and there’s a bunch of them asking!

So, do you love cowboy movies with fireworks shootin’ off between the hero and heroine? I would love to hear your favorites.  Might be one I’ve missed and need to watch!

No PLace Like Home and Dream a Little dreamI’m pleased to say, that as of October 1st Love Inspired has just reissued in a 2-for-1 volume two of my earliest Mule Hollow books. They are peppered with some great tickle-your-funny-bone flavored sparks. NO PLACE LIKE HOME and DREAM A LITTLE DREAM, book 3 and 4 definitely have roots from my infatuation with old fun western romances. If you haven’t been to Mule Hollow yet, this is a great place to start!

Also, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve just completed a brand new Mule Hollow romance that will be the lead book of a 5 story collection. It is set to release Feb 1 so I would love for you to drop by my website here http://www.debraclopton.com/contest and sign up for my newsletter and monthly contest. You’ll receive my news updates and sneak peeks at upcoming book releases and surprise giveaways. There is a lot of fun stuff coming from me in 2015—I’m so excited but there’s too much to share in one blog post.

Okay, it’s been fun but I’m done writing and ready to talk movies—shoot me your favorites please…oh, for instance don’t you just love Harry Connick Jr in HOPE FLOATS—goodness, he makes my heart sing. Oh, and from my childhood memories, Dean Martin as quick-witted, fast-talkin’ cowboy with a funny bone makes me smile…I could go on and on but it’s your turn now!

I’m giving away 2 copies of one of my really spark-filled Mule Hollow books, HIS COWGIRL BRIDE to two y’all who share a movie with me.  Debra Clopton 3

 

Buy your copy of Debra’s new release, NO PLACE LIKE HOME,, on Amazon!

SHANE–BY CHERYL PIERSON

Cheryl2041I’ve had some surgery, which has cut down on my time at the computer, and so thought I’d bring back my post this week on one of my favorite stories, Shane.  Jack Schaefer’s book, Shane, has been classified in many sub-genres, but to me, it will always remain my favorite western romance.

Romance?  Shane?

This story cannot have a truly happy-ever-after ending for all the principal characters, so it normally wouldn’t make it to my “Top Ten” list for that very reason.  But the story itself is so compelling, so riveting, that there is no choice once you’ve read page one—you are going to finish it.  And it’s not just a story about a very odd love triangle, but also about Shane discovering that he is worthy, and a good person, despite what he’s done in his past.

Shane is the perfect hero—a drifter, a loner, and no one knows why.  He plans to keep it that way.  If only his pesky conscience didn’t get in the way, he might have stopped briefly at the Starrett’s homestead, then moved on.

But from the beginning of the book, we know there is something different about Shane.  The story is told through the eyes of Bob Starrett, the young son of Joe and Marion.  Bob is about ten years old, and his account of the people and action that takes place are colored with the wonderment and naivete of a child who will be well on his way to becoming a young man before the story is over.

SHANE512WAvcxk8L__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_The book starts with tension, as Bob is watching the stranger, Shane, ride in.  Shane comes to a fork in the road. One way leads down toward Luke Fletcher’s, the cattle baron who is trying to force the homesteaders out of the valley.  The other branch of the fork leads toward the Starretts, the homesteaders who will ultimately force Fletcher’s hand. Shane chooses that path, toward the Starretts, and the die is cast.

He would have looked frail alongside father’s square, solid bulk.  But even I could read the endurance in the lines of that dark figure and the quiet power in his effortless, unthinking adjustment to every movement of the tired horse. 

He was clean-shaven and his face was lean and hard and burned from high forehead to firm, tapering chin.  His eyes seemed hooded in the shadow of the hat’s brim.  He came closer and I could see that this was because the brows were drawn into a frown of fixed and habitual alertness.  Beneath them the eyes were endlessly searching from side to side and forward, checking off every item in view, missing nothing.  As I noticed this, a sudden chill, and I could not have told why, struck through me there in the warm and open sun.

In a nutshell, Shane drifts into the Wyoming valley, and is befriended by the Starretts.  Once there, he is quickly made aware of the brewing trouble between the homesteaders and the powerful local cattle baron, Luke Fletcher, who is set on running them all out of the valley.  Shane is firmly committed to helping Joe Starrett and the homesteaders who want to stay.  Fletcher’s men get into a fistfight with Shane and Joe in the general store, and Fletcher vows his men will kill the next time Joe or Shane come back into town.

Fletcher hires Stark Wilson, a well-known gunhawk, who kills one of the homesteaders that stands up to him.  Joe Starrett feels it is his duty, since he convinced the others to stay, to go kill Fletcher and Wilson.

Shane knocks Joe out, knowing that, though Joe’s heart is in the right place, he’s no match for a hired gun like Wilson.  There’s only one man who is—Shane himself, and that’s going to set him back on the path he’s so desperately trying to escape.

Shane rides into town and Bob follows him, witnessing the entire battle.  Shane faces Wilson down first, and then Fletcher.  Shane turns to leave and Bob warns him of another man, who Shane also kills.  But Shane doesn’t escape unscathed—Wilson has wounded him in the earlier gunplay.

Shane rides out of town, and though Bob wishes so much that Shane could stay, he understands why he can’t.  No.  Bob does not utter one of the most famous lines in cinema history—“Shane! Come back!” There’s good reason for this.  In the book, Bob’s growth is shown because of what he learns from Shane.  To call him back would negate that growth process.

He describes Shane throughout the book, and in many ways, with a child’s intuition, understands innately that Shane is a good man and will do the right thing, which is proven out time and again. So, he also realizes that there is no place for Shane there in the valley, now that the trouble has been handled.

Shane Movie posterimagesBob witnesses the conversation between his mother and Shane, as well, where so much is said—and not said.  It’s one of the major turning points in the book, though Bob, in his telling of it, doesn’t realize it—but the reader is painfully aware of it.  If Shane really is a good man, he will have no recourse but to leave.

This happens as the novel is drawing to a close, when Marian, Bob’s mother, asks Shane if he’s going after Wilson just for her.  He has knocked her husband out to keep him from going after the gunman.

Shane hesitated for a long, long moment. “No, Marian.” His gaze seemed to widen and encompass us all, mother and the still figure of father huddled on a chair by the window and somehow the room and the house and the whole place.  Then he was looking only at mother and she was all he could see.

“No, Marian.  Could I separate you in my mind and afterwards be a man?” 

Shane was Jack Schaefer’s debut novel, published in 1949.  It was honored in 1985 by the Western Writers of America as the best Western novel ever written—beating out other works such as Owen Wister’s The Virginian, Zane Grey’s Riders of the Purple Sage, and Louis L’Amour’s Hondo.

In 1963, Schaefer wrote Monte Walsh, a book that chronicles the passing of the Old West and the lifestyle of the American cowboy.

Though Schaefer never deliberately wrote for young adults, many of his works have become increasingly popular among younger readers.  Universal themes such as the transformation and changes of growing up, the life lessons learned, and rites of passage from childhood to becoming a young adult in his writing have been responsible for the upswing in popularity with this age group.

Shane movie poster 2imagesThough I consider Shane a romance novel, it’s a very different and memorable love triangle because of the unshakable honor of the three characters. I love the subtlety that Schaefer is such a master of, and the way he has Bob describing the action, seeing everything, but with the eyes of a child. If you haven’t read Shane, I highly recommend it—at less than 200 pages, it’s a quick, easy read, and unforgettable.

A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything.  A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it.  Remember that.  (Shane to Marian) 

A man is what he is, Bob, and there’s no breaking the mold.  I’ve tried that and I’ve lost.  But I reckon it was in the cards from the moment I saw a freckled kid on a rail up the road there and a real man behind him, the kind that could back him for the chance another kid never had. (Shane to Bob)

If you’ve never read Shane, I urge you to run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore or “buy with one click” for your Kindle. It’s a wonderful tale!

PRPGabriels Law WebI’m offering a DIGITAL COPY of my  western historical romance, GABRIEL’S LAW! All you have to do is leave a comment today with your contact information, and check back this evening after 9:00 p.m. to see if you are my lucky winner! For all of my work, click here: https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson

When Brandon Gabriel is hired by the citizens of Spring Branch to hunt down the notorious Clayton Gang, he doesn’t suspect a double-cross. When Allison Taylor rides into town for supplies, she doesn’t expect to be sickened by the sight of a man being beaten to death by a mob. When Spring Branch’s upstanding citizens gather round to see a murder, nobody expects to hear the click of a gun in the hands of an angel bent on justice. Life is full of surprises.

Brandon and Allie reconnect instantly, though it’s been ten years since their last encounter. She’s protected him before. As Brandon recovers at Allie’s ranch, the memories flood back, and his heart is lost to her. He also knows staying with her will ruin everything. She’s made a life for herself and her son. She’s respectable. She has plans – plans that don’t include him. But could they?

Trouble is never far away, and someone else wants Allison Taylor and her ranch. Danger looms large when a fire is set and a friend is abducted. Allie and Brandon discover they are battling someone they never suspected; someone who will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who stands in his way.

As Brandon faces down the man who threatens to steal everything from him, he realizes he is desperately in love with Allie and this new life they are making for themselves. Has Brandon finally found everything he’s ever wanted only to lose it all? Can Brandon and Allie confront the past, face down their demons, and forge their dreams into a future?

My Favorite Western Musicals

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Ever since my teenage days, I’ve been a sucker for a good musical. I love Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Howard Keel . . . this list goes on and on. There’s just something so delightfully cheesy and romantic about a man breaking into song to tell his woman how much he loves her. My husband sang in our university choir in college and has a base voice I love to listen to when we sit together in church. If I were dreaming up my ideal hero, he’d be rugged and handsome, principled and honorable, and he’d sing like Josh Groban. Sigh.

So, since I love musicals and adore western settings, I thought I’d share some of my all-time favorite western musicals.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

This one tops the list. Rugged fronteir setting. Men in desperate need of a good woman’s influence. And seasoned ranch hands that can sing and dance while they do their chores. Awesome! This musical sparked the idea for the Archer brothers in Short Straw Bride.

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Harvey Girls

OK, ignore the giant bow on her head that looks like it came from the Minnie Mouse Collection. Judy Garland is her usual spunky self in this story about a mail-order bride who is left on her own after her husband-to-be chickens out. She joins the group of Harvey Girls she met on the train and works to open one of Fred Harvey’s hotels and restaurants much to the frustration of the local saloon owner, who, of course, is our romantic lead. Oh, and did you catch the star of Murder, She Wrote in the cast? Yep, that’s Angela Lansbury as the statuesque dance hall girl on the right.

Harvey Girls

Oklahoma!

How many of you are already singing the title song in your head? Me, too. Such a fabulous soundtrack to this down-home western musical. I own the soundtrack and sing along to it more often than I should probably admit. Some of my favorite tunes are Oh, What a Beautiful Morning, The Surrey with the Fringe on Top, Kansas City, All Er Nuthin, and of course the rousing square dance number The Farmer and the Cowman.

Oklahoma

Annie Get Your Gun

I watched this musical about the legendary Annie Oakley for the first time last summer with my daughter. This one is about as corny as they come, but my daughter fell in love with the hysterical lyrics and overdone faces. She does a great Betty Hutton imitation now. How can you not laugh with songs likeAnnie Get Your Gun Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly?

Folks are dumb where I come from,
They ain’t had any learning.
Still they’re happy as can be
Doin’ what comes naturally (doin’ what comes naturally).
Folks like us could never fuss
With schools and books and learning.
Still we’ve gone from A to Z,
Doin’ what comes naturally (doin’ what comes naturally)
You don’t have to know how to read or write
When you’re out with a feller in the pale moonlight.
You don’t have to look in a book to find out
What he thinks of the moon and what is on his mind.
That comes naturally (that comes naturally).

 

What are some of your favorites?

Do you roll your eyes at musicals or do you sing along?

 

An Epic Western Classic: Lonesome Dove

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Recently Lonesome Dove was on television in its entirely, and even though I’ve seen it a dozen times or more, I watched a lot of it. It’s available on Netflix – and I have a DVD. What is it about these characters and their plight that draws us back again and again? Three-dimensional, well-drawn characters, backstories of Texas Ranger heroes and lost loves, a yearning for times long past and future hopes suck us right in. I’m still as mad today as the first time that Captain Call wouldn’t acknowledge Newt as his son.

Lonesome Dove, written by Larry McMurtry, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning western novel and the first published book of the Lonesome Dove series. Can you imagine the daunting task that native Texan and screenwriter Bill Wittliff took on when he adapted Larry McMurtry’s novel to film? First, he needed to rein in the sprawling 843 page story while still retaining its majestic essence. Wittliff’s work was also made more difficult because, in the novel, McMurtry uses the narrator’s voice to reveal information about characters and to describe events. To provide the same information in the film, Wittliff needed to create dialogue and provide visual cues that did not exist in the novel.

See an original costume sketch below:

costume sketch

A Southwestern Writers Collection is housed at Texas State and many of the original documents he used while creating this western classic can be viewed online at:

http://www.library.txstate.edu/swwc/ld/ldexhibit.html

The web exhibit features storyboards, costumes, including Gus’s boots, and even Gus’s dead wrapped body.

The epic four-part six-hour mini-series focuses on the relationship of retired Texas Rangers and their adventures driving a cattle herd from Texas to Montana. McMurtry originally developed the tale in 1972 for a feature film entitled The Streets of Laredo (a title later used for the sequel), which was to have starred John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and James Stewart. That didn’t happen, but thank goodness, McMurtry later resurrected the screenplay as a full-length novel. It deservingly became a bestseller and won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

The mini-series won six Emmy Awards and was nominated for 13 others.

Casting for this epic was pure genius. Who better to portray these multi-faceted aging Texas Rangers who to this day represent the epitome of courage, loyalty and everything we think of when we think “American West?”

Robert Duvall is Captain Augustus McCrae, co-owner of the Hat Creek Cattle Company, and considers himself the brains of the outfit. Generous, humorous, and lazy to the point of eccentricity, he serves as a foil to the more serious, practical Call. When not working, which he does as little as possible, Gus pursues his three chief interests in life: women, alcohol and cards. He is well known in the territory for his loud voice, superior eyesight and accuracy with a revolver.

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Tommy Lee Jones is Captain Woodrow F. Call, Gus’s partner in the company. Less verbose and chatty than McCrae, Call works long and hard and sees no reason why others should not do the same. A former Texas Ranger, he served with Gus when both were young men. Though Call has utter disdain for lazy men who drink, gamble and whore their lives away, he has his own secret shame, which he hides carefully from his comrade. Call’s ability to manage unmanageable horses is also well known.

Danny Glover plays a magnificent role as Joshua Deets, an ex-slave and former Ranger. When the story starts he’s a ranch hand at the company. On the drive, he serves as scout. A remarkable tracker and morally upright man, he is one of the few men whom Call respects and trusts.

Before he hit the NY streets as a cop, Rick Shroder played Newt Dobbs, young orphan raised by Gus and Call. His mother was a prostitute named Maggie Tilton, who died when he was a child. He knows his mother was a prostitute, and has no idea who his father might be. Most other observers, notably Gus and Clara Allen, are quite certain that Call is his father. Call eventually comes to this realization privately, but is never able to admit it explicitly.

 

After watching her on the hit series SMASH, I love seeing the beautiful Anjelica Houston as Clara Allen, a former love of Gus’s. She declined his marriage proposals years ago, and now lives in Nebraska, married to a horse trader who is comatose, having been kicked in the head by a horse. They have two girls, though she is afflicted deeply by the death of her sons. Though separated from Gus by many miles and years, she still holds him fondly in her heart. In contrast, she has utter contempt for Call. When Gus arrives at her ranch their reunion is bitter-sweet.

 

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Diane Lane is the lovely young Lorena Wood, a kind-hearted young woman who was forced into prostitution by her lover, then abandoned in Lonesome Dove. Lorena is silent, strong willed, and intimidating, refusing to submit meekly to her various admirers. Discontent with her line of work, “Lorie” hopes to leave the dead town and find her way to San Francisco. Gus is her champion, and who could ask for a better one?

Secondary threads with characters of July and Almira Johnson and Blue Duck are intricately woven into the plot and throughout the journey of the cattle drive. You can’t help but be enamored by the characters and caught up in their adventures. Watching the story unfold brings laughter and tears every time. The music that accompanies the panoramic scenes does a beautiful job of enhancing the grandeur of the vast landscape and feel of the untamed west. I often listen to the original soundtrack, composed and conducted by Basil Poledouris. Lonesome Dove spawned the follow-up miniseries, Return to Lonesome Dove.

 

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Trivia facts about Lonesome Dove:

* Robert Duvall, who has appeared in over 80 movies, told CBS that Augustus McCrae, the character he played in Lonesome Dove, was his all time favorite role. We can see why.

* The characters of July Johnson and Roscoe bear the same names as the sheriff and his sidekick who track James Stewart and Dean Martin in the movie Bandolero! (1968). Also, the sequence where Stewart and Martin discuss Montana resembles a similar scene in Lonesome Dove.

* The book, and the character Gus, is mentioned in country singer George Strait’s song “That’s My Kind Of Woman.”

So, fess up. How many times have you watched Lonesome Dove? Did you think return to Lonesome Dove lived up to the first? Have you watched Streets of Laredo or Deadman’s Walk which precede the story?

If you’re a western lover and you’ve never seen this movie, well, I’m just sad for you. But your situation is subject to change. Head for Blockbuster or put it in your Netflix cue!

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