THUMBS UP … Westerns are Hitting the Theatre Trail!

200px-310_to_yuma_poster.jpgThat’s good news for all of us who love westerns.  I’ve seen 3:10 to Yuma and loved it, despite it’s rather cringe-in-your-seat violence.  I will admit to never having seen the original in its entirety, but I really thought the acting in this remake was superb. Then again, maybe it was my hunger for a good western on the big screen that swayed my judgement a little.  Who could argue with the acting talents of Russell Crowe and Christian Bale?  

The200px-assassination_poster.jpg newest movie to hit the big screen this week is The Assassination of Jesse James by the  Coward Robert Ford.  Jesse James by far, led a very tumultuous, intriguing life.  He lived from 1847 until 1882 and was the most famous member of James-Younger gang.  The desperado was most famous for his train robberies and 15 murders.

Some Jesse James facts:200px-jesse_james.jpg 

His father, Robert James was a Baptist minister and a farmer from Kentucky. He helped found the William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. He died in California prospecting for gold when Jesse was three years old.

Jesse James was shot by Union militia when he attempted an attack on them one month after the war’s end. Badly injured, Jesse was nursed back to health by his first cousin, Zerelda, “Zee” Mimms and they began a long courtship that ultimately led to marriage. 

Jesse didn’t become famous until he shot a cashier in 1869, when he and his brother Frank, robbed a bank in Gallatin, Missouri.  The murder was an act of revenge, mistakenly 180px-jessejames_headline_1873.jpgbelieving the cashier was Samuel Cox, a militia man who’d killed  “Bloody Bill Anderson” during the civil war.  The James’ brothers escape from that robbery and murder marked them as notorious outlaws. 

The James brothers, along with Cole Younger and his brothers, Bob and Jim, Clell Miller and others in the gang, continued a string of robberies from Iowa to Texas and from Kansas to West Virginia. They hammed it up in front of large crowds as they robbed banks and stagecoaches but they rarely robbed the bystanders. The gang turned to robbing trains in 1873 and only twice did Jesse rob passengers. His antics heralded Jesse James as a Robin Hood bandit.

With his gang depleted by arrests and deaths Jesse thought he had only two men left whom he could trust: brothers Bob and Charley Ford, but he didn’t know that Bob Ford had been conducting secret negotiations with the Missouri governor to bring him in.  By now, the railroads and express corporations offered a $10,000 reward for Jesse James.  In April 1882, as James prepared for another robbery, he climbed a chair to dust a picture and was shot in the back of the head by Bob Ford. 

It Is Rumored:

That Ford didn’t really kill Jesse James. It was someone else in that house living with his wife, in an elaborate plot to allow him to escape from justice.

That a man named J. Frank Dalton claimed to be the real Jesse James. He died in Granbury, Texas at the age of 103 in 1951.

The body of Jesse James was exhumed in 1995 and tests done had proven that they’d gotten the right man.

Brad Pitt as Jesse?

Brad fits the profile of a good-looking blonde Jesse around the same age. th-fcstil_0168bradlegends.jpg Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a fan of Brad’s ever since Legends of the Fall, but I worry that the movie might make Jesse out to be a hero, instead of the heartless killer that he was.  Even back then, the dime novels and news accountings for the South, immortalized him in a positive light. When doing research about the movie I learned that originally it was to be a character study of Jesse James, but then the 180px-jesse_james_dime_novel.jpgdirectors decided to make it more an action picture. They claim it’s dark and I hope that’s the case.  Jesse James was not just a bandit, but a heartless killer and hardly the “Robin Hood” they depicted him to be – he never gave back to the poor. I know I’ll be in line to see the movie coming out this week with hopes that they portray him accurately.

TOP 20 ALL TIME WESTERN MOVIES: 

1. High Noon – (1952) (Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Lloyd Bridges)
  2.The Treasure of the Sierra Madre – (1948) (Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston)
  3. Shane– (1953) (Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin)
  4. The Magnificent Seven – (1960) (Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson)
  5. Virginia City – (1940) (Errol Flynn, Randolph Scott, Miriam Hopkins)
  6.Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – (1969) (Paul Newman, Robert Redford)
  7. The Wild Bunch– (1969) (William Holden, Ernest Borgnine)
  8. Stagecoach– (1939) (John Wayne, Claire Trevor, John Carradine)
  9.The Shootist – (1976) (John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, James Stewart)
10. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly– (1966) (Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach)
11. The Searchers – (1956) (John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter)
12.Rio Grande– (1950) (John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara)
13. A Man Called Horse – (1970 (Richard Harris, Judith Anderson)
14. The Outlaw Josey Wales – (1976) (Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke)
15. Little Big Man– (1970) (Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, Chief Dan George)
16. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – (1962) (John Wayne, James Stewart, Vera Miles)
17. Unforgiven– (1992) (Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman)
18. Once Upon a Time in the West – (1969 (Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson)
19. Dances with Wolves – (1990) (Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene)
20. High Plains Drifter – (1973) (Clint Eastwood, Verna Bloom)

How many of these are on your all time favorite list?  Does the star make the western or does the western make the star?  And do you think these two new movies will compare to the classics?

Join Me in a “Pitt” Stop Tomorrow! New Westerns on the Horizon.

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So why the picture of Brad?  Years ago, when my daughter was in junior high, it was rumored that Brad Pitt had been sighted in the neighborhood next to ours. He had a friend that lived just blocks away. We had fun driving around after school and making “Pitt” stops  in our quest to catch a glimpse of the  star of Legends of the Fall.  To this day, my daughter and I joke about those “Pitt” stops.  Did we ever see him? No, but I sure have fond memories of our silly antics.

Learn about Brad and Jesse James in the new movie and a Top 20 list of the greatest westerns ever made.

Calamity Jane

calamity2.jpgDo you love stories and films about real Western characters?  I do.  One of my favorites is Calamity Jane, whose outrageous lifestyle and genuine courage made her a frontier legend.

The record of Calamity Jane’s life is a mixture of fact and fiction.  Much of that fiction was invented by Calamity herself.We do know that her real name was Martha Jane Cannary, and that she was born in Missouri in 1852. In 1866 her family emigrated to Montana.  Her mother died on the trail, and her father passed away the following year.  Martha Jane became the head of the family and eventually struck out on her own.           

By the time she was 13, Martha Jane could cuss like a man and had learned to like whiskey.  She was a fearless rider and a dead shot.  In 1870 she became a scout in the campaign against the Indians.  At this time she began dressing in men’s clothes.  Sometimes she even passed as a man.  Her heart was warm and womanly.  But men’s clothes suited the rough work she did.  Her appearance also made it easier for her male associates to accept her as an equal.           

 Around the same time, she acquired her nickname.  Calamity claimed it was given to her by an officer she rescued from an Indian attack.  More likely it came from her way of drawing trouble wherever she went.  As one old-timer said, “If she sat on a fence rail, it would rare up and buck her off.”           

 Calamity remained with the army until the mid-1870’s.  Then she met James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickock and rode with him and his friends to Deadwood, South Dakota.  In Deadwood she worked as a pony express rider carrying the U.S. mail through dangerous country.           

Legend has it that Calamity and Wild Bill were lovers.  She was almost certainly in love with Bill, but he was married to a girl back East and had no romantic interest in Calamity.  After Bill was shot dead during a poker game, Calamity chased down his killer.  The man got away but was eventually recaptured and hanged.Calamity remained in Deadwood for a time.  During the winter of 1878 she helped nurse residents through a smallpox epidemic.  After that she returned to the army for a time, drove freight wagons, tried ranching, and finally drifted to Texas.           

In 1885, at the age of 33, Calamity married Clinton Burke and later gave birth to a daughter.  No one knows for sure what became of the child.            

By now Calamity Jane was a legend.  Friends persuaded her to cash in on her fame.  She toured and made many public appearances, some of them with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  But hard living had taken its toll.  She returned to South Dakota where she died in 1903, at the age of 51.  At her own request, she was buried next to Wild Bill, “the only man I ever loved.”           

I’ve always wished someone would make a good, historically accurate movie about the life of this amazing woman (the Doris Day musical, delightful as it was, doesn’t count).  How about you?  What actress would you cast as Calamity?  Who are some of your favorite real-life Western characters?  Don’t forget to sign up for our contest!  We have some great prizes.               

A True Texas Medicine Woman

Hi! Lorraine couldn’t be here today so I’m filling in. I hope you’re not too disappointed, but she’ll be back on October 10th. Meantime, I hope you find this as interesting as I did.

gun-and-holster.jpgAt a time when strapping on a gun was as commonplace and as necessary as breathing, you can imagine that the odds of getting shot were fairly high. Treatments for gunshot were basic—dig the lead out if you could and if you couldn’t you were likely a goner. Not a good scenario when doctors were hard to come by.

When we’re crafting our western romances, we usually have to do a lot of research about various things and sometimes we run across truly amazing stories. Here’s one I stumbled upon when I was researching gunshot wounds and treatment. I thought you might like to know about one of the most unique women who lived in Texas.

sophie-herzog.jpgDr. Sofie Herzog who came from back East to Brazoria, Texas in the late 1800’s was quite colorful. The lady doctor’s arrival in the small coastal community of Brazoria created quite a stir. She was attractive, energetic and a highly skilled physician. Though not Texas’ first woman doctor, in 1895 she was definitely a pioneer in a male-dominated field of the Victorian era. Not only was Dr. Sofie out of place in her chosen profession, but her appearance shocked a good many. She wore her hair cropped short, rode a horse astride instead of sidesaddle, and shaded her face with a man’s hat. Needless to say, she set tongues wagging. But the doctor had obvious medical skill and little competition, so when someone needed assistance, they weren’t too picky about the gender. Soon folks were calling her simply Doctor Sofie. 

She became particularly adept at removing bullets from gunshot victims. One of her techniques was elevating a gunshot patient so that gravity would aid in getting the lead out. Only twice in her career was she unsuccessful in recovering a bullet. When she had accumulated 24 extracted pieces of lead from gunfighters, she had a jeweler fashion a necklace with a gold bead threaded between each slug. She wore it constantly as a good luck charm the rest of her life.

 

Word of her medical skills and pleasing bedside manner soon spread. Dr. Sofie made calls in her buggy or traveled astride a horse. Often, she rode on handcars or trains to get to someone along the rail line in need of a doctor. In 1906, the railroad formalized its relationship with Dr. Sofie, appointing her chief surgeon of the S.L.B. & M Railroad. But, when headquarters learned that a female doctor had been hired, Dr. Sofie received a polite letter asking her to relinquish her position. She stubbornly refused and remained on the line’s payroll the rest of her life.  

In addition to her medical practice, Dr. Sofie operated her own pharmacy, built and operated a hotel, and became wealthy by investing in real estate. She was very enterprising.

In 1913, the 65-year-old doctor married Marion Huntington—a 70-year-old widower—and moved to his plantation seven miles outside Brazoria. Having reached an age when many would have retired, Dr. Sofie continued her practice, commuting each day from the plantation to town in a new Ford—the first automobile in the county.Fourteen years later, Dr. Sofie died of a stroke at a Houston hospital on July 21, 1925. At her request, they buried her with her lucky bullet necklace, evidence of her surgical skills and charming eccentricity. 

Here are a few prices for medical procedures and assistance in the 1800’s: 

A visit within one mile    $1.00

Each succeeding mile — .50

Simple case of midwifery — $5.00

For bleeding — .50

Bullet Wounds — Between $1.00 to 10.00

For setting fracture — $5.00 to 10.00

Amputating Arm — $10.00

Amputating Leg — $20.00

For advice and prescription in office — $1.00

For difficult cases, fee based in proportion to difficulty.

But as was often the case, the doctor accepted goods in lieu of money. I haven’t heard of one doctor who refused to treat someone because they couldn’t pay.

Have you read about or know an interesting person with an unusual story?                                       Or maybe you’d like to comment on the cheaper cost of medical treatment in relation to today’s prices?

Also. . .If you haven’t registered yet for the Big Fall Bonanza Contest, better get your name in the hat. The contest ends on November 30th.

What wonderful posts we had today

horseheader11.jpgThank you to all you bloggers who responded with such delightful viewpoints about so many different things today.  I would like to especially thank Mary Connealy, Debbie, Paty, Tanya Hanson, Jeanne Sheats, Devon Mathews, Ava Wrightsman, Cheryl, Connie Lorenz and fellow Western Romance Authors, Charlene Sands, Pam Crooks and Linda Broday.

There were so many different things said that made me think and I would like to end with this taken from my last comment, which concerns the Western in general:

As far as the Western is concerned, I believe that as long as there is a spark of freedom still alive and well in the human spirit, there will always be a place for the Western novel.  It was here in the West where the freedom to be just who you are really took form.  It is personified in legend and a part of our heritage.  May there always be a bit of the Western spirit in all our hearts.

Have a wonderful rest of the evening and be sure to tune in tomorrow when your hostess will be Lorraine!

Those incredibly hunky Native American men

horseheader11.jpgGood morning bloggers!

 Okay, did the title wake you up yet?  If not, stay tuned.  We’re going to have a look at some of those hunky men on the covers of our books.  As you might know already — or at least suspect — all of my books are about the historical American Indian.  And some of the men on those covers are incredibly good-looking.  And since I don’t have access to others’ covers, if you will bear with me, we will examine some of my own.

whiteeagle11.jpgThis is a past book — or as we like to say — an older title.  Orginally part of the Blackfoot Warrior series, this cover quickly became one of my favorites.  The model is Joseph Anselmo — and isn’t he delicious?

Then we have another cover — again with Joseph Anselmo and again part of the Blackfoot Warrior series — an older title.  The interesting thing about this particular cover is that when it first came out, I was touring in Montana and was on the Blackfeet reservation for their Indian Days Pow-wow.  There is a fellow on the reservation who looks exactly like Joseph here — and I was fortunate enough to meet him.  

This was again one of my favorite covers.                                                     nightthundersm1.jpg

Then we have a couple of very older titles — these are covers of my first books — LAKOTA SURRENDER was #1 and LAKOTA PRINCESS was #2.lpcover11.jpglscover11.jpg

The model for LAKOTA SURRENDER was John D’Salvo and the lady is Cindy
Guyer.

And then we have the most recent favorite cover — however, I don’t know the name of the model for this cover.  If anyone knows who this model is, please let me know. 

red_hawk_s_woman1.jpgAbsolutely handsome.  Of course I have other favorites, too.  Here’s one of my most prized, most favorite hunks of all time.3-paul-31.jpg

Well, it’s my favorite, although the man is not Native American.  Instead, it’s my husband, Paul.

At the time period when I write, the men were not only handsome — George Catlin describes them in 1834 as rivaling a Greek statue in physique — but there were other romantic values in place, as well.   Integrity, honor, honesty, undying devotion to family and to the tribe were uppermost.  A Jesuit monk once described the Hurons as a tribe of saints.  While I don’t know that I would go so far as to say that, I will agree that at this time in history, there were values of life and liberty that at times seem to be lost in our world nowadays.  And so I write about this time period in history with the hope of not only entertaining the reader, but bringing back to mind as vividly as possible a time when honor was respected above all else; when money meant nothing and when the land and the creatures upon it were free as the wind.

What’s your favorite cover?  Your favorite model?  Your favorite title?  I’d love to hear about them, and even more so, why they are your favorites.  So come on in and let’s talk.

 

And Linda’s winners are . . . !

Okay, here we go. I have names in a paper cup. Since so many took the time to post I’ve decided to give away 3 copies of Once A Cowboy. I wish I could give everyone a copy

 . . . drawing names . . . 

The first name is Brenda Mazur!

The next is Bluecat!

And the last is Hope Chastain.

If they will send an address to Lw1508@aol.com, I’ll put the book in the mail.

And I want to thank all the great western authors at Petticoats and Pistols for inviting me. It was a blast!

Linda Warren  

TV Westerns for Coming Week

Of all times to run a slew of westerns the first week of the new season for many shows. Good grief! My recorder is going to be smoking. Here’s a list of what I found on the Hallmark channel, AMC, and TCM.

Wyatt Earp – the 1994 version  with Kevin Costner (Monday on AMC)

Return to Snowy River – Frontiersman returns for his girl – Hallmark

Rose Hill– this is a good one about four orphan boys find an abandoned baby girl and take her to raise in the West. Jennifer Garner (Mrs. Ben Affleck) plays the girl when she’s grown. It’s on Hallmark on Tuesday and Saturday.

The Unforgiven – Burt Lancaster and Audrey Hepburn (1960) – A Texas woman and eldest son fight Kiowas over an adopted daughter. Hallmark on Friday.

Red Headed Stranger – Willie Nelson plays a traveling preacher. Morgan Fairchild and Katharine Ross also star. Hallmark on Saturday.

The Outsider– A favorite of mine that I’ve raved about!! – Stars Tim Daly (who is in the new series starting this week, Private Practice) and Naomi Watts. Tim Daly plays a gunslinger who gets shot and wanders up to the home of a recently widowed Amish woman and her son. At the risk of being shunned by her people, she gets him well. He protects her from a big landowner who wants her land. And that’s all I’m telling. An excellent western in my opinion. The Hallmark Channel on Saturday.

Comes a Horseman – Hallmark on Saturday – Jane Fonda and James Caan – this is a western set after WWII. But Jane is fighting landgrabbing barons.

Rio Lobo  – 1970 western about a former soldier who seeks Union betrayers – TCM Saturday

Glory – Don’t know if this story about the Civil War is classified as a western or not. It comes on AMC on Monday.

I was severely disappointed when The Assassination of Jesse James came out Friday and it wasn’t in our theaters. I checked online and the movie is showing only in select towns. Dadgum it!!  🙁

Guest Blogger: Linda Warren


The good ol’ days…

adoptedson.jpg

I was so excited when Lorraine asked me to be a guest blogger. I write contemporary, and my stories are mostly about Texas and cowboys. I love, love westerns and online cialis canada at the top of this page I see some of the very best western authors. So I’m honored to add my thoughts to the blog.

I write about Texas and cowboys because that’s what I know. I grew up on a farm/ranch in Texas. My dad raised cotton, corn and cattle. He also drilled water wells and was the constable in our community. He was busy and often worked late at night. My three brothers and I rarely saw him, but Sunday was our day. The day we spent with Dad. After early mass and a big dinner my mom had prepared, we’d go to the picture show (that’s what we called it back then ). And yes, you guessed it, it was always a western. My dad wouldn’t watch anything else. I grew up on Gary Cooper (High Noon), Glenn Ford (3:10 to Yuma), Gregory Peck (The Gunfighter), and John Wayne (Red River, Rio Bravo). “Saddle up, pilgrim.” John Wayne couldn’t act, but it didn’t matter. His strong male persona was enough. eastwood-rowdy_yates.jpgWagon Train (Robert Fuller) and Rawhide were TV favorites at our house and I had a hard time taking my eyes off Clint Eastwood, Rowdy Yates. A-ah!            

I’ll always remember those Sunday afternoons. My brothers couldn’t wait for the shootout with the bad guys. They were always making gun noises during the movie. I couldn’t wait for that last scene where the hero rides away with the heroine, sometimes holding her hand. I just knew they were going to live happily ever after. I would be going, “Ah.” My brothers would be sticking their fingers in their mouths and gagging at the scene.

After the movie we’d go for ice cream and my brothers would be acting out the fights and the shootouts. I’d be daydreaming. At that age I wasn’t even thinking about being an author, but those Sunday afternoons and those westerns influenced me in ways I never realized until many years later.  Cowboys have a way of sneaking into my books. Maybe it has something to do with the unwritten code of honor and moral fiber I saw in the heroes of those old movies. Fighting for a cause and willing to die for it. Throw in a romance and it can’t get any better.

Do you have a favorite western when you were a child? Or even now. (Lonesome Dove had me spellbound. I’m still not over Gus dying.) I’d love to hear your favorites. From brodie.jpgthose who post a response I’ll draw a winner for my Feb Harlequin American, Once A Cowboy. (Take a look at that cowboy.)ford_glen.jpg

3:10 ToYuma is now showing here and I’m trying to talk my husband into going to the movies. I’m dying to see Russell Crowe in Glenn Ford’s role. Not sure if he can pull it off, but I’ll just enjoy watching him. And we’ll definitely have ice cream afterwards.

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Ah, the good ol’ days… 

Thank you,

Linda Warren

ADOPTED SON—Sep 2007 Super Romance

TEXAS BLUFF—Feb 2008 Super Romance(Book #5 Texas Hold ‘em Series)

ALWAYS A MOTHER—May 2008 Harlequin Everlasting Love

Going Cover Wild!

Being a newly published author, a new book cover is big excitement in my house. I spotted the email titled MAVERICK WILD Cover and called the famly in so we could all catch that first glimpse together. It’s a nerve-wracking thing, waiting to see how they’ve packaged your baby. It got me thinking about all my book cover preferences and hang-ups(loved Linda’s post on cover models). During my six years of pre-published struggles I’d often daydreamed about what my book covers might someday look like, and would send up a little prayer each time of, “Lord, please let it be scenery.” My other P&P posts likely give away my fetish for western landscape, so it’s noOne Wish wonder my favorite western romance cover of all time is Linda Lael Miller’s ONE WISH. One glimpse of that cover stopped me in my grocery-shopping tracks and had me slapping down an extra seven bucks–and certainly delivered hours of reading splendor. Didn’t matter that the scenery on the cover isn’t actually in the story—in MY ideal world the best book covers have splashes of ambiance and leave the character building to the author and the reader’s mind. I have even been known to grab a trusty marker and black out faces before they can tamper with the image the words on the page create in my mind. I was totally into the ‘cover trend’ in 2000, when I started reading romance novels, which seemed to be big names and titles with a few flowers or dangling spurs or another little prop. I do believe the toon covers hit shortly after that…and westerns became plain hard to find no matter the cover. The Larkspur Library makes my heart bubble with all those western covers. 

Having such a strong cover preference as a reader had me sweating bullets last October as I waited to see what Harlequin had whipped up for my very first cover. That first book is like a miracle and I couldn’t wait to actually hold it, and hug it, and stroke it, and…well, I kept telling myself I’d love it even if there were strangers staring back at me on the cover. I couldn’t rightly black out faces on my own books. While authors do get to send in Art Sheets with suggestions for the cover, when all is said and done, the cover art is truly up to the art/marketing folks, as that is their area of expertise. When I sat down with my Art Sheets for MUSTANG WILD, I was surprised to realize I actually wanted my heroine Mustang Wildon the cover. I felt like she embodied the book,  the title representing her wild nature—so I asked for a rear view of a cowgirl holding her saddle and a rope and wrote in bold letters–on every page– PLEASE DON’T SHOW ANY FACES. I was pleasantly surprised with their version—front view, partially headless heroine—I loved it!

When the Art Sheets arrived for the sequel, I still included my now routine plea of “No Faces”, and asked for a headless cowBOY, since the Maverick in MAVERICK WILD is the hero, Chance Morgan.  Fairly certain I’d get Chance on the cover, I held my breath while I waited for my first glimpse to appear on the screen, hoping like mad that he’d at least come close to the MAVERICK WILDimage in my mind–we have dial-up, so it was a slow unveiling…bit by little bit.  I have to tell you, as I let out a happy squeal, my husband’s first comment was, “Hey, they forgot to button his shirt!”

They sure did 😉   My boys are calling it my Ambercrombie cover  🙂

My MAVERICK bookmarks just arrived today!  I’ll drop one in the mail to any of our readers who’d like a little MAVERICK preview. Just email your address to stacey@staceykayne.com.

Is there a certain type of cover that really grabs your attention? Open ranges?  Blue skies? Hunky heroes ? Those sweeping romantic embraces?