I was raised on Westerns. Bonanza, Rawhide, High Chaparral, The Virginian, The Big Valley and Lancer just to name a few. For me as a child, the Wild West was as close as my TV and my imagination. My favorite toys were my Johnny West, Jane West, Chief Cherokee and their horses, Thunderbolt, Thundercolt and Flame. I even had the cardboard bunkhouse and all the accessories. It’s really too bad a basement flood destroyed all that.
My fantasies were about Heath Barkley, Little Joe and oh my gosh, Johnny Lancer. Does anyone remember the scene were he jumped his palomino over the fence when the opening credits came on? My heart broke when the actor, whose name escapes me at the moment, lost his arm and leg in a motorcycle accident.
Then came a more modern western. Alias Smith and Jones. Both guys were hot and some fancy camera work made Kid Curry the fastest gun in the west. Yummy. And I was so in love with Pete Duel who tragically killed himself.
John Wayne movies could always be counted on for a great mud-slinging, name calling fight, usually with Maureen O’Hara winding up in the mud. And one movie was so good they made it twice, the Rio movies, one with a young hot James Caan and the other with a young hot Ricky Nelson.
Then suddenly westerns disappeared. Occasionally, you could catch one on a Saturday matinee on some random cable channel but they were hard to find until the Hallmark channel came along.
Thank goodness for Silverado. And while I’m not a big fan of Lawrence Kasdan’s screenwriting abilities, the cast was awesome. Brian Dennehy, who was so good, Scott Glenn, a young, hot Kevin Costner, Jeff Fahey as bad guy personified and James Gammon as the leader of the outlaws who had the best line in the movie. “I think there’s only a couple of guys up there and this asshole is one of them.” Loved it!
Young Riders. Young Riders fulfilled my Western needs. With a cast full of hunky guys who knew how to shoot and ride I was hooked. It also got me to thinking about my childhood western fantasies. The one about a girl named Jenny and her brother…
And Chase The Wind became a story. A six book series about cowboys and Indians and the joys and desperations of living and building a nation. I was inspired by Cowboys.
But inspiration is hard to find these days. Open Range was pretty good. I loved the scene were Kevin Costner didn’t waste any time and just killed the bad guy.
Outsider. Tim Daly. Enough said. Nope. Sigh…….Was he great in that movie or what? And somehow my copy is missing. I’ll just have to buy a new one.
And just recently, 3:10 to Yuma. If anything revived the Western, this movie was it. Everything you could want. Well it would have been nice if Christian Bale lived but still, a great, great film. I haven’t seen the new Brad Pitt movie with the impossibly long name but hey, it’s a western and Brad Pitt is in it so it’s got to be good.
In my books I have several cowboys. Jamie, Chase, Ty, Caleb, Jake and Zane. These guys are based on some real life heroes. My sons and their friends. If we lived a hundred and twenty years ago, I’m pretty sure this is how they’d act.
Cowboys. You just gotta love them. I’m pretty sure there’s still several of them around. I even know a few, which is kind of strange considering I live in North Carolina.
Now if I could just find my copy of Outsider….