My Favorite Cowboys by Victoria Bylin

the_bounty_hunters_bride.jpgI wrote The Bounty Hunter’s Bride for one reason. I got an eyeful of Tom Hart, the cowboy on AMC’s Broken Trail, and I knew I wanted to do another western. The guy isn’t at all good looking. He’s not hero material in the sense of charm, but he had more grit than any hero I’d seen in ages. That mini-series reminded me why I love westerns. It also took me down memory lane with thoughts of my favorite cowboys, both fictional and in real life.


john-_22.jpgMy favorite “real life” cowboy is my brother. The Bounty Hunter’s Bride is dedicated to him and I’m as proud as a peahen to be John Bylin’s sister. He has a Monday-through-Friday job, but on weekends he works cattle on a friend’s ranch. There’s a line in The Bounty Hunter’s Bride about quarter horses having big rumps and pretty faces. That’s from John. I’d have named one of the horses “Whiskey” after his favorite mare, but I went with “Ricochet” instead because it fit the story.


lee-horsley.jpgMy favorite fictional cowboys come from television. At the top of the list is Ethan Cord from Guns of Paradise. The show ran from 1988-90 and I loved every episode. Who could resist a gunslinger with four adopted children? Add a lady banker and it’s the stuff of historical romance. There’s no doubt that show fed my imagination. If it ever comes out as a DVD boxed set, I’m buying it.


marty-robbins.jpgIf you asked my husband and sons to name my favorite western song, they’d shout, “El Paso by Marty Robbins.” The song is almost fifty years old, but the story is timeless. A cowboy in love with a saloon girl gets shot and dies in her arms. I still choke up when I hear it, which is fairly often since I play music while I write.


outsidertim.jpgOne last favorite . . . I keep one book on my desk for inspiration. The story kept me up to all hours and when I put it down, I felt as if the characters were still breathing. It’s The Outsider by Penelope Williamson. Johnny Cain is a gunslinger rather than a true cowboy, but he’s one of my favorite heroes. Johnny wouldn’t have survived without Rachel Yoder, a heroine of true faith and honor. Maybe that the real reason I love westerns. At the heart of it, men and women stand side by side, fighting the same battles . . . and winning!


Vicki is giving away two autographed copies of THE BOUNTY HUNTER’S BRIDE!  Watch for your name to be drawn from the comments. 

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67 thoughts on “My Favorite Cowboys by Victoria Bylin”

  1. I dont know Guns of Paridise not sure it was on in australia. But I grew up on the Cisco Kid, Tim Holt, bonanza, then one that was interesting i think it was called “the barbury coast” not sure the to Dr Quinn midicine women. I loved the old westerns with Randolf scott, they were so predictable but good. good guy (scott) gets in to trouble arrested for something he didn’t do, then he ends up saving the day and the lady and never gets the lady for some reason! a few times he did.
    You book as I mentioned sounds interesting. I have read one LIH and loved it and want to read more.
    I am currently trying to find out how to order them from Australia, (waiting for a reply as to how much it would cost for a years worth of books paid for upfront.)
    Hope you have a wonderful day. Im off to bed now.

  2. The book sounds great can’t wait to read it. But I had one question does your brother come with it??? LOL I am just kidding he is a good looking cowboy I am sure all the women think he is hot.
    There is something about a cowboy I am not sure if it is all the muscles or you just know they have a great heart under all the tuffness.
    Just kidding about your brother I am married to a wonderful man it is just nice to see a good looking cowboy that is really out there.
    Good luck on your books.

  3. Hi AusJenny, I’m wondering if you can order the LIHs through the Australian eHarlequin website? They’re going to be offering a western every month, sometimes two. I’ve enjoyed them all.

  4. LOL, Brenda! Brother John is taken : ) He and his wife have been together close to 15 years now and I love them both dearly. It’s funny . . . John and I are a lot different, but in ways that count we’re very much the same. He’s the best brother in the world!

  5. Hi Victoria: Thanks for a great post on cowboys and books (two of my favorite subjects). I think it’s wonderful that you dedicated your book to your brother. He reminds me of cowboys that I saw in another book, “Still, Cowboys at the Start of the Twenty-First Century”, Tintypes by Robb Kendrick. It is a wonderful photographic journey of the life of a cowboy/cowgirl. The author also included interviews with some of the cowboys. It made me appreciate the hard work and dedication that these folks put into all that they do.

    Thanks for your post. I recently started reading Love Inspired Historicals and I really enjoy them.

  6. Vicki, it’s wonderful to have you back at Petticoats and Pistols! Loved your blog, and I just know you’re going to do fab at LIH.

    Best of luck with Bounty Hunter’s Bride!

  7. Hi Vicki! Great post! I didn’t realize you have a brother who’s a weekend cowboy. 🙂

    Congratulations on your new LIH! It sounds intriguing.


  8. I don’t think I have a favorite cowboy… the thing is I am not much a fan of them either.

    Good luck with your new book… the cover is great!

  9. Great post. Your book sounds great. I think it is cool that your brother is a cowboy.

  10. What a wonderful blog. Cowboys, Books and TV what has is there. I have never heard of “Guns of Paradise” but would look to see it.

    have to many favorite cowboys to name, but Tim in the “Outsider” sure looked goooooooooooood!

    Have never read LIH book but have added year to my find list.

    Congrat. on having a great brother. Family is the most important thing in the world.

  11. Hi Vicki, great post. I also love Marty Robins, he is one of my all time favorit country singers and yes I still listen to his music. He’s songs told a story. I to have my fovorite western hero’s in movies. Your books sound wonderful, I would love to win one.

  12. Hi Vicki,I too have a younger brother whom im nuts about,he’s country as the dickens but cant ride or shoot or nothin like that,just redneck,lol,but hey I love him dearly,hes into country music an nascar,probably wouldnt know one end of a horse from the other,im the one who went hunting an horse ridin with Daddy,glad to have you here today,welcome an by the way im Vickie too

  13. Hi, Vicki! I’m pretty new to reading Westerns but have discovered pretty quickly that I love them. I think you articulated very well the appeal of cowboys and westerns–men and women working hard to create a life in a beautiful land! Thanks for the recommendations, and I’m very much looking forward to your Bounty Hunter Bride! (And very cool that you have a cowboy in your family! You must be very proud!)

  14. Welcome. I look forward to reading your new book. It sounds wonderful. I love western romances, both historical and contemporary. There’s just something about a rugged, hard-working cowboy. A cowboy doesn’t even have to be classically good-looking to be sexy! His appeal comes from who he is.

  15. Hi Vicki!!

    Great blog!
    I don’t have a favorite cowboy. I just love ’em all!:P
    Your book sounds great. I would really like to win (like everybody here, I guess ;-))

  16. I grew up with Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, etc. Cowboys will always make your heart flutter!

    Your book sounds wonderful.

  17. I just love cowboys…I loved the Outsider but Sam Elliott is always my favorite. Best wishes with your wonderful book, Vicki. I enjoyed your post today.

  18. Hi Vicki! Good to see you at Wildflower Junction today. I LOVED the Outsider. That’s one book that stuck with me. And I thought Tim Daly was Perfect in the role. I’m a fan of Bonanza (had a crush on Little Joe, didn’t everyone?) and I loved the latest TV movies,
    Broken Trail and Comanche Moon. 3:10 to Yuma was a good remake with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale.

    I’m into Bride’s this year cause my daughter is getting married, so I just LOVE your cover. I know you’ll do well with LIH.

    Great blog today about your brother and your favorites!

  19. Hi Vicki! It’s such a treat to have you back on P&P. I thoroughly enjoyed your first visit and still remember your blog about preachers in the old West.

    I loved Guns of Paradise and haven’t thought about it in years. The title was later shortened to simply Paradise when they made it into a series. Ethan Cord was the perfect hero. He was tough and could swiftly dispense with the bad guys, but he had such a soft heart where those kids were concerned! Talk about handsome! And that mustache really made him sexy. My heart fluttered everytime he smiled. Like you, I keep my eyes peeled for when they finally release it on DVD. Don’t know why they’re dragging their feet.

    Tim Daly was simply the best gunfighter hero I’ve seen recently. Loved “The Outsider!” I’ve probably watched it twenty times. I never get tired of looking at him.

    Your book, “The Bounty Hunter’s Bride” looks so good. Love the title and the cover. I’m going to have to look for it. Good luck with sales!

  20. Vicki, I adore The Outsider, as well. My sissy and I are big readers, she however is a big regency era reader where I go for, well actually everything, LOL!!! Anyway, I find it amazing how the romance is so similar for all of them. How much emotion there can be and how depth, even though there might be nothing else in common but that. Maybe it is just the romantic in me, do ya think?!?!?
    Thanks for a great post, have a terrific week-end!!!!!!

  21. The Bounty Hunters Bride sounds wonderful and so does your brother! My taste have changed over the years I use to love Little Joe but i’m in to a more rugged type cowboy since i’m older now Welcome Vicki and hope you’re having a great time Liked your post!

  22. I thought I knew a lot of cowboys but you’ve mentioned ones that I never heard. I have some researching to do now lol. And how neat to have a brother that’s one!!!

  23. Your novel sounds great!!! Favorite cowboy?… I do not have one 😉 I have many!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  24. I went with my hubby to Home Depot to pick up a pedestal sink for the bathroom and came home to all these wonderful messages! I’ll get caught up asap…

    That book sounds fascinating. When I’m working on a book, photographs are a great way to stimulate the imagination. Photography is an art form. My hubby did it professionally for a while, back in the days of film : )

    Pam and Kate,
    I love hanging out with HH writers! I love LIH, but HH will always be home.

    Thanks for the well wishes…

    Hi Crystal,
    It’s interesting to me how John and I both grew up in Los Angeles but developed a love of the West. Maybe it was all that Marty Robbins music : )

  25. Hi Sherry,
    Ditto to family being No. 1 in importance. That’s why I went with my husband to Home Depot instead of hanging out online all morning. He wanted company, plus I wanted a nice new sink, not something that belonged in a gas station : )

  26. Hi Virginia,
    You’re so right about Marty Robbins and telling a story. A few years ago we made a long drive to Lexington, KY. My husband and son were sharing the driving, so I curled up in the back seat with my son’s iPod. Would you believe my teenage son had “Big Iron” and “El Paso” on his iPOd, “Running Gun,” too. Great stories to be sure!

  27. Hello Vickie-with-i-e,
    Brothers are really cool, especially if you need help moving and what-not. I’ll never forget the move we made from Pine Mountain Club to El Segundo, about 100 miles. The rental truck broke down and we ended up unloading at midnight. The other two guys bailed, but not John. He’s the best : )

    I like country music, too. I almost blogged on it but went with cowboys. My absolute favorite is Gary Allan, followed by Randy Travis and Josh Turner. I like Mindy Smith, too.

  28. Hi Fedora,
    Westerns will always be No. 1 with me. I like a good regency now and then, and unusual settings can be fun, but I always come home to the wide open spaces. I like the struggle, the challenge of taking on the land. Not that I’d really want to do it! I like my microwave : ) The computer, too : )

  29. Hi Cheryl C,
    That’s exactly the appeal of Tom Hart in BROKEN TRAIL. I don’t think the actor who plays him is at all good looking, but the character has a sense of honor that goes bone deep. That’s what had me itching to right another western, and how I got started with LIH.

  30. Hi Stephanie,
    Winning stuff is fun : ) I won a basket of goodies at a Washington Romance Writers workshop. I was stoked! That basket was chock full of great books. Good luck to you and everyone!

  31. Vicki, that’s exactly it–I LOVE reading about men and women taking on the struggle and challenge of settling in wide open spaces, but I couldn’t imagine being one of them for real… There’s too much dirt and probably bugs and really hard work! And no indoor plumbing… Thanks for writing the stories that let me enjoy it vicariously! 🙂

  32. Hi Charlene,
    I’d describe Penelope Williamson as a “Writer’s writer.” She has a command of language that’s poetic and sense of drama that tears your heart out.

    You must be so excited for your daughter! I love weddings : )

  33. Hi Linda,
    Guns of Paradise really worked for me. It came out when my youngest was a newborn. I remember being short on sleep, totally overloaded and looking forward to an hour of escape. Now I know what I liked so much . . . it’s a great romance.

    I like Tim Daly, too. Overall I thought the movie adaptation was pretty good. Loved the mood, the overall feel of it.

  34. Hi Amy,
    I know what you mean about a common thread in romances. Love is universal and timeless. One of the things I’ve enjoyed about the LIHs is the diversity of the settings. No matter what time period I’m reading, I look for the satisfaction of a well written relationship.

  35. Hi Lori,
    Ditto to changing taste in cowboys. Every now and then, I catch reruns of Bonanza. Little Joe looks like a kid, at least in the older episodes! It’s still fun, though. I love older TV shows.

  36. Hi Jeanne,
    I could name other shows, too. Did anyone else watch HIGH CHAPARRAL? How about LANCER? I wasn’t much on GUNSMOKE for some reason, but those two had me hooked.

  37. Hi Colleen,
    There’s just something cool about cowboys. It sure fits my brother. If anyone is in trouble, John’s there. He’s got the spirit for sure.

  38. Hey Vicki, I grew up on Bonanza, Wagon Train and Gunsmoke. Then moved on the High Chaparral, The Virginian and Dr. Quinn.
    I guess I was destined to be a romance writer though because of all those shows, and all those memories, the one episode that still sticks out in my mind is the one in Gunsmoke when Matt has gone off and ends up at a widow’s place (played by Micheal Learned of Walton’s fame). I still can picture Matt sitting in the chair and the widow gives him a look and goes into her bedroom, closing the door behind. The camera focuses on Matt, sitting there. A few mins later, he gets up and follows her in.
    Does anyone remember that? Did I remember it accurately?

  39. Hi Anita Mae,
    I never saw that episode, but it’s certainly intriguing! I watched Dr. Quinn after it had gone into syndication. I was just starting to write seriously and really enjoyed it.

  40. hey! your brother does make a good looking cowboy!!!!

    I grew up watching lots of different westerns myself and always loved the cowboys…

    there is just something about those good ole’ cowboys huh…always riding around on a horse..all dusty and sweaty….what makes them sexy?……working hard….a hard working, honest man is a sexy doubt!

  41. Hi, Vicki,

    It’s so nice to have you with us today and to “meet”
    your brother, John, through you! Some of the cowboys you mentioned are new to me. Both Honey and
    I are Western fans, especially of Gunsmoke, Wild
    Wild West, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Cisco Kid and
    Pancho, and, of course, the Duke himself, John
    Wayne. Thanks for blogging with us today!!

    Pat Cochran

  42. Hi Melissa,
    Hard work and honesty are definitely heroic traits. No lazy bums in *my* books! Seriously, the thing that makes my husband a hero to me is that he goes to work every day, thick or thin, for the sake of his family. He’s wonderful and at his job and it suits him, but I’m sure he’d rather be at the beach : )

  43. Pat and Estella,
    John Wayne is an icon. “The Shootist” was running on AMC last weekend. The ending to that movie is so fitting. “True Grit” is a favorite, too. I wouldn’t say it’s a great movie in the sense of some, but I love it just the same.

    I also like the one with Walter Brennan, Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson. Rio ???? It’s Rio Bravo or Rio Lobo. I mix those two up.

  44. A treat on Sat afternoons was when we were given a dollar and dropped off at the local movie theatre. One movie that stuck in my mind was ‘Two Mules for Sister Sara’ with Clint Eastwood and Shirley MacLaine. It had a ‘G’ rating back then. Of all the scenes, the smoking nun and the 2 men in the bathtub have been images I’ve carried with me since those teen years.
    Now, I have to enter a code so my kids can watch even Bonanza.
    Who knew?

  45. Vicki, i will check it out. i know some are at the bookshop but at $9 i am thinking with the dollar doing so well i may get it cheaper from america but will check out the aussie site today.

  46. Thanks for posting Vicki! I love cowboys. I remember growing up how I loved watching John Wayne and Gene Autrey movies and two and one of my favorite tv series was The Big Valley.

  47. Hello!

    First, I want to say that I am a big fan of your books.

    Second, I love cowboys and I love the ones you chose! How cool about your brother.

    I have always had a thing for cowboys. In my bedroom growing up (and I still have it hanging up next to my tv), I had a gorgeous framed print my dad bought me of three cowboys around the campfire at night with a tent and their horses nearby (I got it the same year I got my Louis Lamour calendar for Christmas *g*). The cowboys in the print aren’t necessarily the most handsome of men, but they definitely intrigued me. I remember lying there at night making up stories about the cowboys….

    Okay, so I took a break after typing the above because I got curious about the framed print and looked up the artist…apparently he is well known for his art (including western art)…Hulan Fleming. His work is gorgeous…sorry for the tangent…LOL.

  48. You’re having a great day, Vicki! What a delight to see all the cowgirls who turned out. I adore The Outsider, too. I just re-read it recently. I watch Two Mules For Sister Sarah whenever it’s on. I thought Broken Trail was awesome…Robert Duvall is such a realistic cowboy. I confess Gus McCall in Lonesome Dove just might be my favorite cowboy of all time. Not young, not sexy…just a real man who respects women.

    Thanks for joining us in Wildflower Junction!

  49. Honey tells me the movie with the Duke, Brennan,Martin, & Nelson is Rio Bravo!

    Pat Cochran

  50. Hi Cherie J,
    I remember BIG VALLEY. I liked Heath the best. Who knew he’d become the $6 million dollar man? Looking back, it’s nice to have had a western with such a strong woman. Victoria Barkley ran that place!

  51. Hi Jennifer Y,
    That’s it! For my birthday I want a Louis Lamour calendar. Every year my youngest son gets me a calendar for Christmas and he’s learned to look for landscapes or something with a western theme. I’ll have to clue him in : )

    I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my books. That’s food for a writer’s soul : )

  52. Hi Cheryl,
    Thanks for inviting me! Gus McCall is up there with John Wayne. LONESOME DOVE is awesome. Not only is it a great story, but the images from the miniseries are so strong. It’s a story I can see and feel.

    Best wishes and thanks again!

  53. Thanks, Pat. RIO BRAVO it is! Maybe I can *finally* stop getting those titles mixed up!


    Thank you all for visiting with me today! This is an awesome blog with awesome readers and writers! Happy Sunday to all . . .

  54. HI Victoria! Thanks for blogging at P&P’s! I am a huge western book reader myself! I enjoy reading about the different places, horses and of course the cowboys!

  55. “The Outsider.” Is that the one on Hallmark Hall of Fame, I think it was, and he has been shot when he first comes on the scene and falls unconscious?
    I have so many “favorite” cowboys in my memory, I can’t name them all. But, in the days we owned horses, my ever-lovin’ was a Jim-dandy on horseback. 🙂
    I love all the subjects writers come up with on the site. Fun place to be!

  56. I always include western romances on my TBR list. My father was a long-time reader of the Western and so I grew up reading Louis LaMour and Ernest Haycock. My favorite cowboy I read in a book recently was in Patrice Michelle’s Colt’s Choice. Wow

  57. Every Saturday morning, I would watch Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Sky King, Annie Oakley, Sgt. Preton of the Yukon among others.

    I liked Big Valley, High Chapparel, Bonanza, Wagon Train, The Rifleman, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Have Gun Will Travel, etc. They just don’t have programs like that any more. 🙁

    Our middle son, John, has every book written by Louis LaMour and quite a lot of Zane Gray books.

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