The Making of a Hero
I’ve always loved cowboys. As a little girl, I wanted to marry Michael Landon’s character from Bonanza; Little Joe. I would have settled for Adam. Even Hoss. I loved John Wayne, Sam Elliot and Robert Redford in a cowboy hat.
What makes a cowboy a hero? On the outside, it starts with a swagger, the tilt of a hat, a grin that melts our hearts. But it is more about who they are. It’s Little Joe, smiling and cute, always trying to save the damsel. It’s Hoss, with his good character and strong convictions. It’s Adam, a little more suave, knowing what to say and sometimes getting taken by surprise.
John Wayne, sometimes a reluctant hero, but always a hero. Sam Elliot, well, I just always thought he was cute with that smile of his. Robert Redford. Need I say more?
Today’s cowboys are just as cute, although the movie world is sadly in need of a John Wayne, a Robert Redford or a Sam Elliot. The music world has Tim McGraw, and who doesn’t think it’s just the cowboy in him? And of course there is George Strait, with his smile and those famous Wrangler jeans. Amazing Race has our favorite McCoy brothers. They’re the real deal.
Before Amazing Race, after Amazing Race and during Amazing Race, Jet and Cord McCoy are cowboys. They’re country and proud of it. Cord is a bull rider who is known for always smiling.
I do love bull riders. They are the embodiment of the old west. They put their hand on their heart and pledge allegiance to the flag. They’ll bow their heads and pray for a friend. They get bucked off, kicked, stepped on and yet, they keep getting on the bull. With broken bones, dislocated shoulders, concussions and broken ribs, they ride bulls. They put a whole new spin on the term, ‘walk it off.’
Wyatt Johnson, the hero from my January Love Inspired, THE COWBOY’S FAMILY, showed up in my August 2010 release, The Cowboy’s Sweetheart. He was a secondary character but as soon as he showed up with his two little girls, I loved him. He was broken, hurting, and in need of a good woman to heal his heart. I knew from the moment he pulled up in his moving van that his story would be next. Sometimes a hero shows up, begging for a story.
That’s the easy part, when the character shows up and you realize they need a story. And then comes creating the story. Who is the character? What does he need? Who does he need?
Of course Wyatt Johnson had to be a cowboy. But he also needed those cowboy hero qualities. Like John Wayne, he would be reluctant. Like Hoss, he would want to do the right thing. Like Robert Redford, he just looks good in a cowboy hat and jeans.
A good hero puts self aside and rescues the heroine, even when she doesn’t realize she needs rescuing. And the heroine, in the words of Julie Roberts’ PRETTY WOMAN character, “she rescues him right back.”
Rachel Waters is just such a heroine for Wyatt Johnson. She’s a pastor’s daughter, loyal almost to a fault, and willing to put her own heart on the line for Wyatt and his two little girls.
So, all of you cowboy fans, tell me what it is you love about cowboys and who are some of the cowboys you think of when you think ‘hero’? Two lucky commenters will win an autographed copy of THE COWBOY’S FAMILY.