Brenda Minton Makes a Hero

The Making of a Hero

What makes a hero? For me, I think Willie Nelson said it all when he sang these words: My heroes have always been cowboys, and they still are it seems.

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.

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21 thoughts on “Brenda Minton Makes a Hero”

  1. What I love about cowboys is that they stand up for what’s right (or it seems like they do)! I have to say one of my favorite cowboys is John Wayne. (I’m from the old school, I reckon)! He’s a tough one for sure. But he always stood up for what is right and stood up for his lady too. In fact I have a John Wayne magnet on my fridge that says, “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do”. And I guess he always did.

  2. You know I just don’t know what it is about a cowboy that draws me. It is all the things you mentioned but there is something else I just can’t put a name too.

    I love Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen (Wanted dead or Alive) I totally loved the way he walked), Chuck Connors (Rifleman) he wasn’t really all that good looking but there was something there.

    I too loved the guys on Bonanza I use to watch everyday after school I wouldn’t even leave the house until I watched it. Another favorite was The Big Valley, I absolutely lived Nick. I could go on and on I just Looooooooove Cowboys.

  3. I had a lot of favorite cowboys growing up. Their tall striking stance silhouetted by shadows in front of the camera were a definite wow sit up and take notice moment. From TV, I loved Tim Matheson’s character James Joseph Horn on the Virginian to Mitch Vogel Jamie on Bonanza. Yeah, I guess I had a thing for “J” names. LOL. I watched them all old reruns of Wagon Train, Cheyenne,Lancer, Cimarron Strip, Big Valley, The Wild Wild West, Bronco, Maverick, High Chaparral, The Virginian and of course Bonanza. My parents complained if it had a horse, I watched it. But there was something comforting about a man standing up to nature, not afraid of doing the right thing even if it wasn’t popular that struck a chord with me. I often felt I grew up in the wrong century but love the modern conveniences. Perhaps it was just the romance of the figure but whatever triggers my need… bring on the cowboy, bring him back, let me put my spurs back on and saddle up for the adventure, the ride, and romance! I’m in.


  4. Hi, Brenda! Thank you for a wonderful post! You are speaking to my heart : ) A true cowboy is a man of faith, patriotic, loves “the land”, is good to horses and dogs and tolerates cats. He adores his family and friends. He would give his life for his country and his loved ones. Upon first glance, all of these characteristics may not be readily apparent. Sometimes, cowboys hoot and holler. Sometimes, they are quiet and thoughtful. They are always worth a second look : ) Sam Elliott is my all-time favorite ultimate man of the West–there’s just no one else like Sam! John Wayne remains unequaled in his larger-than-life authenticity and universal appeal. Roy Rogers–so handsome and talented, and such a gentleman! The beautiful harmonies of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans–truly “Happy Trails”. My grandfather was a true western fan, and he loved to read Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey. I was raised in a western-loving home. We all gathered together to watch the great TV westerns like Bonanza, Big Valley, Gunsmoke, Rawhide and so many more. Particular favorites of mine are The Wild, Wild West and Cimarron Strip. I also adore James Garner. As a child, I loved him in Maverick. When I was grown, and saw him in Murphy’s Romance, I fell in love all over again : ) My current TV lawman obsession is Timothy Olyphant as US Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens in Justified. Not really a western, but Timothy is a federal cowboy who wears his Stetson like nobody’s business ; )

  5. I guess I have always loved cowboys because they stand for all that is good. They love country, family, friends, animals and all that is good. I guess my first favorite cowboy would have to be John Wayne. I also loved Little Joe Cartwright (Michael Landon) and Heath Barkley (Lee Majors). Now that I’ve ‘dated’ myself, I’d like to say that a cowboy always looks so good in a pair of jeans, western shirt, pair of boots with a Stetson or Charlie One Horse on his head. Ooooh…I think I just described my favorite…GEORGE STRAIT! Thank you for including his picture in your post…he makes my heart flutter….

    Blessings to you.

    Cindy W.


  6. I too love cowboys! There is just something about the way they carry themselves that makes my heart melt. And not to mention…they always treat women well, and will stand up to any many who mistreats a woman. I agree with you that we are sadly in need of another John Wayne, or Michael Landon. George Strait and Clint Eastwood are wonderful…but I would love to see an honest to goodness cowboy on TV every week!

  7. Morning, Brenda, and welcome back! You had me the instant I spotted Ben, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe. Sigh. I loved everyone of them at different points in my youth. And George Strait is the best shy, gentle cowboy.

    I’m looking forward to The Cowboy’s Family!

  8. Good Morning Brenda,

    Welcome to the Junction. What I love about cowboys is they are what they are and nothing more. They have a code of ethis that they follow

    When I think of a cowboy I think of Michael Landon and George Strait.

    I love the cover of your book

    Have a wonderful weekend
    Walk in harmony,

  9. It is funny you mentioned wanted to marry Little Joe because I wanted to also when I was little, later it life it was Sam Elliot, love that mans voice. I think of cowboys as being well mannered and respectful. They are my favorite type of hero and will always be. I grew up watching western and still enjoy watching them and love readign western romance.

  10. Brenda, welcome to Wildflower Junction. We’re thrilled to have you blog with us. I hope you come to visit often.

    What a great topic for your blog. Sam Elliot and Tom Selleck always spring to mind when I think of cowboy heroes. And when the two teamed up like they did for the Sackett series oh man! The characters they played were the embodiment of what a cowboy is.

    Congratulations on your new release! It looks wonderful. I wish you lots of success with not only it but future books as well.

  11. I don’t think you can go wrong with loving a cowboy! 🙂 There are not so many examples coming to my mind as I’m from Germany and haven’t actually seen a cowboy in real life but as a child I loved to watch Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie (does this count as cowboy?).
    Good luck with your latest book!

  12. Thank you for that great photo of George Strait- he’s the best singer of country songs. I think he is looked up to by all in his business. I feel he has the same qualities and character that John Wayne had. Great article.
    Your book sounds really good too.

  13. I like the sound of your characters from THE COWBOY’S FAMILY… add in a couple of kids and I really want to see how they come together to get their HEA!

  14. I love that you included the cowboys from the Amazing Race! Every time they say Oh, My Gravy, I smile. I’d also add Sam Shepherd, who, even when he’s not in a movie about a farm or a ranch, to me always has that great, at home in his skin, cowboy swagger.

  15. When I think cowboy I think John Wayne, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. I’ve been a John Wayne fan forever and my favorite movie of his is McClintock, I never get tired of watching it. Cowboys to be are strong, polite, brave and hardworking men who can always be depended on. That’s my idea of a cowboy.

  16. Wow! So many cowboy examples. My favs are George Strait, Sam Elliott and James Garner. But to really date myself, Ben Johnson, Joel McCrea and Dick Farnsworth. Those were REAL cowboys along with being MOVIE Cowboys.
    I live where the Movies make the Westerns. Check out for all your favorite old time westerns.

  17. Love those cowboys! They can be always be depended upon to be respectful of and faithful to country, family, friends, and self. My top favorites are
    John Wayne, Roy Rogers, James Garner, and Gene
    Autry. Among my early favorite reads were the works
    of Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey. I was especially
    glad to see so many of our family favorites listed
    today, although I didn’t see Richard Boone’s Pal-
    ladin mentioned. For my Dad if a show was a Western or had a baseball in it, we watched it!

  18. Hi Brenda! It’s great to have you at P&P! Cowboys are the best! My husband’s working tonight . . . Maybe I’ll watch “Broken Trail” for the 8th time. Tom Hart is one of my all time favorite cowboys, and Robert Duvall is classic.

  19. Stopped by because I am a HUGE Brenda Minton fan and stalking one of your favorite authors seemed like the thing to do 🙂

    I’ve got The Cowboy’s Family, just started it and it’s great.

    What’s not to love about cowboys? They respect their mommas, have great back pockets, look amazing in a pearl button shirt and just make you wonder what they look like when they remove their…HAT!!

  20. Ladies, I have a confession to make, and I hope that I catch a few of you coming back to this post. My kids hijacked my life on Saturday. Church hijacked it Sunday and here I am today feeling sick that I missed this!

    Tina, lol, thank you for stalking!

    The McCoy brothers are two of my favorite real life cowboys! (Amazing Race’s Jet and Cord) When I started researching bull riding (other than just watching it) Janet McCoy (their mother) was kind enough to give me a lot of bull riding details and even cute anecdotes from their lives.

    George Strait is definitely one of my all time favorites.

    I love cowboys and have plans to write about them for a very long time!
    Thanks again for having me and again I apologize for my major mix-up.

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