Denise Hunter Saddles Up

 

Hello Darlings,

Contemporary western romance author Miss Denise Hunter has saddled up and is riding for the Junction. She’ll arrive on Saturday.

Miss Denise has in mind to share some hard facts and truths about Montana cowboys. Seems she spent some time in Montana researching a new book called A COWBOY’S TOUCH. She came away with a whole lot of respect for the men who spend their lives on the back of a horse.

I know she’ll have you  hanging on her every word.

And you know what else?

The dear lady is toting an autographed copy of the book to give away. That should strike your fancy!

So hitch up your wagon come Saturday and head over to the Junction.

We’ll be waiting for you.

 

My Favorite Western Classic: LONESOME DOVE

call and mcraeLonesone Dove DVDLonesome Dove, written by Larry McMurtry, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning western novel and the first published book of the Lonesome Dove series. Can you imagine the daunting task that native Texan and screenwriter Bill Wit tliff took on when he adapted Larry McMurtry’s novel to film? First, he needed to rein in the sprawling 843 page story while still retaining its majestic essence. Wittliff’s work was also made more difficult because, in the novel, McMurtry uses the narrator’s voice to reveal information about characters and to describe events. To provide the same information in the film, Wittliff needed to create dialogue and provide visual cues that did not exist in the novel.

costume sketch

A Southwestern Writers Collection is housed at Texas State and many of the original documents he used while creating this western classic can be viewed online at:

http://www.library.txstate.edu/swwc/ld/ldexhibit.html

The web exhibit features storyboards, costumes, including Gus’s boots, and even Gus’s dead wrapped body.

 

 

The epic four-part six-hour mini-series focuses on the relationship of retired Texas Rangers and their adventures driving a cattle herd from Texas to Montana. McMurtry originally developed the tale in 1972 for a feature film entitled The Streets of Laredo (a title later used for the sequel), which was to have starred John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and James Stewart. That didn’t happen, but thank goodness, McMurtry later resurrected the screenplay as a full-length novel. It deservingly became a bestseller and won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

The mini-series won six Emmy Awards and was nominated for 13 others.

Casting for this epic was pure genius. Who better to portray these multi-faceted aging Texas Rangers who to this day represent the epitome of courage, loyalty and everything we think of when we think “American West?”

 

Robert Duvall is Captain Augustus McCrae, co-owner of the Hat Creek Cattle Company, and considers himself the brains of the outfit. Generous, humorous, and lazy to the point of eccentricity, he serves as a foil to the more serious, practical Call. When not working, which he does as little as possible, Gus pursues his three chief interests in life: women, alcohol and cards. He is well known in the territory for his loud voice, superior eyesight and accuracy with a revolver.

wardrobetesttlj.jpg

Tommy Lee Jones is Captain Woodrow F. Call, Gus’s partner in the company. Less verbose and chatty than McCrae, Call works long and hard and sees no reason why others should not do the same. A former Texas Ranger, he served with Gus when both were young men. Though Call has utter disdain for lazy men who drink, gamble and whore their lives away, he has his own secret shame, which he hides carefully from his comrade. Call’s ability to manage unmanageable horses is also well known.

 

Danny Glover plays a magnificent role as Joshua Deets, an ex-slave and former Ranger. When the story starts he’s a ranch hand at the company. On the drive, he serves as scout. A remarkable tracker and morally upright man, he is one of the few men whom Call respects and trusts.

 

Before he hit the NY streets as a cop, Rick Shroder played Newt Dobbs, young orphan raised by Gus and Call. His mother was a prostitute named Maggie Tilton, who died when he was a child. He knows his mother was a prostitute, and has no idea who his father might be. Most other observers, notably Gus and Clara Allen, are quite certain that Call is his father. Call eventually comes to this realization privately, but is never able to admit it explicitly.

gus and clara

Anjelica Houston is Clara Allen, a former love of Gus’s She declined his marriage proposals years ago, and now lives in Nebraska, married to a horse trader who is comatose, having been kicked in the head by a horse. They have two girls, though she is afflicted deeply by the death of her sons. Though separated from Gus by many miles and years, she still holds him fondly in her heart. In contrast, she has utter contempt for Call.

lorena

Diane Lane is the lovely young Lorena Wood, a kind-hearted young woman who was forced into prostitution by her lover, then abandoned in Lonesome Dove. Lorena is silent, strong willed, and intimidating, refusing to submit meekly to her various admirers. Discontent with her line of work, “Lorie” hopes to leave the dead town and find her way to San Francisco. Gus is her champion, and who could ask for a better one?

 

Secondary threads with characters of July and Almira Johnson and Blue Duck are intricately woven into the plot and throughout the journey of the cattle drive. You can’t help but be enamored by the characters and caught up in their adventures. Watching the story unfold brings laughter and tears every time. The music that accompanies the panoramic scenes does a beautiful job of enhancing the grandeur of the vast landscape and feel of the untamed west. I often listen to the original soundtrack, composed and conducted by Basil Poledouris. Lonesome Dove spawned the follow-up miniseries, Return to Lonesome Dove.

gusboots.jpg

Trivia facts about Lonesome Dove:

* Robert Duvall, who has appeared in over 80 movies, told CBS that Augustus McCrae, the character he played in Lonesome Dove, was his all time favorite role. We can see why.

* The characters of July Johnson and Roscoe bear the same names as the sheriff and his sidekick who track James Stewart and Dean Martin in the movie Bandolero! (1968). Also, the sequence where Stewart and Martin discuss Montana resembles a similar scene in Lonesome Dove.

* The book, and the character Gus, is mentioned in country singer George Strait’s song “That’s My Kind Of Woman.”

 

So, fess up. How many times have you watched Lonesome Dove? Only last weekend it was the AMC Weekend Western – and I confess I watched parts again. Do you think it stands up to the test of time?

 

Have you watched Streets of Laredo or Deadman’s Walk which precede the story?

If you’re a western lover and you’ve never seen this movie, well, I’m just sad for you. But your situation is subject to change. Netflix night!

Spaghetti Westerns…in Canada?

I write contemporary westerns for Harlequin Romance, but I think they always have a bit of a Canadian twist. It’s in our attitude, they way we view things, the things we say.  There are similarities to our neighbours to the south, but I love to celebrate the differences, too. And I love love love that Paul Gross took the bull by the horns and made the movie GUNLESS.

Paul Gross is the guy who was a Mountie in Due South and was well-known for the line, “Thank you kindly.” In Gunless he shows up north of the border in Barclay’s Bush as an outlaw, The Montana Kid, but he can’t find a single person to duel. If an outlaw can’t be an outlaw, what on earth is he supposed to do with himself, anyway?

The scenes are ripe with Canadian dry wit and practicality.  When the villain, played by Callum Keith Rennie, has the heroine, Jane in his sights, he says she’s not worth the bullet. “She most certainly is worth a bullet,” The Montana Kid argues, and an outraged Jane says, “HEY!”  When he asks where he’s ended up, a little Chinese girl states, “The Dominion of Canada.” “Oh,” he grumbles in his gravelly voice. “Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse.”

Dustin Milligan plays a shiny-faced Mountie at the local outpost, who happens to be sweet on Jane. Then there’s Graham Greene who plays the token Indian absolutely deadpan: “You gotta learn to tie up your horse, chief.”

But it’s not all one liners and Canadian politeness. There *is* a bounty hunter on his trail, and there is, of course, a shoot out at the end. And romance. Don’t forget romance! After all, a good outlaw needs to be reformed – and get the girl!

 

 

Dances With Wolves

The movie of inspiration, Dances with Wolves.   Made in 1990 — I can hardly believe it’s 21 years old.  It seems in some ways as if I were again there, looking at that screen and being taken in by the imagery and storyline.

The movie stars Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney A. Grant, Floyd “Red Crow” Westerman and Tantoo Cardinal.   Since it was 21 years ago, there may actually be some people in the audience that haven’t seen the movie, and if not, I would highly recommend it — but get the extended version — my favorite.

Beautiful picture of Costner and a wolf.  I’m not going to tell you the story line, rather, I thought I’d tell you of my impression of the movie and how it changed the direction of my writing career.

I first went to see the movie in the long ago (it really doesn’t seem that long ago for me, however).  So into the movie was I that I didn’t “get” alot of the plot line.  But I remember having nightmares of the “Pawnee” Indians that night.

The picture to my left is Rodney A. Grant — one of the handsome, handsome American Indians in the picture.  With his flowing black hair and handsome figure and face, he set many a heart to stir with his presense on the screen.  Now the interesting thing is that Grandfather George — whose full name is George Randall — is a Native American Actor and at the time of Dances with Wolves, he was teaching an acting class.  Rodney A. Grant was one of his students.  Shortly after finishing Grandfather George’s class, Rodney secured this role.  Off to the right here is Grandfather George at his 90th birthday party last year.  As an aside, time is weird, isn’t it?  While it seems like yesterday that I saw Dances With Wolves, it seems so long ago that we had that party.

Graham Greene was another actor who shined in Dances With Wolves.  His acting skills were showcased in this movie as he created at first fear, then intelligence, humility, humor and abover all, understanding.  As you probably know, he went on to star in many, many other pictures.

To the right here is a picture of Mary McDonnell, the beauty who captured Kevin Costner’s attention.  And she was a beauty.  I once heard Costner say that he wanted a woman for the role — not some young starlet, but a woman who might even have wrinkles.  I remember thinking at the time that Mary certainly looked to me to be a young starlet.  But  I guess that’s only my opinion.

I gotta admit I really like this picture over to the left.  The “butt up” picture as I call it.

Here the Indians are showing Costner the ins and outs of scouting.  In the background you can see the herd of buffalo.  I remember hearing again Costner talking about the scene where they were chasing buffalo and how macho those stunt Indians were.

I hope you appreciate the picture, too.  I thought I’d share a little bit of the score with you.  For any of you who read music, you can hum right along with the melody that’s played over and over in the movie.  As soon as I started humming it, scenes from the movie came back to me.

And now for a little bit of the trivia that I promised you.  I had long been a fan of Indian romance novels, but never wanted to attempt one because just the thought of all the research involved seemed daunting to me.  After I saw Dances With Wolves, I started reading everything I could get my hands on concerning the American Indian way of life.  I read and read and read until one day a friend of my said to me, “And now you have enough information to write that Indian romance.”  At the time, I didn’t think so, I’d given up on writing.  But then a plot came to mind, and … well that was the story that started my career.

Of course no story would be complete without showing you the picture of the villain of the picture — off to the right here is Wes Studi, an actor who has really mastered the art of the “bad guy.”  He completely scared me when I first saw this picture.  Later — much later — I met him at a First Americans in the Arts event — and he was, indeed, not scary and a very nice gentleman.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed having a look at some of the pictures from Dances With Wolves and I hope that if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ll give it a try.

Would love to hear your thoughts about this wonderful, trend setting movie.  So come on in and leave a post.  I may be long in answering today as I’ll be away from the computer until this evening.  But come on in and chat!

Cat Ballou

Cat Ballou,  Cat  Ballou

She’s mean and evil through and through!

How many Western movies can you name that feature a Greek chorus (a group of singers that comment on the story, as in the classic Greek plays)?  I can only think of two.  One is the recently released RANGO, with the little singing owls.  The other is the 1965 comedy classic, CAT BALLOU.

Like RANGO, CAT BALLOU is a spoof on Western themes.  The Oscar-nominated movie, which I just rented and watched, is just as fresh and funny today as it was 46 years ago.

Cat (Catherine) is played by a young, Barbie-esque Jane Fonda.  She delivers an entertaining performance, but it’s the supporting cast that carries the show.

Let’s start with our Greek chorus – comedian Stubby Kaye and the incomparable Nat King Cole.  You’ll be singing their Oscar-nominated ballad long after you’ve heard it – you’ll find a YouTube link at the end of this blog.

But on with the story.  Aspiring schoolmarm Catherine arrives in Wolf City, Wyoming to discover that the Wolf City Development Corporation is trying to take her father Frankie’s ranch.  Frankie is being threatened by hired killer, Tim Strawn, alias Silvernose (did anybody else catch the silver beak on the hawk in Rango?) .  When Catherine, her two likeable rustler buddies and an educated Indian named Jackson Two-Bears can’t stand up to Strawn, she sends for legendary gunfighter Kid Shelleen, played by Lee Marvin, who also plays Strawn.

This film is worth seeing for Lee Marvin’s Oscar-winning performance alone.  As Kid Shelleen he won not only the Oscar (for which he gave 50% credit to his horse) but the Golden Globe and pretty much every known acting award on the planet.  Shelleen arrives, a drunken bum whose pants fall down when he draws his gun.  From the moment he rolls out of the stage boot, this is Marvin’s movie.

Strawn succeeds in killing Frankie.  When the city fathers won’t punish him, Catherine becomes outlaw Cat Ballou and vows to “make Wolf City bleed.”  When her gang robs the train carrying the city payroll, that promise is fulfilled.  Moved by unrequited love for Cat, Shelleen cleans up his act (the scene is priceless), goes after Strawn and kills him.

Meanwhile, Cat has a showdown with the head of the Wolf City Development Corporation and ends up shooting him.  Arrested, she’s sentenced to hang, which leads up a rip-roaring final action scene.  If you haven’t seen CAT BALLOU, you’ve missed out.  If you have, it’s worth a second look for old times’ sake.

Here’s the link to the song.  Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xABVf_1pq5k

Carol Ann Didier’s Drawing

 

Miss Carol thanks everyone who took the time on such a hot, hot day to come by and chat. She’s such a dear lady and so talented.

I tallied all the names and……………..

VICKIE COUTURIER

came out the winner.

Woo-Hoo! I’m dancing a jig for you, Vickie. To claim your prize, send your mailing particulars to Miss Carol Ann at cadidier1@bellsouth.net and she won’t lollygag around.

Don’t forget Western Movie Week here at the Junction that starts tomorrow!

Don’t Miss Western Movie Week!

 

In case you forgot, WESTERN MOVIE WEEK begins tomorrow and will wind up on Friday, July 1st.

Each day will feature a movie. The Filly will give us the lowdown on it and maybe it’ll tickle your fancy and have you itching to watch it. Some you might have seen and some you might’ve missed when it came out.

My mule Jasper and me have a regular movie night. He likes those cowboys as much as I do.

So be sure to get your behinds in gear and settle in.

Or else I’ll have to shoot ya!

Filly New Release Update – July 2011

Listed below are the upcoming releases from our talented writers here at Wildflower Junction.  To purchase any of these fine books, just click on the book covers.  And to learn more about the authors, click on thier names.

A FAMILY FOR THE RUGGED RANCHER
By Donna Alward

Instant family – just add daddy!

Gruff rancher Luke Evans’s new live-in housekeeper comes with an unexpected addition…a small son! Emily may be pretty –  and even Luke has to grudgingly admit little Sam’s quite cute – but a family is not on this die-hard bachelor’s wish list!

Luke’s plan? To spend as much time away from the house as possible. But, slowly charmed by Emily’s sunny smile and Sam’s infectious giggle, Luke begins to wonder if there might be room on his ranch – and in his heart – for a family after all…

 

 

GIVE ME A TEXAS OUTLAW
Multi-author Anthology

Fearless and irresistible, outlaws are the orginial bad boys. Now New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas and Linda Broday, Phyliss Miranda, and DeWanna Pace offer up four sexy and romantic stories for women who love men who know how to pack heat…..

From author Linda Broday
Trouble In Petticoats 

Larissa Patrick’s baby sister has been kidnapped and only one man can save the girl: gunfighter Johnny Bravo. Rescuing the child is the easy part–but getting Larissa and her sister home without losing his heart will take the discipline of a saint. And Johnny’s no saint….. 

From author Phyliss Miranda
Texas Flame

Lawman Ethan Kimble is finally face to face with his quarry: socialite and bank robber Savannah Parker. The only thing between them is a Winchester pointed at his heart–and some undeniable sparks. If Kimble can tame the Texas Flame, they may ignite a passion that breaks every rule…..


SECOND CHANCE FAMILY
By Winnie Griggs

Love was out of the question… until it became the only solution.

Take one sheriff who is convinced marriage is absolutely not for him and one widow who is all about the importance of family, then add two mistreated orphans desperate for a loving home and a busybody neighbor determined to send them packing, and you have all the makings of a head-butting confrontation set to rock the sleepy town of Knotty Pine, Texas.  

Sheriff Mitch Hammond is willing to take on the whole town to do right by the children and Cora Beth Collins – a lady he’s begun to think of as more than a friend.  But finding the courage to let go of his past so he can grab a second chance at love is another matter altogether…

SANCTUARY  

 
By  Tanya Hanson 

A beautiful plus-one at a wedding, a hunky cowboy..autumn leaves and rugged horse trails. The perfect setting to unite two healing souls… 

Ranch foreman and single dad Hooper Martin is ready to put his health and life back on track after battling cancer…including re-entering the dating scene. His little girl sure could use a mother. Falling hard for wedding guest Malia Cameron makes perfect sense to him: she’s a survivor, too. 

Mallie has put her heart on hold, knowing she will never recover from her struggle with a brain tumor. She can’t promise a future to anybody and vows never to fall in love. Letting Hooper Martin into her life would be a big mistake. But his good looks take her breath away, and his living faith starts to gentle her confusion about Who’s really in charge.

TIME PLAINS DRIFTER
By Cheryl Pierson

Trapped in Indian Territory of 1895 by a quirk of nature, high school teacher Jenni Dalton must find a way to get her seven students back to 2010. 

Handsome U.S. Marshal Rafe d’Angelico seems like the answer to her prayers; he is, after all, an angel. 

In a race against time and evil, Rafe has one chance to save Jenni’s life and her soul from The Dark One—but can their love survive?

CARRYING THE RANCHER’S HEIR   
By Charlene Sands

The passionate, impulsive evening Tagg Worth had spent in the arms of brown-eyed beauty Callie Sullivan was madness. Visions of their tryst still haunted him, but their one-night stand was a mistake the wealthy rancher swore he would not repeat. Hawk Sullivan’s daughter was strictly off-limits—especially since Hawk’s main goal in life was to put Tagg out of business.

Then, suddenly, there was a baby on the way. His baby. Tagg vowed to do the right thing, no matter what it cost him.

But his inconvenient new bride tempted his solitary heart down a path a Worth didn’t dare follow….

HER WYOMING MAN
By Cheryl St. John

The territorial board of directors thinks widowed Nathan Lantry needs a wife in order to be elected governor. Nathan isn’t interested in the group of mail-order brides who arrive in Sweetwater… until he lays eyes on the beautiful, elegant and cultured Ella Reed. She’s already had a score of proposals, but for some reason it’s his offer she accepts.

Ella is determined to be a respectable wife and make her new husband happy. She’s never spent time with children or done anything fun until now–so every day is a discovery and an adventure. This new life is better than she could ever have dreamed. She has a family, friends and plenty of money. So why isn’t she deliriously happy?

Welcome Carol Ann Didier


Hello readers of P&P. I am always thrilled to be invited to write something for your – hopefully – reading pleasure. I have always loved our westward expansion and in high school every term paper and book report I did was on our Native Americans and the old west. Especially, after I fell in love with Jeff Chandler when he played Cochise in BROKEN AROW. Now that goes back, some, but he inspired me like no one else ever did. I was 12 years old at the time when you develop crushes on movie stars. Later as an adult I had a chance to visit the very places I had written about. I even visited the place where Cochise had one of his strongholds.

I never planned to write a book but when my son dared me to do it one day, I accepted his dare. I knew if I wrote anything it would be about Apaches and Cochise would be in there somewhere. When I sat down to write “Apache Moon,” I didn’t realize how much history I had absorbed or learned over the years and the book just flowed out of me and was finished in three months. When I finished it and asked my son to read it, I waited breathlessly for his opinion. His only comment was,” It reads like a book.”  So much for a fan in the family!

But once I started the book of my heart, I found I could not stop and it ended up a trilogy. When it got published, the title was changed to APACHE WARRIOR and the publisher wanted it to end with the hero, Kayto, and heroine, Amanda, getting married in the first book. I agreed, but it broke my heart. Later, I had so many requests for the “rest of the story” and “what happened to the other characters in the book,’ that I finally did the sequels, APACHE PROMISE, and APACHE WINTER. They are both up on the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble NOOK as of June 7, 2011.

While in all my books the underlying story is a romance, I have included actual historical events and some notable persons from the time period. I researched the Apache Life-Way, their beliefs and customs and tried to be as accurate as possible in depicting them in a positive light. In fact, I probably lean more to the Apache’s viewpoint rather than the white man’s many times. With in the three books I try to show that Love knows no color, creed or race. It happens in the heart, when and where you least expect it, and if allowed to grow, it can conquer differences in culture, hatred, and personal loss.

APACHE WARRIOR begins the saga of a Baltimore belle and a Chiricahua brave caught up in a taboo love that has the power to heal or harm a broken people. The Civil War is about to break out in the east leaving two sisters alone in a city filling up with strangers and military personnel after the tragic death of their parents. They feel their only hope in an uncle who went west in the California gold rush and is now living in Tucson, Arizona. It is a perilous journey for two young ladies but they go anyway.  Their stagecoach is stopped at Apache Pass and the leader, Kayto, who plans to give Amanda to his mother as a slave, takes Amanda. Her defiance of him and her poking one of his braves in the belly with her parasol arouses his interest and later his desire. Because of her independent ways and broad-mindedness instilled in her by her father, she refuses to be treated as a slave and wins Kayto’s whole family over. Kayto and Amanda fall in love in spite of their differences only to be torn apart when Cochise is betrayed by a white army officer and goes on a relentless war of revenge for the next 11 years.

APACHE PROMISE, book 2, continues the story of the star-crossed lovers and the years following Cochise’s declaration to rid the southwest of all white-eyes. It also develops the love story of the sister, Candice, and the gambler, Damon Knight, who was on the stage with the girls. Kayto and Amanda have two poignant meetings during this time but know they cannot be together for now. Promises are made but they may not be able to be kept with the land on fire.

APACHE WINTER, book 3, tells of the sad, closing chapters in the life of the Chiricahuas. It is the end of the wild and free Apache. In 1870, a former army scout, prospector, and rancher, Tom Jeffords, comes to Tucson.  For ten years no white man has seen Cochise and lived to tell about it. Disgusted with the conflict and the destruction of so much life and property, Jeffords decides to go see Cochise, personally, alone. His meeting is a real historical event and I have read several accounts of it and have written it the way I’d like to think it went. It changed the course of history and General Oliver O. Howard was able to secure an honorable peace from President Grant for the Chiricahuas to have their own land and their own Apache police force instead of the U. S. Army governing them. Tom Jeffords did actually become the first Indian Agent on Cochise’s reservation, as he would have no other. In my story, Tom prevails upon Amanda to become the first schoolteacher and she and Kayto are finally reunited. This was a little untrue on my part as the Apache children were brutally ripped from their families and sent east to a boarding school in Carlisle, PA where they were stripped of everything they knew and were made to conform to a white man’s world.

My second paperback book, NAVAJO NIGHT, dealt with a Navajo Holy man and a white preacher’s daughter caught up in a tragic period in their struggle with the white man’s encroachment, called “The Long Walk.”  It was when General Carlton rounded up 4000 Navajos and marched them south to a barren plain called the Bosque Redondo in southern New Mexico in an attempt to Americanize and Christianize the Navajos. The experiment eventually failed and after four years, the Navajos were allowed to the return to the four corners area where they reside today.

If anyone has any questions, I’d be happy to answer them. I will give away a free copy of either APACHE WARRIOR or NAVAJO NIGHT and several bookmarks to one lucky commenter today. Thank you for reading my post. http://www.carolanndidier.com/

Western Movie Week is Coming!

 

Woo-Hoo! The Fillies are all set to bring you a full week of western movies starting Monday, June 27th. We’ll finish up on Friday, July 1st.

I told them you’d love this so don’t make a liar out of me, you hear.

We’ll furnish the movie reviews but you’ll have to bring your own popcorn. Deal?

Some of the movies we’ll be taking a gander at are Cat Ballou, Dances With Wolves, and Outlaw Josey Wales. We’ll give you the lowdown on each movie and maybe a few of our opinions whether they’re asked for or not.

Don’t you lollygag around or we’ll make you sit in the back where there’s not a breath of air to be had.  Hee-hee!