It’s such a pleasure to be back here visiting with the fillies. This year has been filled with nostalgia as three of my previous westerns received new packaging and were made available to readers again. In June, it was A ROGUE IN TEXAS. In July, the novella THE LAST GUNSLINGER was re-released. It was originally entitled “A Long Stretch of Lonesome” and appeared in the TO TAME A TEXAN ANTHOLOGY. I was given the opportunity to expand the novella for AvonBooks when they re-issued it.
And now NEVER LOVE A COWBOY is back in print and in bookstores November 24.
It was fun working with cowboys again. It was nice to have the opportunity to dip back into my research books on cowboys and the old west. I’d forgotten just how much I love cowboys. They are just so danged sexy. Rangy, muscled from hard labor, tough, and strong. They have slow, easy grins, tip their hats to the ladies, and say, “Yes, ma’am.”
While it might date me, the very first cowboy I ever fell in love with was Roy Rogers. He rode his horse so well, and he shot straight. He always got the bad guy. I used to tell people at school that he was my uncle. I think I truly believed it, because I remember my mother sitting me down one day and explaining to me that he wasn’t related to me.
Then there was the Lone Ranger. The one on TV. “Hi-ho, Silver.” He fought for justice, and was so mysterious behind his mask. Who was he really?
Gene Barry as Bat Masterson was quite sophisticated. He showed us a different kind of cowboy. Polished, refined, but still deadly with a gun—or a cane.
Steve McQueen as Josh Randall in WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE was more traditional. A loner, who always got his man.
Chuck Connors as the Rifleman. He was always about doing what was right, even when the choice was difficult, especially when he needed to teach his son a lesson.
I never watched Gunsmoke or Bonanza, which is probably sacrilegious for true western fans, but oh, how I loved James Drury as the Virginian. My favorite episode was one that featured a very young Robert Redford as a man just released from prison who was trying to go straight. Then there was Rowdy Yates…
My favorite of all the cowboys, though, was Heath Barkley of THE BIG VALLEY. Never missed an episode. He was the ostracized and misunderstood bastard, the one who didn’t really belong but wanted to so badly. He worked and fought the hardest to maintain the ranch for the family.
Of course, if you’re considerably younger than I am, you may not be familiar with any of these cowboy heroes. I’m not sure why westerns aren’t as popular on television or movies anymore. Maybe there was an innocence or a goodness to them that doesn’t translate well with modern TV. But I think it’s a shame that the western historical cowboy isn’t appreciated as much as he once was. That we have to search so hard to find him on TV or at the movies—or even on the bookstore shelves.
I really appreciate that the fillies here at Petticoats and Pistols are keeping the home fires burning, that they continue to write about and celebrate cowboys. These champions of the trail are a special breed of men.
- Who is your favorite cowboy hero?
Three lucky commenters will receive an autographed copy of NEVER LOVE A COWBOY.