Western Heroes and Heroines




By Karen Kay and Phyliss Miranda

Howdy!  And welcome to another fabulous Tuesday.  And we have with us today best-selling author, and fellow filly, Phyliss Miranda!  Welcome to the Tuesday — and birthday — blog.  Happy Birthday to P & P!  Happy Birthday to P & P!  Happy Birthday Dear P & P, Happy Birthday to us.  (And many more…)

For the birthday bash, Phyliss and I decided to talk a little bit about Western Heroes.  And, as you know, there were many, many Western Heroes, real and fictional.  But today, we’re only going to look at 10 of them. So let’s get started.

Sitting Bull:  Sitting Bull was a Hunkpapa Lakota Indian (Sioux).  He was a Medicine Man and Holy Man.  He led his people during their struggle with the United States government policies.  He actually didn’t fight in the Custer Fight, but he did lead many of his people into Canada after that fight.  Did you know that he also toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and that he considered Annie Oakley (or Little Sure Shot as he named her) an adopted daughter?  A sterling example of a man who put the welfare of his people before his own.

Chief Joseph:  Chief Joseph was a Nez Perce Chief who tried to lead his people out of danger after tensions arose between his own people and the white people.  He tried to bring his people to safety into Canada.  His retreat is considered to this day to be one of the greatest military strategies ever conceived by man.  His name is In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat, and means Thunder coming up over the land from the water (from Indians.org).

Sacagawea:  Sacagawea was a Lemhi Shoshone Indian.  She was married to Toussaint Charbonneau, a Frenchman who had been hired by Lewis and Clark as an interpreter — but only after they learned that his wife, Sacagawea, spoke Shoshone, and they needed her help with the Shoshone tribe during expedition into Indian country.  Sacagawea was pregnant when Lewis and Clark set out upon their expedition and she gave birth to a healthy boy during the expedition.  Clark called her Janey.  Without her help, their expedition might have failed due to the Shoshone’s antagonism toward invaders into their country.  She is an American Legend.

Crazy Horse:  Crazy Horse was an Oglala Lakota Indian (Sioux), who was a contemporary of Sitting Bull, and who joined Sitting Bull in leading the opposition to the reservation system.  Crazy Horse was known as being an extraordinarily handsome man, not overly tall in statue, but he was depicted as being a gentle, handsome, and courteous young man.  Crazy Horse was born a warrior and led his people in their struggle remain free men and women.  He is chiefly credited with the success of the Battle of the Little Big Horn.  He remains a hero to this very day.

Red Cloud:  Red Cloud was another Oglala Lakota Indian (Sioux).  Red Cloud is best known for what is called Red Cloud’s War.  The Bozeman Trail was destroying Indian life and Indian hunting grounds, and when no meeting of mind’s could be found, Red Cloud led an attack that is known as one of the most successful attacks on the miliary, causing the military forts along this route to close.

And Now for Phyliss’s post.

Bat Masterson was born in Quebec, Canada and his birth name was Bartalomiew. After being raised in New York, he ended up in Wichita, Kansas, where he met Wyatt Earp and they became staunch friends. Both being rough, tough buffalo hunters they became “crack shots”. Although Masterson was alleged to have been a part of the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral, he wasn’t, as he had left two days prior to return to Dodge City.

Calamity Jane definitely was part prime and proper Pioneer Woman and a wild and wooly Woman of the West. From 1878 to mid-1800’s, she appeared in nearly twenty Deadwood Dick dime novels.

One of the most famous of all fictional characters was Roy Rogers and Trigger, his golden Palomino. Here’s a few facts of interest:  Roy Rogers was a Master Mason. He played Wild Bill Hickok, William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) and Jesse James, three of the West’s greatest legends.

After the closure of the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum in Branson, Missouri, cable network RFD-TV purchased Roy’s dog Bullet who had been preserved after his death for $35,000.00; while Trigger (who was also preserved) was sold for $266,000.00. Trigger had a double Trigger, Jr..   Dale Evans wrote Happy Trails.

Of interest, Wyatt Earp’s Colt .45 revolved, he carried to the famous shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, was sold at auction in 2014 for $225,000.00.


“Texas Panhandle, 1881 …

Not only was he tired, hungry, and dirty, but technically, Hayden McGraw guessed, he was still on suspension from the Texas Rangers. The last thing he needed was to become involved in the quarrel that seemed to be brewing in Buffalo Spring, Texas. It wasn’t any of his concern … yet.”

First paragraph to my story “One Woman, One Ranger” in “Give Me a Texas Ranger” anthology by Linda Broday, Jodi Thomas, the late DeWanna Pace and me. The picture was taken at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco, Texas, where our book was put on display in the “Writing the Ranger” exhibit, along with stories and comic books by many famous fictional and real heroes.

Who is your favorite fictional or real cowboy?

And who is your favorite American Indian hero?

Karen Kay will be giving away a free Tradepaper copy of SENECA SURRENDER to one lucky blogger today, and one mass market copy of SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE to another lucky blogger.

Product Details


To one lucky reader who leaves a comment, Phyliss is giving away both a copy of Give Me a Texas Ranger and a gift card from Bath & Body Works.

 Don’t forget to enter the giant birthday bash giveaway (separate from this daily giveaway).

You can find all the details along with the entry form HERE




+ posts

111 thoughts on “Western Heroes and Heroines”

  1. Happy birthday, P&P!!! You just keep rolling along with the great information.

    Karen & Phyllis, thanks for this blog. It’s going in my “keep this” file.

    • Thanks, Tracy. It was fun thinking back to my favorite fictional characters and pulling out a little bit on real heroes and heroines. It was mighty hard to write just a couple of sentences on each one, but lots of fun. I loved finding out more about Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Have a great day, sister filly.

  2. Some great heroes of the West for sure. Mine are Quanah Parker, Margaret Heffernan Borland who was possibly the only woman to organize and lead a cattle drive up to Wichita, KS. Texas Rangers Rip Ford and Big Foot Wallace. Rancher Charles Goodnight and his wife, Molly. So many it’s hard to name all.

    On the fictional side, there has to be Ethan Edwards, the character John Wayne portrayed in The Searchers. And I think my own Houston Legend would have to go on this list.

    Happy 10th Anniversary to us!!

    • Thanks, sister filly. I love the stories on Quanah Parker and you have no idea how much I wanted to write about Margaret Heffeman Borland but there just wasn’t enough room (and you know how wordy I am anyway :-)!. And, of course Col. Goodnight. I can hardly wait to read the printed story on Borland in “Saddlebag Dispatches” which comes out soon. Gosh, I’d forgotten about “The Searchers”. Thanks for reminding me. And, Happy, Happy Birthday to one of the original fillies.

  3. Love these posts!! So informative! So interesting! Chief Joseph would be my pick for the American Indian and Robert Duval in Lonesome Dove for the Cowboy.

    • Hi Melanie, good to see you. Chief Joseph is a great selection and of course “Lonesome Dove”‘s Duval is a winner for sure. So good to see you. Big Texas hugs, Phyliss

  4. Happy Birthday P & P. Your posts are always fascinating and special. Thanks for your great celebration.

    • Hi Pearl, so good to have you stop by. Thanks for the compliment. I try to write posts, which are typically too long, so the reader has to make an investment in reading them, that I think people will enjoy the subject. We’ve had a great week so far and as I said to Quilt Lady, we couldn’t have accomplished everything we did without you guys reading and commenting on our post. Big hugs, Phyliss

  5. My kids and I were just researching the Crazy Horse monument this week. Amazing story behind that adventure! Thanks for sharing this info – I had never heard of Red Cloud before.

    • Hi Susan, Karen had to work today, but I’m sure she’ll be in commenting later today. She’s the expert on Crazy Horse. Isn’t it fun to read about someone like Red Cloud who you aren’t familiar with? I’m glad Karen could provide you and your kids additional information on Crazy Horse. Big hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Susan P!

      Really? Never heard of Red Cloud? He was quite a historical figure. I’m so glad that I posted about him so that others can learn of him. : )

  6. All very fascinating and interesting profiles from our past. I knew some of it (probably from P&P blogs). I did not know Roy Rogers was a master mason though!

    • Hi catslady, good to see you. I wrote a lot about Roy Rogers, once I got to researching, but had to cut back. I thought the Mason’s tidbit was really fascinating. I could write a whole blog just on him. Hope you have a great day! Hugs, Phyliss

    • You know, I didn’t know this either. By the way, Phyliss and catslady, what is a master mason? I know what the masons are, but not a master mason. : )

  7. Hi Amy, good to see you and thanks for the good wishes. Although I’m not one of the original Fillies, I did begin guest blogging early on and became a regular Filly about a year later, so I’ve been around a while, but not as long as some of the other ladies. I have to say they did a fantastic job putting together this special anniversary week…kudos to all of the Fillies. Big hugs and thanks, Phyliss

  8. Have always loved Roy Rogers, and Red Cloud.
    Thank you for giving just a little more history, that most might never know. Love the research h you do to make your writing even better.

    • Thanks, Veda. Good to see you and thanks for leaving a comment. As you can see, Roy Rogers was one of my favorite. I learned things about him that I never knew. I love research and really love to share it. When I write a western historical, you wouldn’t believe the amount of research I do before I write my first paragraph. I also love to walk-the-walk, as does fellow Filly Linda Broday. We’ve had some great adventures over the years. Thanks for stopping by and big hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Veda!

      Wow! Thank you so very much. Yes, Red Cloud is a favorite of mine, too — and I, too, loved Roy Rogers. I believe that Roy Rogers had a bit of Cherokee heritage — I think… Not sure where I got that info, but I seem to remember it from somewhere.

  9. Happy Birthday P&P and Happy Tuesday. I loved reading today’s post and so many memories were revived. I watched westerns with my Daddy so the names are very familiar. I liked Wyatt Earp and I was also intrigued with Jesse James. I wanted to Annie Oakley for awhile 🙂 I guess my favorite real Indian would be Sacajawea but I loved Tonto, friend of The Lone Ranger.
    Thank you Phyllis and Blessings!

  10. Hi Connie!

    As a note, when I was young, my father used to call me Sacagewea — I always loved her. Without her, Lewis and Clark might never have been successful. She is my favorite female heroine, I think — but there are many women of American Indian heritage who are real heroines — even in this day and age. I am lucky to know several of them on the Blackfeet reservation. : )

  11. Hi Connie, thanks for stopping and reading our blog. I think I’m just like you about watching westerns. I remember my cousin, bless his heart, riding one side of Grannie’s rocking chair arm and I rode the other arm, while we watched westerns. When I first began this blog, I got carried away and wrote about Wyatt Earp, Jessie James and The Lone Ranger but had to back off and remember Karen and I were sharing the day. Didn’t we all want to be Annie Oakley at one time or another? She was on my original list, as was Tonto. Connie, thank you for the wonderful memories and I pray you have a blessed day. Big Texas hugs, Phyliss

  12. I have boxes and boxes of books on Native Americans by Native Americans, most on the Lakotas (Sioux). For a number of years a group of us worked with at-risk Oglala teens from the Pine River Indian Reservation, bringing them east in summer to put on dancing shows to earn money for their families. Some of their adult chaperones were extras in “Dances with Wolves” and getting their perspective was wholly other than what we’re used to hearing and reading. As for heroes, Red Cloud and Crazy Horse stand out for me, along with those adult chaperones working with their youth.

    For other western legends, I’ve been very interested in Belle Starr whose land in Indian Territory was very close to my great-grandfather’s land. When she and her husband Sam Starr were arrested and tried for stealing a horse, my great-grandfather and other neighbors testified on their behalf and are in “Hanging Judge” Parker’s records in Forth Smith, Ark. It’s also well known that various outlaws like the Dalton gang hung out on the Starr land, so I can’t help but wonder who my great-grandparents might have met or knew. My real western heroes are the settlers who went across the land, but I’m also interested in the wild west that was Indian Territory which was not under U.S. law and thus a haven for those who sought it.

    “The Searchers” was mentioned above and I want to jump on the bandwagon to say that it’s my all-time favorite western too, particularly John Wayne’s Ethan Hawke character.

    • Hi Eliza, so good to see you here. You always write such great comments that I truly enjoy. It’s so interesting about your work with the at-risk Ogala teens. I bet you learned a lot, as well as helping them. Congratulations for your hard work! Wow, your Belle Starr story is fascinating and first hand to boot. I totally agree that the true heroes are the settlers who fought the odds to settle this part of the country. I’ve sure got to go back and watch “The Searchers”, as it’s been mentioned several times as a favorite. There were just too many “favorites” for Karen and me to write about all of them. I wrote too much as it is! Thanks for leaving such a great comment, as you always do. Big hugs and many blessings comin’ your way, lady, Phyliss

    • Hi Colleen. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I hope you got in on the big end of our anniversary drawing. Thanks for the well wishes, and if it weren’t for the loyal followers, such as yourself, we wouldn’t be celebrating our 10th anniversary. Big hugs and thanks, Phyliss

  13. I always liked The Rifleman and Roy Rogers. For Native American it would be Quannah Parker who I am related to. I am part Comanche .

    • Hi Deana, good to see you here. I loved “The Rifleman” and as you could see by my par of the blog, I think I liked Roy Rogers more. Quannah Parker is certainly a special hero in this part of the world. WOW, being related is fantastic. I hope you have lots of stories to treasure. Again, thanks for leaving a comment. A big Texas hug to you, Phyliss

  14. Can’t help it- saw Shane as a kid and was instantly hooked on the tough, silent Western hero with a hidden good heart. Have always thought Crazy Horse was wronged by the portrayels of Hollywood.

    • Hi Karen, thanks for dropping by. Now, “Shane” is on my list of old movies to watch again. I do like the silent hero with a hidden good heart. I’m not up on Crazy Horse, so gotta check him out more. Thanks for the hint and thank you for leaving a comment. I hope you’ve entered the big end of our anniversary drawing. There’s a link at the end of our blog today. Thanks and a big Texas hug, Phyliss

    • Hi Trish, I didn’t know that Chief Sequoyah created a written language for the Cherokee. Thanks for sharing this info and thank you for all the hard work you put in on P&P’s celebration. Big Texas hugs, Phyliss

      • When I lived in Nashville, for a number of years I worked at a magazine full-time. Some of what I wrote about was travel pieces on Tennessee’s small towns. One was Vonore, home to both the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum and Fort Loudoun State Historic Area, which is a reconstructed fort on the site of one built in 1756 by the British on the western frontier. It’s in a beautiful area of the Appalachian Mountains.

  15. Wonderful posts, ladies! Thank you! Chief Joseph has long been my hero. I had the great honor of including him and his I Will Fight No More Forever speech in the curriculum when I taught American Literature. I love learning more about all of these great people today. Hugs to you and happy birthday!

    • Hi my friend. I’m so glad to see you today. Although my material grandfather was 3/4 American Indian, I’m not as knowledgeable as I should be on the subject. Hangin’ my head in shame. I think it’s great that you included Chief Joseph’s speech in your curriculum. We had a lot of heroes and heroines today and truly didn’t even touch on those available. But, it has given me some ideas for future blogs. Miss you and hope to talk with you soon. Big Texas hugs and love, Phyliss

  16. Happy birthday to both of you great ladies! I think for both Indians and cowboys they have to be strong, protective and love their woman with all their heart! I have so many fictional characters I love because I find myself getting caught up in each story I read!!!

  17. Hi Cori, so glad to see you here. I totally agree with you about fictional characters. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in not just the story but the characters themselves. As an author, one of my main preparations for the beginning of a story is what kind of hero do I want to present to the reader. I tend to lean towards the strong-willed cowboy or even in contemporaries my heroes are typically like that. I love it when my heroine can tame him! Again, thanks for stopping by and be sure to put your name in the big end of the anniversary jackpot. Lots of great gifts. Big Texas hugs, Phyliss

  18. One of my favorite fictional cowboys is Chuck Connors in the “Rifleman.” One of my favorite American Indian Heroes is Chingachgook from the “The Last of the Mohicans.” I really liked Russell Means in the role.

  19. Hi Karen. Glad you stopped by. I didn’t think about the “Rifleman”, but you are so right. Chuck Connors played a fantastic fictional cowboy. Thanks for reminding us about him. Again, good to see you. Phyliss

  20. What a fantastic celebration! Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful post, ladies! I loved learning more about these western heroes and heroines!

  21. Hi Britney, so good to hear from you. Thanks for the compliment. Selecting heroes and heroines, both real and fictional, was pretty hard because we had so many to choose from. It was fun, and I personally learned a lot. Glad you dropped by and left a message. Celebrating a decade of blogs has been fun! Truly happy to get a comment from you. A big Texas hug, Phyliss

    • Hi Eva, boy do you have a great list! I loved Maverick — Bret and Bart, I think. Thanks for the happy birthday wishes! We appreciate you. Hugs, Phyliss

  22. Wow! Really enjoyed reading about your take on heroes (and heroines) of the west. I am curious now about Chief Joseph’s retreat and may have to read up on that. Happy 10th birthday gals!

    • It’s an amazing story, Kathryn. He was simply trying to NOT fight — but to lead his people into Canada — and to do that, he made some absolutely genius moves. There is an old movie somewhere called, I WILL FIGHT NO MORE FOREVER. Good movie about their attempt to get to Canada without fighting.

  23. Hi Kathryn, so very good to hear from you. I love the heroes and heroine Karen put together! She’s awesome on the subject. I wrote too much, but got some great ideas for future blogs. Thanks for stopping in and leaving a comment. Big hugs to you, Phyliss

  24. What a great post and filled with such great information. I loved watching Clint Walker in a show called Cheyenne. My favorite would be Chief Joseph and then there’s Wyatt Earp. Thanks for the info. Happy Birthday.
    Carol L

    • Hi Carol. Nice to see you here. I love Wyatt Earp and his history. It’s so fascinating; and I totally agree with you on “Cheyenne”. My list of old series and western movies to watch is getting longer and longer. Glad you enjoyed the blog and thank you for the birthday wishes. Big Texas hugs to you, Phyliss

  25. Happy ten years to P&P! You ladies are great at sharing wonderful historical information. It always reminds me of our rich, if tragic, history.
    I think my favorite fictional cowboy hero is Maverick (James Garner version).
    I’ve enjoyed listing to American Indian Black Elk Speaks.
    Thanks for sharing.

  26. Hi Martha, good to see you here. Thanks for the anniversary good wishes. With loyal followers like you, I have no doubt we’ll be celebrating 20 years one of these days, that past way too fast. I love James Garner, too. We all love western history and that’s what makes the blog site work, along with readers who love it too. Again, thanks for stopping by and wishing us another ten years. Big Texas hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Debra, I’d forgotten about Wagon Train. Good choice. Another TV series for me to check out on Netflex, so I can bring back all of the memories. Thanks for the Happy Birthday wishes. On behalf of all of the Fillies, as I’ve said before, it’s the readers like you how have made us successful. Thanks for coming by and wishing us a happy, happy! Big Texas hugs, Phyliss

  27. Hi bn100, thanks for dropping by. It’s hard to select a favorite, although, as I’ve mentioned several times today, I truly found Roy Rogers as a modern day cowboy so interesting. Especially that he was a Master Mason. Take care and have a great evening. Hugs, Phyliss

  28. No need to enter my name in this giveaway. I already have the books being offered.
    My favorite Indian hero is Chief Joseph (actually, he is tied with Sacagawea) A man who tried to avoid conflict and save his people and way of life. After a 1,170 mile run, they were stopped 40 miles short of his goal – refuge in Canada.
    As for non-Native American Western heroes, I think it would be Lewis and Clark. They gave detailed idea of what was to be found in the Western half of the country. The conditions of the trip, its length, and the make-up of the group was exceptional. I find it ironic that much of their success was due to the knowledge and efforts of a 14 year old girl/woman. Without Sacagawea, I doubt they would have been as successful or even survived.

    • I love that story, Patricia. I only wish it had a happier ending. I wish they had made it. I know that Sitting Bull did, but eventually, he had to return to his home. Canada didn’t turn out to be the haven he had hoped that it might be.

  29. Hi Pat, hope all is well with you and thanks so much for reading our blog and leaving a comment. So good to see you. I have to agree on Lewis and Clark, but didn’t think of them. Thanks for reminding us just how important they were to our history. Now you’ve given me something to research and think about … I had no knowledge of efforts of a 14 year old girl/woman’s involvement. Off I go to Wikipedia. Well, the truth, just had my shower and off to watch TV. Again, so good to hear from you. Big Texas hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Fedora, I’m so glad to see you here. I wish we’d had more room to write in the blog, but it was already too long, because there is so much about Calamity Jane that I didn’t know about. She’s a fascinating character. I also wish I could have written about Annie Oakley and her rich history. But, it’s given more ideas for future blogs. Again, Fedora, it’s so good to see you. Seems like it’s been forever. A big Texas hug to you and yours, Phyliss

  30. My favorite fictional cowboy is Travis Archer from Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer! I love re-reading that story 🙂 I’ve always loved Pocahontas and her history, so I’ll pick her as my favorite Native American!

    • Good to see you, Heidi. Thanks for dropping by. I agree on Karen! Anything she writes promises to be a good read. I’m like you, love Pocahontas, too! Hope you entered into the big grand prize and fun things to do. The link, if you didn’t see it, is at the bottom of our blog, as well as everyone who blogged this week. A big Texas hug to you, Phyliss

    • Hi Heidi~

      I really like Pocahontas, also. Actually I did some research on her and found the legend of her real history as told by her people and her relatives. It was quite a different story than the one we’ve been painted. But yes, she was a true American heroine.

  31. Hi Cathy, so good to hear from you. Thanks for the compliment. It was hard to pick out favorite heroes and heroines and then on top do fictional as well as real. I wrote way too much, but got a lot of information for future blogs. You are definitely in Karen’s and my drawing. The winners will be announced later today. If you haven’t entered the big “end of the anniversary week” drawings and fun games, the link is at the bottom of our blog, if you haven’t seen it already. So, so happy to see you. Take care and have a great day. A big Texas hug, Phyliss

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