Posts Tagged With: western film

Remember Purgatory?

written by Shotgun Bo Rivers @shotgunborivers

Remember Purgatory the 1999 western fantasy film? Looking through my western collection the other day I stumbled upon my DVD copy of Purgatory. one of my personal favorites. Th e fantasy that maybe the old west outlaws were held up in some in between to live and prosper and seek remorse from heaven. Sure it certainly is not your every day western film, but if you as a writer could go and visit the town of Refugee, and get the stories from the outlaws themselves.

In the film Purgatory; The Old West meets the Twilight Zone as a band of desperadoes led by Blackjack Britton, are on the run after a failed robbery. and ride into the town of Refuge. It is immediately noticeable that something is different as the town marshal doesn’t carry a gun and the gang is offered free room, food, and drink but are cautioned not to swear. Slowly, the youngest member of the gang realizes that all the townspeople are Wild Bill Hickok, Doc Holiday, Billy the Kid and other dead gun-fighters that he has read about in his dime novels.  When a stagecoach arrives with the woman,  killed during their bank robbery, Sonny realizes the truth about Refuge. Sonny also meets a young woman, whom he learns was hung, that he falls in love with. This pits him and the now non-violent gun-fighters against the gang who decide that they can destroy the town. However they learn that there may be greater powers involved than their own.

Is there a possibility of a place between Heaven and Hell? and if there is would it be like Refuge? what are you thoughts of the TV Film Purgatory?

 

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Will Rogers Born 134 years ago

On this day, the cowboy philosopher and humorist Will Rogers, one of the most beloved entertainers of the early 20th century, is born on a ranch in Cherokee Indian territory.

The son of a respected mixed-blood Cherokee couple, William Penn Adair Rogers grew up riding and roping on the plains of Oklahoma. An indifferent student, he earned only average grades in school, but he was by no means the ill-educated common man that he later liked to pretend. He was, in fact, highly literate and well read. In 1898, he left his family ranch to work as a Texas cowboy, and then traveled to Argentina where he spent a few months as a gaucho. But Rogers discovered his real talent when he joined Texas Jack’s Wild West show in 1902 as a trick roper and rider under the stage name “The Cherokee Kid.” For all his skill with ropes and horses, Rogers soon realized that audiences most enjoyed his impromptu jokes and witty remarks. Eventually, Rogers began to focus on making humorous comments on world events and created a popular vaudeville act with which he traveled the country.

In 1919, Rogers’ first book, The Peace Conference, was published. In the 1920s, he achieved national fame with a series of movie appearances, radio shows, lecture tours, magazine articles, and regular newspapers columns. Amazingly prolific, Rogers eventually wrote seven books, an autobiography, almost 3,000 short commentaries called “daily telegrams,” more than 1,000 newspaper articles, and 58 magazine articles. Rogers’ warm, folksy manner and penetrating wit were hugely popular during the Depression, and his concern for the welfare of average folks was genuine. He contributed frequent charitable performances in support of the victims of floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes worldwide.

File:WillRogers.jpeg

Will Rogers, photograph taken before 1900

 

Hollywood discovered Rogers in 1918, as Samuel Goldwyn gave him the title role in Laughing Bill Hyde. A three-year contract with Goldwyn, at triple the Broadway salary, moved Rogers west. He bought a ranch in Santa Monica and set up his own production company. While Rogers enjoyed film acting, his appearances in silent movies suffered from the obvious restrictions of silence—not the strongest medium for him, having gained his fame as a commentator on stage. It helped somewhat that he wrote a good many of the title cards appearing in his films. In 1923, he began a one-year stint for Hal Roach and made 12 pictures. Among the films he made for Roach in 1924 were three directed by Rob Wagner: Two Wagons Both Covered, Going to Congress and Our Congressman. He made two other feature silents and a travelogue series in 1927, and did not return to the screen until his time in the ‘talkies‘ began in 1929.

He made 48 silent movies, but with the arrival of sound in 1929 he became a top star in that medium. His first sound film, They Had to See Paris (1929), finally gave him the chance to exercise his verbal magic. He played a homespun farmer (State Fair) in 1933, an old-fashioned doctor (Dr. Bull) in 1933, a small town banker (David Harum ) in 1934, and a rustic politician (Judge Priest) in 1934. He was also in County Chairman (1935), Steamboat ‘Round the Bend (1935), and In Old Kentucky (1935). His favorite director was John Ford.

Rogers appeared in 21 feature films alongside such noted performers as Lew Ayres, Billie Burke, Richard Cromwell, Jane Darwell, Andy Devine, Janet Gaynor, Rochelle Hudson, Boris Karloff, Myrna Loy, Joel McCrea, Hattie McDaniel, Ray Milland, Maureen O’Sullivan, ZaSu Pitts, Dick Powell, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Mickey Rooney, and Peggy Wood. He was directed three times by John Ford. He appeared in three films with his friend Stepin Fetchit (aka Lincoln T. Perry): David Harum (1934), Judge Priest (1934) and The County Chairman (1935).[15]

With his voice becoming increasingly familiar to audiences, he was able to basically play himself, without normal makeup, in each film, managing to ad-lib and even work in his familiar commentaries on politics at times. The clean moral tone of his films led to various public schools taking their classes, during the school day, to attend special showings of some of them. His most unusual role may have been in the first talking version of Mark Twain‘s novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. His popularity soared to new heights with films including Young As You Feel, Judge Priest, and Life Begins at 40 with Richard Cromwell and Rochelle Hudson.

On August 15, 1935, Rogers was on a flight to Asia with the famous pilot Wiley Post when the craft developed engine troubles and crashed near Point Barrow, Alaska. The crash killed both men. Rogers was only 55.

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My western inspiration

Growing up I was introduced to westerns on the silver screen, my late grandfather loved westerns, and would watch them regularly, which in most cases became a family night at my grandfather’s house ice cream sundae’s made by my grandmother, pop-corn or peanut brittle and good ole’ fashion horse-shit and gun smoke movie was a typical night at grandpa’s.

Purchase Today

My love for western writing didn’t really come until my mom brought home a book from a tag sale with the name Elmer Kelton on the cover, The Good Ole Boys. I was always told never judge a book by it’s cover, but when I got The Good Ole Boys, I flipped it over and read. “In Hewey Calloway’s world, his West Texas home of 1906, and the land of way of life that he loves are changing too quickly for his taste.” The way I had always felt an outsider looking in at the way life changed so rapidly around me. From then on The Good Ole Boys, became my favorite book, and Elmer Kelton my favorite author. I had to read more. Kids my age were collecting baseball cards, and comics, me I was collecting Elmer Kelton books.
Later I came to enjoy Louis L’Amour, and the Sackett’s, however, my personal favorite is Elmer Kelton. I have been told that my writing style is somewhat similar to his, although I take no credit from Mr. Kelton, as he was the greatest western author that ever lived, I do see some similarities in my western stories and that of the story of Hewey Calloway.

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Dear Pat Garret, It’s Me Billy (A Letter From the Grave)

Dear Pat Garret,

It’s me Billy, I used to call you a friend, better yet a Pal, but you shot me in the dark, unarmed. That’s right I am writing from beyond the grave to let you know I understand why you chose blood money for the price on my head. Hiding behind a badge didn’t make you right, and it sure doesn’t justify John Tunstall or Alex Mcsween’s murder. You see the Regulators and I had but one purpose and that was to expose the Sante Fe Ring, and Murphy’s bunch to President Hayes, and prove to him the corruption in government in Lincoln County, that was all. The men who took a Bullet from myself or one of the Regulators deserved it, they needed to be killed for killing John Tunstall in cold Blood. You tried once to arrest me for killing Buck Shot Roberts, one of the men we had a warrant for murdering John, He fired first so it was in self defense, and most all of the killings the Regulators were responsible for were in the same manner, so as a man who sold out to the Ring of corruption in government, how does it feel to know you killed a man that was really trying to do right by John Tunstall and Alex Mcsween. The problem with you and all of Murphy’s Men, Sheriff Pippin, and Sheriff Brady, blood money seemed better than finding the truth in the Lincoln County War, I didn’t draw first blood, I only finished it, Murphy dying should have ended it, but governor Lew Wallace was just as corrupt. I was only ever convicted of killing Sheriff Brady, but he needed killing to Pat, just as well as anyone else that was being bought by Murphy and Dolan’s outfit. The District Attorney should have pardoned me as they promised in the first place, I put most of them in a grave, and the rest I testified against, and in return I got a gallows built for myself.

You see Pat, Chavez, Doc, and the others knew what it meant to be pals, we might have killed a lot of men but we had a code, a code that John taught us, ethics  we lived by, until we were killed by you, someone who once called us a friend. we didn’t sell out on friendship Pat, why did you? We kept our promise, PALS, which was much stronger than any government, or any ring of corruption. We believed it had to be stopped, but the corruption in our government thought it be better to kill the men trying to expose it than to imprison the men that should have been paying for their debts, their murder, and  their corruption. Instead the government backed them up, and helped them come after the Regulators.  You may have your concience, but they sold you as soon as they paid you, which leaves you nothing more than a coward. Call it what you will, but in the days of the Billy the Kid and the Regulators we were judge and jury and most men just needed killing, and they reaped the whirlwind, as you will one day yourself. You know what they say about you Pat Garrett…..You killed men like you killed buffalo’s, but at least you didn’t ambush the buffalo’s in the dark.

YOUR PAL

William H. Bonney

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Wyatt Earp’s Revenge VS. Laramie’s Thunder

I am glad that a friend recommended this new movie Wyatt Earp’s Revenge, if you have not seen it yet, I urge you do.

For starters, watching Revenge brought me back to “Tombstone” which also starred Val Kilmer, and had me thinking, what would be different if Kurt Russell were Doc Holliday, and Val Kilmer Wyatt? as in “Wyatt Earp’s Revenge“.

One of the reasons I liked this movie the most is, the story tells about Wyatt’s past in Dodge City, when most of the movies and books we see about Wyatt Earp concentrates on Tombstone, and the Vendetta Ride, which is what he is most famous for. However there is so much more that happened in Wyatt’s life, things that led him to Tombstone in the first place, and why he left Dodge City to begin with.

I also liked the movies twist of the young boy coming back as an inquisitive reporter to discredit Wyatt, because of his father’s death at the hand of Spike Kennedy, and blaming Wyatt for his death, although to the boy’s surprise Wyatt telling him the whole story changed his mind about the blame he placed and the how he felt about his loss.

Secondly having a movie such as this helps me with my novel Laramie’s Thunder, because I found so many similarities in my book, and in the theme of this film.

In relation to Laramie’s Thunder, this movie is rather close in the story line and themes.  My Main character Texas Ranger Laramie Taylor leaves his post in Garrett, TX to avenge his father’s death in Oak Valley, TX. Going against the law and turning renegade outlaw to bring in the outlaw, one of the many themes within my novel.

Another similarity is the friendships, other lawmen to join Wyatt’s Cause in seeking revenge, which taps in to Laramie’s Thunder with Fellow Texas Ranger John Quintin and four ruthless Cherokee Indians joining the Taylor’s in a three state manhunt for the Collins’ Crew, and always being there to aid Laramie, as Bat Masterson, Charlie Basset, and Bill Tillman do in Wyatt Earp’s Revenge.

“If you’re determined to ride into the gates of Hades itself, I’m gonna ride by your side!”

In addition to those similarities, the main themes of Wyatt Earp’s Revenge and Laramie’s Thunder are very close. Any man would do anything for someone he cares about, or Loves. Wyatt turned in his badge to hunt his beloved Dora’s killer down,  and In Laramie’s Thunder; Laramie swears vengeance on anyone involved with the Collins’ Crew, they killed his father in a bank job gone badly, and they have to hang for it. If they don’t he will kill them in retribution for his father. Against all odds Laramie Taylor and Wyatt Earp will ride to the ends of the earth for their vengeance, at no consequence to the law, they are the law, and if the law won’t make them pay, then they will.

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Western Genre a New Rising.

I am a western fiction writer/author, and I spend a great deal of time just researching the western genre, and what I read about our genre is more on the dying side than on the rise. I would like to ensure that our genre has not died; in fact, I believe that it is making its new rising.

The Legend of Hell's Gate: An American Conspiracy

I read today, a blog posted last November about the western genre dying titled The Slow Death of the Western Genre (in honor of BigBlackHatMan) which you can read from the link provided. The article began to say that there were very few western genre films in the 90’s, and the western genre began to die off in the 80’s, unless it was a crossover. Disgruntled with knowing it was not very true I did some searching of my own, and in my search, I found several movies, which the blog author failed to mention, as well as the people that commented on the post as well.

I began with the big screen and yes, it starts where our blogger left off at Back to the Future III, which was a crossover western, yet many western films were not mentioned. Movies  like Dances with Wolves, Quigley Down Under, Young Guns II, The Last of the Mohicans, Unforgiven, Tombstone, Rio Diablo, Frank and Jesse, Legends of the Fall, Wyatt Earp, Desperado, Wild Bill, Riders of Purple Sage, Gunfighter, Purgatory, as well as Silverado starring actor/author, and a new found pal Ken Farmer, and this list goes on and on. Did we forget about Emilio Estevez, and his boyish looks as Billy the Kid, and certainly forgot about Kurt Russell in Tombstone, and Kevin Costner in Wyatt Earp.

Young Guns II

This is why it disgruntled me so much that so many Western films have come into the late 20th and 21st century as well and not even thought of by the author while writing this blog. Written in 2011, I was amazed that neither he nor any of the comments mentioned 3:10 to Yuma, or Jeff Bridges in an awesome performance in the remake of John Wayne’s True Grit.  Counting from 2000 to 2012, I have counted nearly a dozen westerns that were solely of the old west, which proves, the Old West is not in the grave just yet, with a new film just  released March 3oth, 2012 The Legend of Hell’s Gate: An American Conspiracy.

As a western writer, and author I wanted to include Western Fiction books, I see countless books published in the western genre all of the time, from titles like Yuma Gold by Steven Law, and The Devil in a Bottle by Carol Buchanan, as well as so many others, I could spend days just listing them . Even coming into a digital age not long ago, I can count dozens of western books available on Kindle, the IBook store, and Nooks, which brings a completely new breed of some great western genre authors.

Also noted in the blog above was the fact that the reason not many were interested in the genre anymore was the age of space, and fantasy, and yes possibly the age of space, science fiction, and fantasy has taken us by storm. Maybe if Jeff Bridges Sparkled in True Grit, we might just get the media to agree we as a genre are still on the rise.

The Pony Express

Our history is built from the Old West, and without it, there would be no Boomtowns, which led to a railroad and later Hollywood, so why not keep it alive, has the media forgotten, that media itself originated by means of The Pony Express, which has a rich history in itself in the Old West. I think they should look our way more often than they do, and notice that we are a rising genre as like any other genre. It seems we are only in the mainstream media when it is to review us as a dying entity, yet more and more westerns have come, and are coming.

Here on Shotgun Bo Rivers Blog, the Old West will never die; at least while I am alive and kickin, here at Bo’s place there will always be a spot for a good western genre story, book, or movie.

Categories: Current Events, Western, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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