Posts Tagged With: western

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.

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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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Dear William Pinkerton, It’s Me Butch Cassidy (Letter from the grave)

The facts surrounding Butch Cassidy’s death are uncertain. On November 3, 1908, near San Vicente in southern Bolivia, a courier for the Aramayo Franke and Cia Silver Mine was conveying his company’s payroll, worth about 15,000 Bolivian pesos, by mule when he was attacked and robbed by two masked American bandits who were believed to be Cassidy and Longabaugh. The bandits then proceeded to the small mining town of San Vicente where they lodged in a small boarding house owned by a local resident miner named Bonifacio Casasola. When Casasola became suspicious of his two foreign lodgers, as well as a mule they had in their possession which was from the Aramayo Mine, identifiable from the mine company logo on the mule’s left flank, Casasola left his house and notified a nearby telegraph officer who notified a small Bolivian Army cavalry unit stationed nearby, which was the Abaroa Regiment. The unit dispatched three soldiers, under the command of Captain Justa Concha, to San Vicente where they notified the local authorities. On the evening of November 6, the lodging house was surrounded by three soldiers, the police chief, the local mayor and some of his officials, who intended to arrest the Aramayo robbers.

When the three soldiers approached the house the bandits opened fire, killing one of the soldiers and wounding another. A gunfight then ensued. At around 2 a.m., during a lull in the firing, the police and soldiers heard a man screaming from inside the house. Soon, a single shot was heard from inside the house, whereupon the screaming stopped. Minutes later, another shot was heard.

The standoff continued as locals kept the place surrounded until the next morning when, cautiously entering, they found two dead bodies, both with numerous bullet wounds to the arms and legs. One of the men had a bullet wound in the forehead and the other had a bullet hole in the temple. The local police report speculated that, judging from the positions of the bodies; one bandit had probably shot his fatally wounded partner-in-crime to put him out of his misery, just before killing himself with his final bullet. Or did they?

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Dear William A. Pinkerton

Hi William Pinkerton, It’s me Robert Leroy Parker, thought I’d drop a letter to you to see how you might be. First I want to say that, I do regret robbing all them trains, but not for your sake, but for my mommas. I know, and I always knew I broke her heart becoming an outlaw, and in some ways know it’s what made her perish as well. I wanted and tried so many times to go straight and seek amnesty, yet I never found it, nor was my pardon granted that I asked for, so many times. I heard tell, that Wyoming spoke of it, however never said anything about it. Well that’s OK, in my book. Wish I had the chance to tell you that I left my boot tracks in a little side canyon along my travels back from Bolivia, near the Hole-in-the-wall. I assume by now that you know I never did succumb to a bullet in San Vicente in 1908, neither did ole Sundance. Percy Seibert, played it good for us didn’t he, telling them Bolivians that was us, just so we could live on without someone chasing us anymore. Truth is them boys laid cold from crossfire; they were just some random boys in the wrong place at the right time. We fled later that night before they came in to verify us dead, little to their knowledge we were on a pair of fresh horses, running for Mexico. I spent some time back home with my family before I traveled to the Northwest, Oregon, and Washington mostly. Heard tell you never stopped looking for us, and was convinced me and Sundance were still in South America, guess our story will live on forever, truth is I never passed till 1938, where my family buried me in an unmarked grave where my father said I could finally Rest in Peace, I wonder would you have dug me up if you knew where I was, would anybody? No matter William. Butch Cassidy, The Sundance Kid, Elzy Lay, Tall Texan, News Carver, Camila Hanks, Laura Bullion, Flat-Nose Curry, Kid Curry, Bob Meeks and the rest of The Wild Bunch will forever remain the last outlaws of the Old West. You remember that William, and tell your Pinkerton’s too for me.

Sincerely Robert Leroy Parker, “Butch Cassidy”.

Regardless of whether Butch and Sundance lived or died, their legacy will forever live on in the old west.

Readers Interaction::

Do you think that Butch Cassidy Lived as his sister revealed in her biography Butch Cassidy, My Brother? Or did he die in San Vicente, Bolivia, alongside his best friend The Sundance Kid?

I think the Outlaw lived on to see his family, and live out his days as he wanted to all along. What are your thoughts as readers?

Categories: History, Letters from the grave, Western, Western Authors, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Legend Series Captain Sam Sixkiller Indian Territory

The History of Sam Sixkiller an outstanding lawmen of the Indian Territory.

Researched By Shotgun Bo Rivers @shotgunborivers

I read in a recent comment somewhere, some questions raising about who Sam Sixkiller was, and decided since I am also Native American that I would do some searching online about the man. I thought what a name to use as a character in a story Sam Sixkiller, however it would be hard to use a true outstanding lawman in a story, if I knew nothing about him. So far this is what I have found, some of which I have quoted, so not to mislead the story of such a wonderful icon of the wild west, and of the Indian Territory.

The story of the frontier Indian police in the history of Oklahoma is very important. It is one of the unsung stories in the annuals of law enforcement in the Wild West. Oklahoma, prior to statehood, was known as Indian Territory, and after 1889, Oklahoma Territory was added. Today, the most commonly thought of lawmen who worked the territories were deputy U.S. marshals. However, the Indian police were there and were probably as important if not more so.

Longhorse Police Captain Sam Sixkiller

As early as 1808, the Cherokee Nation passed an act appointing “regulators” to suppress horse stealing and robbery, to protect widows and orphans, and to kill any accused person resisting their authority. This action was taken when the Cherokees were located in the South U.S., before the “Trail of Tears.” Indian Territory, later Oklahoma, initially was made up of the Five Civilized Tribes: the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole. After the move to the west, during the 1830’s and 1840’s, the Indian nations set up their law enforcement system and judicial courts similar to what they had in the East. The Indians were called the Five Civilized Tribes because they had adopted many of the customs and traditions of the Europeans, including African chattel slavery for agricultural development. The only nation that had a different scenario initially was the Seminole Nation which had embraced African fugitives slaves as their allies against the U.S. government.

One of the first outstanding Indian police officers was the legendary Cherokee, Sam Sixkiller. Sixkiller at the age of nineteen joined a Union Indian artillery company under the command of his father, 1st Lt. Redbird Sixkiller, during the Civil War. In 1875, Sixkiller was appointed high sheriff of the Cherokee Nation and warden of the National Penitentiary. On February 12, 1880 Sixkiller became the first captain of the United States Indian Police headquartered at Muskogee, Indian Territory. As captain, Sixkiller had forty men under his command. Besides this position, Sixkiller also held a commission as a deputy U.S. marshal and a special agent for the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Sixkiller’s duties included policing the streets of Muskogee, one of the most dangerous towns in the “Wild West.” There were more lawmen killed in a fifty mile radius of Muskogee than anywhere west of the Mississippi River during the frontier era.

Sixkiller’s main problems were the whiskey bootleggers, cattle thieves, murders, rapists, timber thieves, land squatters, train robbers, card sharks, and prostitutes servicing the railroad towns. During his six years as captain, Sixkiller was wounded once. It is reported that he killed a bootlegger from Missouri named Solomon Copple. Copple was attempting to peddle whiskey in and around Muskogee. Sixkiller cornered him outside of town. Copple tried to resist arrest and Sixkiller using his pistol, killed him.

The most famous Indian Territory outlaw that Sixkiller subdued was the notorious Creek Freedman, Dick Glass. Glass had a gang that operated throughout the Indian Territory. They stole horses in the Indian nations and exchanged them for illegal whiskey in Texas, bringing the contraband back across the Red River to be sold at a substantial profit. In June of 1885, Sixkiller put a posse together that included the equally renown Indian lawman Charles LeFlore. They set an ambush for Glass and his gang near Colbert in the Chickasaw Nation. The gang had a full supply of whiskey and were northbound. They rode tight into the trap set by the lawmen. Glass pulled his pistol, but caught a full charge from Sixkiller’s shotgun that put him out of action, permanently. The rest of the gang were either killed or arrested shortly thereafter.

On Christmas Eve, 1886, Sixkiller was off duty and unarmed. Feeling a little under the weather, he made a trip to downtown Muskogee to pick up some medicine. He was met by two dastardly malcontents bent on mayhem: Dick Vann and Alf Cunningham. Sixkiller was stepping up on the platform on the north side of the Patterson Mercantile Store. Vann and Cunningham, with a shotgun and pistol, fired on him without notice; supposedly they held a grudge for a previous run-in they had with the lawman. Sixkiller fell to the ground mortally wounded, and Vann and Cunningham made good their escape on fast ponies.

After the death of Captain Sixkiller, the United States legislature passed a bill, signed by the president, which made assault on an Indian federal policeman a federal crime. The document signed March 2, 1887, stated: “…any Indians committing against the person of any Indian policeman appointed under the laws of the United States, or any Indian United states deputy Marshal, any of the following crimes, namely, murder, manslaughter or assault with intent to kill, within the Indian Territory, shall be subjected to the laws of the United States relating to such crimes and shall be tried by the District Court of the United States.” It was a landmark case which increased the stature of Indian police officers in Indian Territory and elsewhere in the United States.

Credit to this story goes to By Art T. Burton from Lest We Forget and also to Legends of America.

 

I hope you enjoy the story as I did. Like I said, I left the story, and history alone, mostly to keep the truth and speculations in history intact, and to give credit to the author. Will I give Sam Sixkiller a spot in the Laramie’s Series, hey we’ll never know until it’s finished.  Happy Trails to all, Happy Monday.

Categories: History, Legend Series, Western | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Western Comics, to the Revisionist

Posted by: Ritchie White @shotgunborivers

DC Comics

For nearly two decades Western Pulp fiction brought us some of the greatest tales of the American frontier, but by the 1960’s it was beginning to die out with the rise of trade paperback. However the Pulp fiction era brought light to new medium, the comic book. A hybrid medium that allowed illustrations and strongly blended written words to convey the story of the illustrations. Even though the comic book era began in 1933, the western comics didn’t become popular until the 1940’s and 50’s, alongside the pulp magazines.  Due to competition of comic books, and other mediums, the aforementioned Pulp Magazine era had died out.

However the western comics would come to life for more than four decades, even after its decline in the 1960’s, western comics would move into the revisionist western. Favoring realism over the famous romanticism as western always portrayed, the western comics spun quickly into a Weird West style. A literary sub-genre that combined elements of the western genre and other literary genres such as science fiction, horror, occult, and fantasy. By the 1970’s characters such as Jonah Hex and Bat Lash were born, and  lived well into the 1990’s.
Western Comics have since stayed alive within the weird western sub-genre in the new century, and have made something of a comeback. They don’t dominate the market by a long shot.  Jonah Hex comes back to life in the All-star Western in The New 52 as late as 2011, and Bat Lash appearing as late as 2006 in comics, and converted to trade paperback in 2008.

To conclude, I have brought you the rich history of the western genre, and where it was born in the past month, to not only share the romanticism of western literature, but to also announce a huge turn in my writing career. As I have been promising the Laramie’s Series, they have taken a bit of a stall. However to my readers, and fellow western genre authors, in the last few months the gears have not stopped turning, nor have any of my ideas. I am glad to finally announce that my career will be taking me on an unexpected detour. I am planning to come forth with a ePulp mini-series magazine titled “Six-Guns and Tomahawks Magazine”  starring Lash Larue once named Akecheta (Souix for “He is Fighter”) a Native American turned outlaw. Coming in March with 6 short stories, and the wonderful art from my new illustration artist Brooke Presley-Caban.

We are also creating another ePulp series as well, which will blow you all away as I bring in a weird western under a developmental name of  “The Dark Rider” an action packed short story series starring Rex Quade, a gunslinger Cowboy brought back from the dead by Native American Indians to avenge a massacre, with a price to pay.

As a reader and writer what are your thoughts on the history of our genre, and the announcement of my changing gears? Comments are welcome.

Categories: Western, Western Authors, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Dime Novels-The history of the Western

As a western writer, I have been looking back at our history, even before Zane Grey, and Louis L’Amour. What was the first western? and where did we begin?

Personally I would have to say we got our start as many genres did from the Dime Novel era, from 1860 to 1895 the dime novel served as Americas first paperback, and From gun-slinging heroes to mysteries, the dime novel is notably the beginning of genre fiction. This ideology of the dime novel was particularly apparent in Westerns, in which the heroes always won and the villains were always brutally punished.

Some scholars ahttps://i0.wp.com/www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/images/189.1.jpgrgue that dime novel westerns appealed most to young, and working-class men – The mythic West of the cowboy as a place where class boundaries were marked in the industrializing East and the Midwest did not prevail.

Dime novelists helped to popularize the cowboy myth, but as Richard Slotkin notes, he had earlier precedents in American literature – tales about Davy Crockett and Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales.

The cowboy figure arose out of long literary tradition of frontiersmen that informed his character. Richard Slotkin, in Regeneration through Violence, demonstrates the beginnings of the American myth by carefully tracing the early figure, focusing on the influences of John Filson’s creation of Daniel Boone in 1784 and, building on Filson, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Leatherstocking Tales (1823) (importance also noted in Milton 7-9, 84-87).

Interpretation of the dime novel western actually embodies a world in which the values and practices of the pre-industrial order are given renewed life: a place in which machines still stand in gardens and where everyone is a worker.

As Americans began to mourn the “closing of the frontier,” they simultaneously began to celebrate the cowboy, who quickly became the hero of the mythic West.

It may have been the emergence of modern America, with its urbanization and industrialization, that sparked an additional interest among its people for a past that was more direct, more simple, more easily understood

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The nation had, some held, grown too fast, had lost something in that process; and now there was a yearning to return to that fast-disappearing life, as we know the Cowboy was not always regarded as an American hero. In fact, as late as the 1880s, the were regarded as violent and uncontrollable.

However the Dime Novel was a way to revisit the frontier, and by reading you could simply slip yourself bac

k into a simpler way of life. Today as western authors we spend our time praising the outlaws, and making them hero’s, as well as creating new one’s. We write what the west was about, and bring forth the tales of Buffalo Bill Cody, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, Jesse James, and others, but without the Dime Novel, I think we wouldn’t have the western’s we write today, without the creation of the Dime Novel.

 

Categories: Western, Western Authors, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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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Join me as I Romance the west with J.J. Devine

Today on J.J. Devine’s Blog, I show the romantic side of my western writing, and the romanticism that I have for the west.

The sun rises over the Rockies, and touches your face. You long for it, closing your eyes, you suck a deep breath of dusty, sandy air deep into your lungs, and for a moment it feels like heaven. You sit waiting patiently over crackling fire for the taste of hot and steaming coffee. When the fire extinguishes, you roll up your bedroll, and tuck it neatly into the rear of your saddle. You climb up and give your only friend a soft jab to his sides, forcing him to trot off over the rolling hills looking for a freedom not yet found………Read more at Defining J.J. Devine.weebly

Categories: Cowboy Code, Romance, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring the Romance in the Old West.

J.J. Devine

Exploring the old west, and honoring the American Cowboy heritage, certainly can not be done without romance. J.J. Devine knows a lot about the historical romance, and the romance of the old west, which is why I asked her to write about the romance of the Cowboy, welcome J.J. and thank you for this beautiful romantic insight of the American Cowboy.

I write historical romance based on a western theme. Within the pages of my Acceptance Series, you’ll find a wide range of heroines. A Cheyenne mixed blood, looking to find her true acceptance. A woman sold for her body, looking for her escape. A cowgirl unafraid to face the elements to hide-away on a cattle drive to claim her hero. A woman hell-bent to avenge her family’s death, takes off after the murders in the wilderness of the Wyoming Territory, hero in tow. The list goes on in this seven book series.
Ever since I was a young girl I’ve always had a fascination with cowboys and the women who loved them. Their lifestyles were never easy. I quickly found an admiration for these wonderful, amazing, hardworking people. Combine my captivation for cowboys with my infatuation with Native American history and the Old West and you have the stories I cannot wait to pen. My heroes are not only rugged and handsome, they love their women with possessive venom that sinks to the core. They’ll move the Laramie Mountains if that’s what it takes to prove their loyalty and love. My heroines are exquisite from the inside out. Yet, it’s not their splendor that will capture the heart of my readers, it’s their incredible ability to overcome even the utmost turmoil life has to offer. Highly flavored women who require even spicier men to hold their hearts and their passions forever.

The Cheyenne Bride

Cheyenne Bride to be available Fall of 2012 through Soul Mate Publishing
http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/

Author Bio
Reading and writing have been J.J.’s passion her whole life. Starting out with being the poet, everyone came to in high school to get that “perfect” poem for his or her boyfriend/girlfriend. She spent her weekends locked away in her room, curled up on her bed, writing short stories for only a selected few readers.
She has been happily married for 26 years to her trucker husband. She is a mother of three, grandmother of three; a lover of dogs, cats, and fish.
J.J. started to pen historical romance as a hobby when her youngest child was a year old, creating the Acceptance Series. She got serious about her writing career joining Romance Writers of America and Indiana Romance Writers of America. She penned her first paranormal romance, Into the Darkness, in 25 days, taking herself beyond her comfort zone and just giving the characters free reign of their story.
Since taking herself out of the outside working world, she has dedicated her life to her writing and her writing world and raising consciousness for Domestic Violence Awareness.

-By J.J. Devine

To contact J.J. Devine, or to read her wonderful writing, connect with her below.

You can view J.J.’s new Book trailer at  Into the Darkness

http://definingjjdevine.weebly.com/
http://definingjjdevine.weebly.com/ramblings-of-a-writer.html
http://www.facebook.com/JJDevineAuthor
jj_devine@yahoo.com
http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Celebrating the Skills, Protecting the Dream

I also had the chance to chat with Tyler Brentmore, a newly published western author, and his take on the heritage of the American Cowboy. Welcome Tyler.

Heritage Days are not a new phenomenon, and in some parts of the West I’ve traveled through locals would be hard-pressed to identify when normal life turned into heritage. The beds may have gotten softer, communications a mite easier, but a working ranch still needs its working men, and most of those are cowboys.

In my adopted second state of New Mexico there are around 6,800 stock-raising ranches. Including their support services, their businesses employ 18,000 people and pump over $2bn into the economy. This isn’t heritage, it’s normal life.

Over in Quay County, where the red dirt roads grid out the original surveyor’s one mile sections, feet are still pushed into boots, hats onto heads, at a time of the morning most town-dwellers don’t know exists. Breakfast comes later.

I mention to my host the stop-start tire dust threading its way towards us across the flat landscape. He doesn’t even lift his gaze. “Oh, that’ll be Henry.” State news might arrive through the television or radio, but the mail comes from a neighbor with a USPS sticker in the cracked windshield of his pickup. If Henry drops it in the mailbox or stops to collect the mail-to-go, there might be a wave. If he drives up to the ranch house he’s bringing more than letter news and everyone downs tools. It’s been a system that worked before telephones and email, and if it ain’t broke there’s no reason to fix it.

Henry carries more than mail and news, he carries goodwill and quiet concern. He has a standing invitation to collect vegetables from the garden which he’ll drop off later on his route – to the recently bereaved, to the returnee from surgery – and he’ll hear how things are over a coffee and pass on what’s needed. In a widespread community of fiercely independent people, I can see the benefit. It’s the reason my host is a First Responder EMT.

On Sunday we ride to the family church, a modern, airy building. I join in with the hymns, I listen to the sermon. It’s the notices that catch my ear, the community pulling together, encouraging their young by fundraising to augment a scholarship, congratulating a junior rodeo rider, supporting the family of a disabled serviceman. Over refreshments I hear plans to lend equipment and manpower, to share a cost. There’s talk of travel both near and far, of books read, jokes shared.

Then we’re out in the parking lot and I’m admiring the red-painted one-room schoolhouse strategically set on trimmed grass opposite its sprawling modern equivalent. “I was schooled there,” says the beaming woman who’d earlier poured coffee, “and I went to college.” I don’t doubt it, the way I know she’s told the story to grade students across the way. We should all seed a dream.

We ride out towards The Caprock where the wind turns the turbine blades. We’re heading for a single withered tree, all that’s left of a fruit garden. Grandparents lived here, raised stock, grew corn, taught the next generation how to work with the land, with the animals. The foundation line of their home remains plain in the thin dirt. It’s hardly bigger than the pickup we’ve traveled in. We talk of the dust bowl, of tornados, of hailstorms. But we talk, too, of childhood memories, of swinging from the tree, of sitting on the porch on Grandpa’s knee watching sunsets that filled the sky with fire and took away the breath.

Writers like me ill-serve these people. We focus on the notorious, the sensational. Sure, they were here: Black Jack Ketchum roamed these lands, William H Bonney, Dave Rudabaugh and many more. But such as these were far outnumbered by those pioneering men and women who did not try to take the easy route, those who kept to their purpose with courage and determination in the face of adversity, those who could, and still do, seal a deal on the shake of a hand and a look eye-to-eye. It is their traits that we write into our fictional heroes, when such heroes and heroines surround us every day.

If you are planning to enjoy a BBQ on Saturday, or shout for the barrel-racers, or just listen to a Country tune as you drive through landscapes to bless the eye, give your support to the National Day of the Cowboy. Deep down its values are yours.

Tyler Brentmore writes historical Western fiction. The first, Dead Men’s Fingers, follows a man as he finds the inner strength to face his past and do what’s right to protect his family.

Available as an ebook from:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0076QKFME
Barnes&Noble: http://bit.ly/BN-DMFingers
All Formats: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/136833

Visit with Tyler Brentmore at: http://www.tylerbrentmore.com

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

National Day of the Cowboy Free Ebook Giveaway

In honor of the the NDOC National Day of the Cowboy, myself and Mathew Pizzolato are having a free Ebook giveaway all week long Beginning July 23rd, and ending July 29th. As part of our appreciation to the American Cowboy, we want to give back to our readers. I will be giving 20 copies of My brand new self-published Ebook “Laramie’s Code”, 2 per day and Mathew copies of his Ebook “The Wanted Man”.

To be added in a random drawing please comment on any of the blog posts during this weeks National Day of the Cowboy blogathon, and we will announce the winners July 30th. Good luck to any and all of our participants.

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, Western, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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