Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Old Cowboys and New Westerns

Last evening I finished reading, A Texas Ranger, by William Macleod Raine, written more than 100 years ago but still a very good tale. Some of these older westerns seem to be somewhere in between all the pulp westerns that were so well read a half century ago and the newer, truer western of a few years ago.  The difference between the new and the traditional westerns was summed up by Elmer Kelton, an all-time favorite of mine, when he said that Mr. L'Amour's characters ''are always seven feet tall and invincible, mine are 5 feet 8 and nervous.''
Seemed to me that much of the action, in westerns today, is still the seven foot tall and invincible style but grittier in modern westerns. That’s why I read them, love the action, that’s why its fiction, it’s over the top. If I see any big changes in newer western novels it might be the removal, at times, of stereotypes of Indians, women, Mexicans and some religious groups. (See Zane Grey)The so called formula western is still alive with a fair following, the one that puts the good guys against the bad guys. More and more westerns seem to be of the romance variety and these new westerns seem to be dominated by women writers, nothing bad about that, just an observance.
Type in “Westerns,” into an Amazon book search – most interesting. You will find a mix of new and old, romance and traditional and many very cheap or free on Kindle stories. 

And like any good cowboy in the end I will ride off into the sunset.

Great Sunset Over the Laramie Range December First 2014

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