Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wyoming and the Code of the West

Last March the Wyoming legislature passed senate file 51. This bill, while not a true law as much as it is a suggestion has been both admired and critized. Some say it makes those of us who live in Wyoming look like a bunch of hicks, others say, yes, this is what we are all about.

Here it is - The Code of the West, bill.

Adapted from the book, "Cowboy Ethics," by James P. Owen

-The code includes-

1. Live each day with courage
2. Take pride in your work 3. Always finish what you start
4. Do what has to be done
5. Be tough, but fair
6. When you make a promise, keep it
7. Ride for the brand
8. Talk less, say more
9. Remember that some things are not for sale
10.Know where to draw the line

The Code of the West, alive and Well in Wyoming –click here to watch a great four minutes of Wyoming.

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Yearly 99 Word Western Novel

It was dark, black on black. Then a slight noise but it was as dark for him as it was for me. I waited, not sure why, and then edged off the step into the soft dirt. I crept along keeping one hand on my Colt and the other on the side of the building. The odor stopped me cold. I had smelled death before and this was not it.
Just as my wife called out, “Tom, lookout, a skunk,” he fired.
I dropped to my knees, not dead but wishing I was. The door latched, I heard laughter.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas and Sledding

Christmas is over and I am sitting in my recliner playing with my brand new Kindle. (I have downloaded my first book - a Wm Johnstone Western)
All four kids and all seven grandkids made it. BUT as always there had to be a mishap and this one was a dozy. Our four year old granddaughter broke her leg sledding. It was our second day on the hill (yesterday) she is a tough little kid but when she said she needed to go to the doctor we knew it was hurting. Now it is all cast up (hip to foot) and in about eight weeks she will be as good as new. Thank God for grandkids, good doctors and quick healing for four year olds.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Favorite Western Movies

In just a few days the new version of True Grit opens. Will it be a winner or just another western that today’s audiences don’t like? Fifty years ago nearly everything on Television was some kind of western series and many feature films were westerns. Did too much cowboy time on TV kill the western? Twenty-nine series westerns in 1959 –Over exposure, maybe! And maybe that is what killed the big budget westerns on the silver screen. There have been some exceptions but for the most part westerns, of today, are marginal hits at best.
Maybe westerns don’t lend themselves to enough special effects and big screen tricks to keep today’s young viewers in their seats.
Or likely we oldsters don’t go to the theater enough.
Just for fun here is a list of my favorite westerns (some well know some a little more obscure) – not in order just my top 15.
What are your favorites?
Here is my list.
1. Open Range
2. 3-10 to Yuma
3. The outlaw Josie Wales
4. Winchester 73
5. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
6. The Shadow Riders
7. Last of the Dogmen
8. Jeremiah Johnson
9. Dances With Wolves
10. Stage Coach
11. Unforgiven
12. The Good the Bad and the Ugly
13. Rio Bravo
14. Treasure of the Sierra Madre
15. Ride the High Country

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lauran Paine

Every few years a new list of greatest of all time for something comes out. Westerns are no different with a little research I was able to find, greatest western novels, greatest western short stories, TV series, mini-series and movies.
Never have I read a list of the most prolific authors. I have one particular author that I really enjoy, William W. Johnstone, who wrote what I felt was a great mountain man series. He wrote in several genres, but mostly westerns. He was published for only about twenty-five years but managed to write and impressive two-hundred books.

But that does not come close to Lauran Paine the author of Open Range Men, a novel later made into the movie “Open Range”. If you have never heard of him, how about these writers all pseudonyms for Lauran Paine: John Armour, Reg Batchelor, Kenneth Bedford, Frank Bosworth, Mark Carrel, Robert Clarke, Richard Dana, J F Drexler, Troy Howard, Jared Ingersol, John Kilgore, Hunter Liggett, J K Lucas, John Morgan.
Lauran Bosworth Paine was born February 25, 1916 in Minnesota and has written more than 900 books.


Have you read anything by him?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pearl Harbor Day - No Old West Today

We should all remember this day in history. December 7, 1941.
My wife and I visited Pearl Harbor three years ago and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Every American should be lucky enough to some day visit.
When I was in college I had a history professor who told us that when he was a kid he thought he would never watch a parade without old men proudly walking by in their Union and Confederate uniforms. When I was a kid I watched so many old solders marching in their World War One and World War Two uniforms waving to us kids. I hope that there’re not all gone before all of us remember to say thanks. And not just to them but to all who served and are serving now.