Galloping Across the Plains

I grew up on the Lone Ranger; my brother, the eldest of us four kids, had control of the television on Saturday mornings because he was the oldest. I don’t know why, but he said so. Shrug. That’s big brothers for ya. Dad had two topics when it came to movies – World War ll, and the Wild West. John Wayne was Dad’s idea of an actor. Who’s going to argue with Dad?

I miss westerns. I never read the novels, like Dad did; Zane Grey (trivia fact – did you know Zane Grey’s first name was Pearl? He was Pearl Zane Grey). Dad also liked Horatio Hornblower (C. S. Forester) but sorry – not for me.

I have two favorites that I watch every time they show up on television – we are forced to watch old movies because, hey – who can watch the junk they produce now??? I love Tombstone ( (best quote from Tombstone, “I’m your huckleberry”) and Jeremiah Johnson ( “He says you fish poorly.” Favorite quote from JJ – makes me smile just typing it.

These two movies represent a lot of what I think is American. Tombstone is at the cusp of modernization; they would soon see the end of the old west and the beginning of industrialization in places it never was before – our ingenuity, innovation, foresight, and ambition – full speed ahead and let the devil take the hindmost. Jeremiah Johnson is the American guy – I don’t like what I’m seeing, I hate what I’m doing, and I’m going to go in a different direction. Went up into the mountains with nothing more than a good idea and became a Mountain Man. He learned the hard way; attempt and failure. Before too long, he was having more successes than failures and met some pretty interesting characters along the way. Do you remember Gran’pa on the television show The Waltons? Will Geer played the old mountain man that helped ‘larn’ Jeremiah a thing or three about life as a mountain man. Second best line from JJ. The old mountain man, Bearclaw, is teaching JJ the best way to shoot an elk; he tells him to get beside his horse, put the Hawkins rife (“but damn if it were a Hawkin!”) to rest on the saddle and shoot. JJ asks won’t the elk see my feet? (here it comes …) “Elk don’t know how many feet a horse have!” I laugh every time.

I’m a city girl, born and raised. The old west, the wild west, fascinates me. People lived in their time as we do now; they would no more know how to function today than we would going back in time. Each generation makes its own discoveries; each generation holds its own destiny. We are a country filled with people willing to take risks – opening a bar today has the same problems (more, considering regulatory statutes) as opening a bar then. It’s a craps shoot – you pay your money and you throw them dice.

It was dusty and dirty and you made your way the best way you could. You depended on yourself first, helped a neighbor when you had them, and kept that goal in sight. Not such a bad way to live. The women worked every bit as hard as the men and never asked anyone to pat ’em on the back for it. It’s just what you did to live and to thrive.

I guess I like most of the old westerns; Rio Bravo, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, The Magnificent Seven, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance just to name a few, heaven knows there were a lot of them. I guess I have reached the age where I can say with authority, they sure don’t make ’em like they used to.

A note from Neo: Audre now joins Jessica and me on the topic of American movies, specifically the western, as the myth of America, that we not only believe ourselves but the world does as well. I’m going to have quite a lot to say, including links soon, so let’s see what you guys think. So, “Saddle up, Marines, the war ain’t over!”

19 Responses to Galloping Across the Plains

  1. 39 Pontiac Dream says:

    Howdy, Audre. 🙂

    Westerns are a funny thing in this household. I like them and Tina doesn’t. I find a simple comfort about them. There’s no complexity about them and even the conflict and politics is elementary – you have it, I want it! For the most part, though, the characters are just hardworking, close to the land and want to build something, whether it be their farm or family.

    Westerns have been making inroads in gaming too with the Red Dead games (Tina incidentally is getting me the second one for my birthday next week – hooray!). It’s a nice diversion from the usual FPS’s you get.

    I can’t name a favourite Western, I have so many but I do like Tombstone. That’s possibly one of Val Kilmer’s best roles.

    As an aside, Tina and I always thought of Dave as a classic Western man, even though he’s up in Nebraska. You know, like the old Marlboro man who’d tilt his hat at Tina and say in a low drawl, “Ma’am.” Tina would go weak at the knees if he ever did that!

    Liked by 2 people

    • audremyers says:

      Howdy, pardner! Only if the Marlboro Man is Sam Elliot. That guy STILL floats my boat.

      Liked by 2 people

      • 39 Pontiac Dream says:

        A voice like silk.

        You should give The Big Lebowski a watch, if you haven’t already. Elliot does the narration for it and though I can’t say he floats my boat (I’m not that way inclined), his voice could melt rubber from a tyre!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. the unit says:

    My, where to start? When you do also look at the co-stars, sidekicks, and those acknowledged credits and who then became stars themselves. Can be an interesting afternoon or day or more research and memories.
    I’ll start in the middle with “Ride the High Country”. Fell for Mariette Hartley. 🙂
    Too many to name, but end with this one:

    End can be a beginning. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. the unit says:

    My final about this. Your older brother must have watched ‘The Range Rider’. Here’s how Jock O’Mahoney got started. In a later series with another name, he had a friend named Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah.

    Final well, until we chat about westerns again

    Liked by 2 people

  4. audremyers says:

    the unit – my two sisters and my brother are blondes, after our mom. But I got my paternal grandmother’s red hair.

    Liked by 2 people

    • the unit says:

      I was known as cotton in my younger days. Then when going to get my flat top trimmed as a teen, I noticed red hair snips on the barbers drape. Hard to figure, but then knew/figured I was mixed genetically. Helped me to cope with my confusion. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Myths,legends and facts | nebraskaenergyobserver

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