Hey-Where Is My Horse?

The cowhand raced to save the distressed maiden, he leapt from his trusty steed, and ground tied him, as whistling lead and the smell of gun powder filled the air.
I made that up, but did recently finish reading books by two different authors, where the hero ground tied his horse under all conditions- they ground tied so much I got tired of waiting for the horse to run off. Things that I have read, and or tried with ground tying indicate the cowboy may need hiking boots instead of cowboy boots if he ground ties too much.
Much like the cowboys that loop the reins around the hitching post in the old movies, horses will shy and get the heck out of Dodge if too much action and noise starts. Heck my pick-up doesn’t like to stick around if things get to wild——-but I do.
I like well researched western reads, not sure these writers had spent much time around horses. Too bad, one of them was fast paced and fun.

Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 12:02 am  Comments (2)  
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The Last Stagecoach Hold-up

The summer of 1914 may have truly marked the end of the old west. Why, because that was the year of the last stagecoach holdup, and it took place near Shoshone Point in Yellowstone Park. Other places claim the last holdup, including one of the Cheyenne-Deadwood Stage and one in Nevada, but I like this one. The year marked the end of the horse’s only transportation in the park, as cars came for the first time the next year, and a year after that, 1916 would mark the end of the coaches in the park.

I like this bit of history  because the robber, Edward Trafton, (Ed Harrington) did not just hold up a stagecoach, he held up fifteen in a row. The stages carried tourists seeing the sights of the park, and the sixteenth coach, sniffing out something bad, turned around and went for help.

Wearing several layers of extra clothes and a black mask,Trafton stopped each coach rustled out the passengers and asked them, while holing a rifle, to put their money in a sack lying at his feet. For his days work he collected a little over nine hundred dollars and jewelry worth another one- hundred and thirty dollars. Trafton, a ladies’ man, or one who believed he was, laughed and asked the ladies to hide their jewelry, he was only interested in cash. Not sure how or why he ended up with more than a hundred dollars worth anyway, maybe he didn’t like some of the women as much as others.

Trafton had so much fun holding up a stage every half hour that he even allowed some of the passengers to take his photo. Not sure Tafton was the smartest of outlaws, but he likely believed he was, because of this day, famous, and needed to secure his place in history. It did secure a place but maybe not what he had in mind.

The well photographed outlaws next stop was Leavenworth, where he rested up for five years. He died more than a decade later
with a letter in his pocket claiming he was the cowboy Owen Wister based the Virginian on. More likely, if Wister  ever met him and put him in the famous novel, he was one of the bad guys or less than bright characters in the story. Trampas?

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 mine.

  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

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.

–WOW-

Have you read anything by him?

Published in: on December 12, 2010 at 7:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Been on a short break.

When the going got tough I went on vacation. Ten states and a great time, lots of fine people and good times. Much history to see in America. I have been reading and researching most of the summer -oh- and working in the garden and playing with my grandson, he’s five and we act about the same. (According to grandma)

Hope all of you are having a great summer, I am.

Back to work for this old teacher in a few weeks–my 41st year in the classroom. For those of you who were not with me on the old blogs I teach history of Wyoming and the American West, and AP European history. I teach high school but taught college Western American History for many years also. Other than the west I have interest and have published some works on the WPA and the CCC.

I will try to get back to posting at least once a week. Will be posting one of my short fiction works soon.

Remember — don’t put a cartridge under the hammer, five should do the job.

Published in: on July 23, 2010 at 4:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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A New Western Mystery

Sorry I have been away so long.

I have spent most of my free time the last three weeks trying to put the finishing touches on a western novel. It is complete at a little over 70,000 words. The protagonist is a cowboy, sometimes gambler sometime lawman still trying to figure out who he really is. He rides a great horse and is better with knives and guns that just about anyone who ever lived. A dime novel hero in the making, trouble is he can’t make a commitment, not to anything. Not to the love of his life not to a job not to a place to put down roots. A modern day wanderer in the 1880’s who is befriended by a legendary mountain man works with an aging civil war hero and meets a mystical preacher along the way.

 I call it a western mystery and I think it is pretty good. I have published some shorter stuff in the past and am pretty confident that I will be able to sell it – but we will see,

I have two other novels ready for review and rewrite, a modern day western mystery and a nonfiction book.  I find writing and researching stimulating, rewriting and revising boring and hard work.

Published in: on April 10, 2010 at 2:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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Justice in the Old West –or- A Day in Dodge City Court

 

From—Great Gunfighters of the Kansas Cowtowns 1867-1886, page 171,

 Nyle H. Miller and Joseph W. Snell

“The Marshal will preserve strict order,” said the Judge. “Any person caught throwing turnips, cigar stumps, beets, or old quids of tobacco at this court, will be immediately arranged before this bar of justice.” The Policeman Joe W. Mason looked savagely at the mob in attendance, hitched his ivory handle a little to the left and adjusted his moustache. “Trot out the wicked and unfortunate, and let the cotillion commence,” said his Honor.

Ah—the good old beet and turnip throwing days.  How I miss them.

Published in: on March 27, 2010 at 1:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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Just for Fun – It’s Spring

 

The tall stranger bellied up to the counter and watched as the patrons lowered their heads and shuffled away. A wry smile turned the corners of his mouth into his drooping mustache. He dug in his pocket and pulled out a weathered dollar bill, unfolded it and placed it on the counter. He didn’t have to say a word—they all knew and they all watched.

The bar-keep reached slowly, after first making eye contact he couldn’t hold, under the counter and pulled out a clean mug, filled it, and carefully sat the still foaming mug in front of the tall stranger with the big thirst. Then he turned again reaching low, a glint of metal showed in his right hand. His hand came up quickly, but not too fast and placed a large scoop of vanilla ice cream into the glass.

The stranger nodded, pulled the paper end from his straw and shot the barkeep with the paper in the center of his chest. The patrons fell silent and moved farther from the action as the tall stranger took a long cool drink. Man-oh-man how the stranger loved the first Monday of spring—Root Beer floats, only a buck every Monday until June 1st.

Five minutes later it was all over, as fast as it had started. The glass was empty, the stranger smiled and wiped the dripping root beer flavored ice cream from his mustache with the back of his straw paper shooting hand. He stepped back as the other patrons held their breath—what would happen next.

He turned walked three steps, pushed open the glass door and walked once again into the stifling mid-day heat. Inside the patrons let out a collective sigh and ordered floats all around.

Published in: on March 21, 2010 at 8:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bad Guy–But It’s Still Kind of Funny

Wyoming bad guy George W. Pike was once accused by a neighbor of stealing a pot of stew cooking on a stove in the wall tent they were temporarily calling home. When the neighbor went to find the town marshal Pike reportedly watched him go then stole the stove the stew had been cooked on. Reportedly there was not enough evidence to convict Pike on either charge. Pike was better known as a horse and cattle thief but was never the less well liked by people in and around Douglas Wyoming. (At least the ones he did not steal from)

   George W. Pike (Born around 1863- died 1906)          

 Grave Stone, Douglas Park Cemetery – Douglas, Wyoming

Underneath this stone in eternal rest
Sleeps the wildest one of the wayward west
He was a gambler and sport and cowboy too
And he led the pace in an outlaw crew
He was sure on the trigger and staid to the end
But he was never known to quit on a friend
In the relations of death all men are alike
But in life there was only one George W. Pike

__________________________________________

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 2:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Bad Guy but a Fun Guy – George W. Pike

Wyoming bad guy George W. Pike was once accused by a neighbor of stealing a pot of stew cooking on a stove in the wall tent they were temporarily calling home. When the neighbor went to find the town marshal Pike reportedly watched him go then stole the stove the stew had been cooked on. Reportedly there was not enough evidence to convict Pike on either charge. Pike was better known as a horse and cattle thief but was never the less well liked by people in and around Douglas Wyoming. (At least the ones he did not steal from)

   George W. Pike (Born around 1863- died 1906)          

 Grave Stone, Douglas Park Cemetery – Douglas, Wyoming

Underneath this stone in eternal rest
Sleeps the wildest one of the wayward west
He was a gambler and sport and cowboy too
And he led the pace in an outlaw crew
He was sure on the trigger and staid to the end
But he was never known to quit on a friend
In the relations of death all men are alike
But in life there was only one George W. Pike

__________________________________________

Published in: on March 13, 2010 at 3:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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