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Monthly Archives: October 2018

Mile 22: Research

Western novels can be broken down into two categories (seems like everything in life can be broken down into two categories), those that are well-researched and those that are not. For those who love research, the following statement might be considered sacrilegious, but read on before hanging me in effigy. A great book does not

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Book Review: Catlow

“Catlow” is Louis L’Amour’s 1963 novel. Two childhood friends, Bijah Catlow and Ben Cowan take different paths as they grow from boyhood to manhood. Cowan becomes a U.S. marshal. And Catlow? He becomes an outlaw. I’ve read this book three times in the past few years, each one on my hammock and with a good

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Forum Featuring Andrew McBride

When — and why — did you first fall in love with Westerns?  As a kid growing up in England in the ’60s, I fell in love with Westerns watching movies and shows on TV. I was particularly taken by “The High Chaparral” TV series — its Arizona location photography and the background of the

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A Dark & Stormy Night

“A Dark & Stormy Night” is an unusual project. 52 different Western writers were each given the same prompt. In this particular case, the prompt was an homage to Charles Schultze and Snoopy: “It was a dark and stormy night.” Each writer was required to use this prompt as the first sentence for their 500-word

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Mile 21: Used Book Stores

Let me clear this up, right up front. I bare no ill will toward Kindle, online stores or even new book stores. That being said, there is something different, something unique, something magical, about used book stores. It is the rare writer who doesn’t love reading (I have met one, however) and the rare writer

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Movie Review: The Big Country

Allow me to say this right up front, 1958’s “The Big Country” is a fantastic movie. I hadn’t seen it before, and within 10 minutes I was hooked. The cinematography is brilliant, as is the acting and direction. Perhaps the biggest treat of all is that the director, William Wyler, treated the audience with respect,

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Forum Featuring Eric Lancaster

When — and why — did you first fall in love with Westerns? I grew up in a close-knit family. My grandmother used to babysit me, and she would watch “Gunsmoke” and “Maverick” (or any other James Garner production). My uncle Carter was the one who introduced me to Clint Eastwood movies, and my favorite

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Timber: United States Marshal

Subtle is not a word I would use to describe Robert Hanlon’s “Timber: United States Marshal.” Granted, you’re almost four pages in before Timber kills his first four men. And the story picks up steam from there and never slows down, not even for a page. The storyline is deceptively simple. Two Western stereotypes —

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Mile 20: Visit Locations

My last entry was about locations, especially the importance of accuracy if you’re writing about a real place that is readily researched. With this entry, I’m going to suggest you visit as many of those locations as possible. Most Westerns take place in the western half of the United States, which means if you live

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Movie Review: Trail End

Barry Corbin stars in this 2007 movie. In truth, Barry’s just about the only one of any consequence in this 25-minute film. In the spirit of full disclosure, Barry is a friend of mine, and I only heard of this film for the first time when he was kind enough to give it to me.

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