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Monday’s Western Review

Movie Review: The First Texan

1956’s “The First Texan” is a star vehicle for one of the biggest Western stars ever — Joel McCrea. If you like Joel McCrea, you’ll love this movie. It’s an hour and 22 minutes long, and McCrea is on screen for about an hour and 19 minutes. McCrea stars as Sam Houston, who resigns, in

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Book Review: Cloudy in the West

Some reviews are easier to write than others. This one could be very simple. Elmer Kelton Western novel ’Nuff said However, I’ll give you a bit more. “Cloudy in the West” is Kelton’s 1997 novel, a book that takes place in 1885, deep in Texas. Our protagonist is a 12-year-old boy, Joey Shipman, who loses

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Book Review: Tombstone

“I’m your Huckleberry.” That’s it, you don’t need to know anything else. Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in the 1993 classic, “Tombstone,” is one of the greatest roles of all time. Kilmer is perfect is every scene, and while everyone in the movie does from good to great, Kilmer is spectacular. I know I’m not

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Book Review: Badman

Full disclosure: 1957’s “Badman” was written by Clair Huffaker, who wrote one of my all-time favorite novels — not just all-time favorite Westerns, but novels of all genres — “The Cowboy and the Cossack.” That being shared, I was predisposed to like this book. The good news is — I wasn’t disappointed. “Badman” is an

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Book Review: Rio Bravo

1959’s “Rio Bravo” is a fantastic film, a favorite of many of my Western friends. It is directed by Howard Hawks, stars John Wayne and Dean Martin (along with a great supporting cast), and has plenty of fights, good guys, bad guys and a terrific sense of humor. You even get to hear Dean Martin

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Book Review: Shane

Jack Schaefer’s 1949 novel, “Shane,” is set in the late 19th century in the Wyoming territory. The plot is a common one found in many Westerns. Luke Fletcher is a cattle driver who is hungry for all the range he can control and willing to do whatever it takes to move the homesteaders, who have

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Book Review: The Shootist

John Bernard (J.B.) Books, is what was known back then as a “shootist,” though in later years the more popular term became gunfighter. Books has been told he has cancer, which he doesn’t want to believe, and comes to Carson City to get a second opinion. He moves into a boarding house run by Bond

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Movie Review: Lonesome Dove

“Lonesome Dove,” a television miniseries, is a four-part adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s 1985 book of the same name. It benefits greatly from the more than six hours afforded to a miniseries that would never happen with a theatrical movie. Two former Texas Rangers, captains Augustus “Gus” McCrae and Woodrow F. Call, decide it’s time for

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Book Review: Once a Renegade

Peter Brandvold’s 2002 novel, “Once a Renegade,” is quite a morality tale, under the umbrella of an old-fashioned Western. Shambeau is a Métis Indian who lives alone, as much as he can, and avoids people whenever possible. He is looked down on as a “dirty half breed” and lives his life by a code that

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Book Review: Old Yeller

Fred Gipson’s 1956 “Old Yeller” is a classic, iconic book and movie. It’s a Newbery Honor-winning novel about a mangy, rascal of a stray dog — named Old Yeller — and the Coates family, who adopts Old Yeller while their father is off on a cattle drive. In 1860s Texas, having a dog could be

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