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Customer Discussions > Western forum

Why Westerns?

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Showing 126-150 of 224 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2009 9:22:27 PM PST
I'm going to check it out also.

Posted on Dec 23, 2009 6:30:53 PM PST
I think John and both Meyers ALL have valid points. I'm a former public school teacher, and I can say that MOST teachers I ever met were Democrat and liberal. I never taught in a culturally diverse school - my jobs were almost all in exclusively white settings. There are looney tune teachers out there, like the ones teaching kids to glorify Obama in song, but I think that most try to do present their material fairly. Unfortunately, most were educated by liberal it's a vicious cycle.

An excellent historian is Paul Wellman, author of "Death in the Desert - the 50 Years' War for the Great Southwest" and "Death on the Plains." His work is documented very carefully. Of course, it deals with Indian/white history, not black much at all. (Don't confuse Wellman's Death in the Desert with a book with the same title that is about the Arizona/Mexico border and the river of Middle Eastern terrorists that are crossing it along with the flow of narcotics.)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2009 10:03:36 PM PST
Meyer3 says:
Still can't figure out what the anger is all about John. Just when I thought we were winding down with this track of this discussion, you come back with more anger than ever.Your anger suggests that you and only you know about the issues that we have been discussing. Although I still can't figure out why you keep carrying on with me about the Scotch Irish. I never said anything about that. You seem to have some issues that really are bothering you. And you give me the impression of going a bit extreme on them. I don't even know where to start. At what point did anyone here try to tell you how to raise your children? And frankly, I somehow doubt that your family has run into all these constant situations of extreme PC. I think those were either taken out of context or . . . whatever. I don't wish to get to personal. I cannot help but wonder if your anger is based on some other issues. And no offense, but I don't care to go into those.
No one here has suggested any gov't conspiracy, or anything about everyone going "lockstep."
I am familiar with Ohio State, having gotten 2 Masters degrees there. One in education, one in American History. I am familiar with the Public School System in Columbus, having taught there for almost 30 years. I had a professor that later left to work for the Republican Party and others that if I were to guess, were clearly conservative republicans. Some were probably liberal democrats. I never asked, they never bothered to tell me. It was irrelevant. Never had one (even the one who left to work for the Republicans (on their economic and foreign policy advisory team) who allowed their own opinions to keep them from being professional and unbiased in their teaching ethics.
Sorry you are upset that more time has not been given to the history of the Scots and Irish, but as I stated, in the public school, (or anywhere else for that matter) no one can teach EVERYTHING that happened to everyone in one year. I understand and appreciate both your pride and concern about all that your ancestors have gone through. I am sure you must be aware, that that is true of just about every ethnic, religious, or racial group that came to the U. S. Most people have pride in their heritage. But public schools cannot go into detail on all of them. Despite the fact, that many members of every group feel about their groups history the same way you do. Decisions have to be made on what to emphasize and what to leave out. If someone wants to learn about the history of the Scotch-Irish in America, they need to either go to college or try to study it on their own. NO ONE IS SUGGESTING IT IS IRRELEVANT, just that time considerations make it impossible to teach everything in a public school year.
Now I could be wrong, wouldn't be the first or last time, but I suspect you are one of those people who take it personally when someone disagrees with you. Don't. It is through rational calm respectful discussion, that we learn about others, and often about ourselves. But if we want to keep our blood pressure down, we emphasize the "calm" part. And, the respectful part, is what keeps us from assuming that those who disagree have insulted us.
And lets keep in mind something I said long ago, no one can tell what is in someone's heart and mind. In history, we often know the whos, the, whens the where's, and hows, but the whys are often a mystery or a guess. That is one of the joys of studying history. And as a professor of mine once told me, when we read about history, one of the main things we learn is about the author of the book, document, letter, etc. We learn THEIR VIEWPOINTS, often more than the views of those they are discussing.
And lastly, and I do hope lastly (for some reason this in particular really bugs you and I couldn't care less about it), I never said anything about Earp's attitude toward religion other than it is obvious he must have been open minded about it since he professed to be a Christian, yet married a Jewish woman and is buried in a Jewish cemetery. Why on earth you obsess about this point is beyond me. Open minded does not mean non believer. It means open and accepting of other viewpoints. Someone who cannot accept other viewpoints, is by definition, not open minded. And in my OPINION, narrow minded. And in my opinion, lovers of history should not be narrow minded. They should accept and welcome different opinions.

Posted on Dec 26, 2009 10:08:38 PM PST
Meyer3 says:
Speaking of narrow minded, why can't book critics review Westerns? Yes I know many Westerns are not really written very well, but that is true of many mysteries and science fiction novels also, but they get reviewed all the time. I wish more of Elmer Keltons novels had been reviewed by major critics. His THE TIME IT NEVER RAINED is a particular favorite of mine. Interesting how in that and some of his other books he looks at different ethnic and religous groups. Not just whites and Indians, but German American, Mexican American, African American, etc. Another favorite if anyone is looking for a good short read that gives insight into different groups, is WAGONTONGUE. Wonderful novel giving insight into life for the Black Cowboy.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2009 6:23:52 AM PST
Walter Meyer says:
Well said. Anger is to no one's benefit, least of all John's. Jack Meyer

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2009 7:37:06 AM PST
Walter Meyer says:
I have to read more of Elmer Keltons westerns. I know that he worked
as a cowboy for awhile and knew that there was nostalgia about the
past with most cowboys, becauses the old timers told tales about their lives which tragically were never written down. This nostalgia is
ingrained in me and I have a passion for western history, prose, movies, antiques. Perhaps I am an antique.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2009 9:00:04 AM PST
I recently read two of Keltons' books in his Sons of Texas Trilogy. I read "The Raiders" and "The Rebels." I'll tell you, I learned MORE about the Mexican/American War reading those books than I ever learned in any classroom or from any text book. I highly recommend both.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2009 9:02:53 AM PST
Westerns are not reviewed all that much because the "BIG" publishers keep insisting the Western has all but died. In point of case, there are some superlative Westerns recently out. Jere D. James' "Saving Tom Black" was given a glowing review by Midwest Book Review, Western Fiction Review, Arizona State Historian Marshall Trimble, et al. Also, James Best's "The Shopkeeper" was a good read. Well written and entertaining.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2009 3:50:34 PM PST
Meyer3 says:
Like many cultures all around the world, 19th century America, particularly out West, had a great oral tradition. We need to revitalize that by writing discovering and writing down these many stories (even though many are exaggerated or downright nonsense). They are a part of our heritage. People who have traveled and lived in the West often pick up many of these wonderful stories. If you stop in many small towns, they often have a small town museum, made up of some small home that was donated (or abandened) and people donate old items. Visiting these can be a wonderful experience. I suspect Louis Lamour picked up ideas for his stories through his many travels out West. Not long ago, I discovered that a major plot point in his book FLINT, was actually based on a true story. Now I am not a big fan of Lamour, his protagonists tend to be "superman" out West. The fastest gun, toughest hombre, etc. but I saw a wonderful review of FLINT so I read it. Then by accident, on a websight WWW.LEGENDSOFAMERICA I was reading some historical stories picked up by the sights author, and there was a key incident from Lamour's book there. It is not a well known story, and he obviously changed it to fit in his book, but there it was. It made the book that much better for me.
I don't think we are antiques "fellow Meyer", we are like fine wine, generally unappreciated by many, but by those who know, Westerns are classics. Classics being defined as "being able to speak to have meaning to someone, despite the passage of time." What we need to do, is to find ways to increase our numbers to help encourage the writers and movie makers of the future.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2009 4:01:33 PM PST
Meyer3 says:
I just happened on to some of your book reviews Becky. Very interesting and well done. If you are new to Elmer Kelton, try WAGONTONGUE, and MANHUNTERS, and especially THE WOLF AND THE BUFFALO. All are wonderful stories, and very illuminating on relationships between different cultures in the West. In WAGONTONGUE, it is between white and black cowboys, in MANHUNTERS it is between Anglos and Hispanics, and in THE WOLF AND THE BUFFALO it is about the 9th Cavalry (and all Black unit) and the Commanche Indians. I agree with you 100%, sometimes we get more insight in a fine fiction novel, than any history book. Of course part of that is because in a history book or course, they discuss the who, what, where, and when. But in fiction, the novelist can go into the whys.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2009 5:26:12 PM PST
Walter Meyer says:
One of the things about early western writers was that they grew up
at the end of the horse age. Writers today for the most part grew up
in the auto age and may not or probably did not have a western experience or horse experience. When I was a youth, people could rent horses many places. Today, even in Montana rental places are
scarce due to liability cost. Working as a dude wrangler in Glacierless
Park, I met hundreds of people that had little or no horse experience
or contact. Modern times and a changing world.Not like the 60's.
One thing that bothers me is that the term "cowboy" is used in the
movies or on tv to denote someone who is rogue or does not follow
the party line. You know what I'm saying. I was raised on Max Brand,
Zane Grey,William Colt MacDonald,Luke Short, Ernest Haycox, Eugene
Cunningham, William MacCleod Raine, Walt Coburn, and others of that
era. Louis Lamour was a good story teller, but not always accurate as
he professed to be. In Hondo, he mentions rangers in 1880's Arizona
where rangers did not come into being until 1901 and also the scalping
done by the Apaches. Apaches did not scalp.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2009 10:07:45 PM PST
Meyer3 says:
Interesting observation about the "horse age." Also, I understand what you mean about how the term "cowboy" is often used today. It does seem to be someone who does not follow the "party line," and independent person who acts without thinking. Except for that last part, the acting without thinking, those are some of the traits that we used to admire about cowboys. We saw them as independent, self reliant, who did not feel peer pressure to act or do as others, but by what they saw for themselves as right. I think it is why we admired them so much.
As to "acting without thinking," real cowboys, being somewhat self assured, can be self depracating. I heard a modern day cowboy on a documentary about cowboys tell the following joke.
A man walked into a new store that sold all kinds of odds and ends. He started chatting with the owner and they became friendly. The owner said "Come in the back and I will show something very special" He did and in 3 large sealed jars were very small strange looking items. The owner said they were brains that had been removed from dead people. He would sell them if the customer wanted any of them. The customer said "How much?' and the storekeeper said "Well this one belonged to a doctor, and I could sell it for $10. And this one here belonged to a lawyer and I could sell it for $10. This third one I couldn't let go for less than $100."
"Why so much?" the customer asked. "Well," said the storeowner, "It belonged to a cowboy so it has hardly ever been used."

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2009 10:09:45 PM PST
Meyer3 says:
As to Lamour not always being accurate, I am sure he believed in the line from the John Ford film, THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, that went something like, "when the facts are known, print the legend."

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2009 10:12:54 PM PST
Meyer3 says:
In the story KINCH RILEY, by Matt Braun, that true story you referred to is also used by Louis Lamour in FLINT. I guess everybody knew that story except me until I saw it in LEGENDSOFAMERCIA.COM

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2009 5:55:03 AM PST
Walter Meyer says:
Good one!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2009 6:53:21 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 28, 2009 7:00:21 AM PST
Mister Ed says:
I will conclude this off the track subject with this last post. I'm going to be spending Orthodox Christmas and the next three weeks in Ukraine at my mother in law's place; she is in pretty bad shape I hope she makes Christmas day. ...
Now I not saying this is the case-but when you say that you doubt my family has experienced that much PC-I have to ask what you mean. That wouldn't be fancy way of calling me liar would it ? ....I have a huge family-lots of kids-22 grandkids, so many nieces and nephews in my 10 brothers and sisters families I've lost count...I, my family have dealt, or brothers and sisters and their families have with the PC lunatics . I didn't hump of ruck and in ODA deployments all over the world for 25 years to be a happy go along camper tantamount to an REMF ... Now I could do up a list a mile long of my other collage age Daughter's ----niece's nephews. My grand kids adventures in PC indoctrination -that's either here nor there...

As far as anger goes-you folks just do not understand an SF trooper -I am a soldier I am guff, and got use to arguing with REMF's behind a desk for my men -these kind of folks whose decisions make sense only if you think of human beings as statistics. This is the main problem with REMFs- they think of people as numbers. They even set their desks up so that it faces the door so in case there is a scuffle you have to go over their desk to get your hands around their throat.
No offense to anybody I'm not in any way shape or form comparing anybody to REMF's I just explaining to you my debating skills were picked up debating these type people for 25 years.

One of many "contexts" My daughter did a report on her father; part of it included pictures of my study filled with military awards, flags, unit flags, campaign streamers, pictures with famous soldiers anybody would be familiar with and active duty in places like Vietnam, El Salvador...--- and portraits of Thomas Jefferson and Robert E. Lee showed up crystal clear in one of the big print out pictures. The teacher -- took it on its self to inform my daughter why in It's opinion --they and I are a symbol of oppression. Now my daughter let it be know my background-so it knew I was career soldier. The only business a teacher has with my kids is the three r's. So this year she was home schooled and thriving...SO WE ARE DOWN RIGHT HAPPY..

I think people better examine wants going on in 2010 ......sounds an awful lot alike what I call the new communism for the 21st century -aka -----PC. This is the type garbage running loose in "higher education" two of my Clan attends.

From the link about^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Thank heaven for FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), whose activism appears to have forced the publicly funded University of Minnesota to abandon a berserk plan to force students who want to be teachers to accept indoctrination in far-left cultural politics as a condition of their teacher training. From FIRE's blog:
The proposal, initiated by the college's Race, Culture, Class, and Gender Task Group, sought to require each future teacher to accept theories of "white privilege, hegemonic masculinity, heteronormativity, and internalized oppression"; "develop a positive sense of racial/cultural identity"; and "recognize that schools are socially constructed systems that are susceptible to racism ... but are also critical sites for social and cultural transformation." They were to be judged by their scores on the Intercultural Development Inventory, a test of "Intercultural Sensitivity." In one assignment, they were to reveal a "pervasive stereotype" they personally held and then demonstrate how their experiences had "challenged" it. They also were to be assessed regarding "the extent to which they find intrinsic satisfaction" in being in "culturally diverse situations."

Just a little side note to anybody reading this post , I talked in a previous post of history's greatest crime nobody knows about --- Ukraine in a world court of law is bringing a criminal case on genocide of the Ukrainian people against Uncle Joe Stalin and the former USSR-for genocide
you all might would like to read and broaden your historical diversification and learn of a crime of genocide of 7 to 10 Ukrainians the NY times covered up ....I'll include several links ..Because the story of their hardship needs to be ringing loud and clear round the entire world. It is very important to Ukrainians, they are tired of all the lies told by communist story tellers. Persons desiring additional documentation of this huge tragedy can read Malcolm Muggeridge's "Winter in Moscow". His paper, The Manchester Guardian refused to publish his dispatches smuggled out of the USSR and they assigned him to far-away India. Eric Margolis, writing in his weekly Foreign Correspondent column of 2 June 2008, called this event Modern history's greatest crime

Now Back to subject and no more partaking in off topic discussion----A couple of weeks ago the History Channel premiered "The Real Wyatt Earp" in its Cowboys & Outlaws series. It will repeat many times
- check your listings. I found it surprisingly well balanced (considering how distorted some HC programs can be.) It analyzes Earp's background and motivations as a lawman, faro dealer, outlaw, etc., and how he later tried to shape his own image, but it doesn't go into much detail about the notorious vendetta ride, etc. Something of the real Wyatt really did emerge, a refreshing change from the many blow-by-blow accounts that offer little wisdom and insight.

There is no mention of Warren Earp or Hickey's wild hypothesis in the book -The Death Of Warren Baxter Earp by Michael Hickey-about Wyatt's supposed "second vendetta ride" to avenge Warren's death. A longer program might helpfully offer more about Earp family dynamics, but the second vendetta ride exists only in Hickey's fevered imagination.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2009 6:58:50 AM PST
Well, Kinch Riley was said to be "loosely" based on a true story. We all know what that can mean. I read it to be someone killed all these people, and then a story was concocted. GREAT GREAT story, let me hasten to add. I loved it, but hated the ending. Probably because it was realistic.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2009 7:22:28 AM PST
This is a great post. It always amuses/concerns me that the Western and the Western image is positively revered in so many other countries of the world, but here it is definitely considered passe. And it's my belief, right or wrong, that really only Western people can really write good Westerns! I guess I think it's sorta like "walkin' your talk."

As to the horse knowledge...I concur. Unless a person is really familiar with a horse and its ways, a writer cannot truly express that experience. That's just plain old "horse sense."

I know people from other countries have written Westerns, but I think the best Westerns come from people who truly have a Western experience/lifestyle/way of thinking.

As for movies, in my book Tom Selleck may be the only actor who can really salvage the Western. He has my vote anyway. I'm sure there "might" be others, but darned if I can think of one.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2009 7:28:58 AM PST
Walter Meyer says:
I think that Quigley Down Under was Sellecks best western. As for
Monte Walsh, much of the dialogue was the same as in the original which was far better. Selleck is too large a man to be a good cowboy.
He is a good actor and is a horseman as is Ed Harris and Viggo Mortenson.

Posted on Dec 29, 2009 9:22:03 PM PST
I kind of, sort of, have to agree that Tom is bigger than the cowboy of yesteryear probably was. BUT, there were big guys back then too! Think of the Apache guy, Mangus Colorado. He was like 7' tall. Tom is a very good actor and horseman, as is Ed Harris and Viggo Mortenson. All three are good Western guys, I agree. I still think Tom Selleck has "something" though. Maybe it's just an attitude. I'll have to think about Western actors and see who I can come up with. Meanwhile, I'm going to go order some books!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2009 7:34:45 AM PST
It is hard to pick modern day persons as western actors. I like Tom Selleck....I also like Kevin Sorbo. I try to think, who woul play the Sin Killer the way Larry McMurtry described him in the Berrybender novels...I think Kevin Sorbo has the attitude and the looks for it. I also think the Berrybender books would make a great serial western as Lonesome Dove did. I have over 500 individual western dvd's and a number of multiple movie sets. I still like the old guys and not to many modern day actors can fill those slots the way they did. If westerns were just as popular in the box office that probably wouldn't be true. I still believe the stories of mountain men, western exploration and western wilderness have not been explored on film nearly as it should or could have been. It is all about shoot'm ups instead of about the real situations, the roughness of the real west due to nature...Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Northern California, Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, British Columbia, Northern Nevada.....there is still lots to write about and lots to see on film if the popularity can be driven to want to see it, read it, feel it.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2009 8:14:00 AM PST
Walter Meyer says:
Many people say, "I wish I was born a hundred years ago." They don't
realize life was not idylic, but was hard physically and amenities that
we take for granted were non-existent.
Popularity of westerns has many facets, nostalgia for the frontier in the early 20th century with the advent of movies, rodeos, wild west
shows and literature. Many people had a link to the frontier, with
oldsters telling stories of their experiences. peoples experiences with
horses and wagons before the advent of the auto. Horses could be
seen on city streets up into the 1950's. I have seen mule carts in
Memphis, Tenn. in 1960. There was no entertainment but radio
and movies and people had a link to the farm, and diet was different
in that there were no preservatives and people ate meat. Today's
generation does not have that work ethic and history of struggle
through depression that toughened a generation to fight WW2.
Todays generation does not have the western movie history that
people in the 1940's and 50's lived through with pocked books,
and comic books.
Sadly today's heroes are mucisians and sports stars that are in the
news for cheating, beating wives, killing dogs, taking drugs, etc.

Posted on Dec 30, 2009 4:30:29 PM PST
Meyer3 says:
When he was younger, Harrison Ford would have made a great Western star (he keeps a home in Montana). Actually, he was in a few TV westerns, guest starring in minor roles on GUNSMOKE. He also did a comedy western with Gene Wilder.
Tommy Lee Jones should do more westerns, although he too is getting long in the tooth. Too many of the recent stars are too much identified with large eastern cities. But still it would be fun if they took a crack at making some westerns. Guys like Spielberg, and Scorcese often talk about how John Ford influenced them, but they have never even tried to make a Western.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2009 4:39:53 PM PST
Walter Meyer says:
At a team roping about twenty four years ago I met Michael Douglas
and we talked about his movies. It never occurred to me to ask why
he never made a western that I am aware of. His dad made several and was a good rider. This was in Montana.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2009 6:08:22 PM PST
This post is exactly right on, I think. You're right. Today's heroes are musicians and sports figures...this applies to my own sons, and they grew up with horses and cows, no less. My childhood was filled with Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers...those programs weren't around when my boys were was transformers, ninja turtles, et al. I think that is a huge huge clue as to why the Western struggles, but I do think the market for Westerns, though small, is loyal.
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Discussion in:  Western forum
Participants:  41
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Initial post:  Mar 29, 2009
Latest post:  Jul 3, 2012

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