“Bullets or fries Sir?”

16 Dec

Rose, my Lady, sent me this story – asked me post it – figuring people might be interested. I am.

Guns, of course, are always a controversy – especially on Western Blogs because pretty well every Western has guns in it – killing and shooting. And I have just been covering Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch.

So this raised the issue. We in Canada, just went through a very controversial period whereby a law was passed to register all guns. Eventually the whole thing failed and the law was thrown out.

We have no such thing here as the 2nd Amendment, though many people feel the same way.

I have no guns. Sometimes when I watch the News I wonder if I shouldn’t get one. Fearing that the world is going to blow up in my face – anarchy and all.
I grew up with guns – us 5 boys and sis. In the house we had 2 double barrel shotguns; one single 12 gauge; 2 30/30’s; 3 22’s; about 3 handguns; pellet rifles …
I was also in the Militia for a short time – Calgary Highlanders. Went to Camp Wainwright: shot FNC1’s; FNC2; Stengun; BrenGun; tossed grenades …
But right now I don’t own any guns – don’t believe I’ve shot one since I left home in 1969.
I like Action movies (if they’re well done) and obviously Westerns. And I play lots of computer games – most have shooting and killing.
But I have no inclination to kill anybody.
Not yet anyway.


Story of “Teddy” Edward Cullinane in the Klondike Goldrush

16 Dec

Mark Stanton’s remembrances of his “Great Uncle Ted”s adventures in the Klondike Gold Rush:


Story of “Teddy” Edward Cullinane in the Klondike Goldrush

“When I was a young boy, my mother and father used to tell me the story of Great Uncle Ted and his adventures in the Klondike Goldrush in the Yukon, Canada.

I always found the story (albeit sketchy and perhaps embellished with family folklore) to be an inspirational tale. Especially as it had a tangible side, in that I knew that on “coming of age”, I stood to inherit a tiny piece of that legend – a small golden tie pin that Ted had given to his sister (my Great Grandmother – Julia Cullinane) on one of his Christmas visits back to England.

The pin (pictured right) is of a horse-shoe with a miners winch cradle and bucket, it is stamped “Dawson 14k” on the reverse.

Dawson tiepin

(The only other tangible pieces of the legend were a few photos, and a couple of rocks containing small gold nuggets, which my grandmother used as door stops for many years! My sister inherited these, and has maintained their traditional employ!)

What follows is the story of Teddy’s Klondike adventure (at least as far as I have managed to piece together so far). His successes, his experiences and his ultimate fate, some of which must always remain folklore, as you will discover as you read on…

Edward “Teddy” Cullinane

Leaving Home (1898)

Portrait of Teddy Cullinane

Portrait of Teddy Cullinane

Edward “Teddy” Cullinane was born in 1873 into a large Bristolian family. His father, Timothy, an Irish immigrant, was a foreman in the Great Western Cotton Factory at Barton Hill, where his mother Eliza (a Bristol girl) also worked as a cotton warper.

Perhaps it was the living conditions in Barton Hill in those days, the drudgery of factory labour in the local cotton or iron works; perhaps the Irish disposition to migration, or simply a young man’s yearning for adventure; whatever it was, something drove Teddy to leave home in 1898 aged 25, and travel half way around the world to seek his fortune, prospecting for gold in the Klondike gold rush.

The following links will take you to the individuals mentioned in this article.

Cheechako in Eldorado (1898-1903)

The route that Teddy took to get to Dawson City is not currently known, though it is thought to have been via the Chilcoot Pass as described in the film above. Amongst his photo’s of the period is the commercially produced shot on the right of a tramway tower encased in ice, which suggests he had some connection to that route. Either way as the short film and article above describes, the fact he arrived at Dawson at all, is in itself an impressive feat!

Teddy, like many other Cheechako’s (as newly arrived stampeders were known), would probably have found that much of the land on the creeks and rivers around Dawson City was already subject to claims. So one would have to assume that he had to work as layman on someone else’s claim at first, until he could secure a share in a claim for himself.
Through partnerships with fellow prospectors, Teddy did manage to get himself a share in various Placer Mining grants (issued by the Yukon Gold Commissioners office), on the famous Bonanza and Eldorado creeks near Dawson City.

Three men on a horse

Three men on a horse

Tramway tower on Chilkoot Pass

Tramway tower on Chilkoot Pass

We know he was partnered in claim number 13 on Eldorado Creek with EM White, William Dunham, William Sheets and James Higgins. This was around the time that a photographer, Asahel Curtis was documenting Klondike life through photography. Is it possible that the man in the centre of thisphotograph (held by the University of Washington) is our Teddy?

It seems the “13 Eldorado” claim began producing significant yields by 1902 as this Dawson Sun article “Big Dumps are the Fashion” (December 17th 1902) suggests. In the photograph to the left, it is believed that the man standing third from the left is Teddy.

The following year must have been a very successful season for Teddy. By the end of the summer of 1903 he sold a group of 15 claims on French Hill for what must have been a significant sum, and returned to England to visit his family.

One of the most intriguing items that still exists from his time in the Klondike is a copy of the Yukon Sun from September 23rd 1903. In it is an article which reports his leaving for England. The intrigue is provided by an anonymous censor (possibly his mother Eliza) who has removed certain sections of the article. The sentences remaining above and below the tears certainly beg some interesting questions!

See for yourself… read the article “Takes Out Large Poke” (September 23rd 1903).

The Dawson Sun article “Eldorado News” (September 24th 1903) also made mention of the boys of 13 Eldorado leaving to spend their winter (and presumably a portion of their gains!) on the “outside” as it was known to the Klondikers.

Cullinane on French Hill claim

Cullinane on French Hill claim

EC Upper Eldorado Creek

EC Upper Eldorado Creek

The Sourdough Returns (1904-1913)

Teddy returned to the Yukon following his European visit. It seems he linked up again with James Higgins (who had remained on Eldorado over the winter with his wife), and also James’ brother George. In October 1904 the Yukon World newspaper caught up with the three of them on their return from staking new claims on Bunty Creek under the headline “Famous White Channel Again Located” (October 18th 1904).

Teddy and James also remained active in their usual stomping ground, this time taking a half share of claim number 34 Above Bonanza Creek “Mining Transfers” (January 21st 1905).

Pulling sled with camp outfit

Pulling sled with camp outfit

1905-1909: Teddy and James expand their ownership of the Bonanza Creek claim to include: Hill Claim; Left Limit of 33 and 34 Above; on Bonanza Creek. Hill Claim; Left Limit, upper 120 feet of No.34 Above; on Bonanza Creek.
Eventually these were consolidated under a single mineral claim known as “Gloster” (certificate number 11749) – which covered the placer claims 31, 32, 33 and 34 Above on Bonanza Creek.

In addition Teddy owned the “Avondale” mineral claim – (certificate number 7705) which expired in 1907. (The name “Avondale” perhaps being a reference to the name of the road where Teddy grew up in Bristol – Avonvale Road, where his mother still lived).

Teddy's claim and cabin marked v

Teddy’s claim and cabin marked v

1906: March – Teddy returns from another trip back to England, sailing from Liverpool on the “Carmania” he is recorded (number 7 on the passenger list) arriving in New York City on March 5th 1906, in transit to Dawson City.
November – Teddy applies for a claim for placer mining on Irish Gulch (a tributary of Eldorado Creek); No.8 Left Limit. (See his signed application form on the right).

Another of Teddy's claims

Another of Teddy’s claims

1907: Teddy purchases Irish Gulch – Creek Claim No.6, from Thomas Charlton on 28th April 1907. The claim must have been unprofitable by the time it was allowed to lapse on 6th August 1912, when it was relocated by Mrs Charlton.

Unknown men at log cabin

Unknown men at log cabin

Fall of 1909: James Higgins retires from the Klondike to settle down in Seattle (his address now being 2612 First Avenue North, Seattle). It appears Teddy and James retained a shared ownership of some of the claims, and were also partnered in some Seattle real estate. It is thought that James later moved on to Alaska.

Shooting the rapids

Shooting rapids

Fall of 1911: Teddy verbally agrees a “lay” with William Bachmann, who would work the Bonanza claim on Teddy’s (and James’) behalf for the next two years. The agreement was that Bachmann would take a 75% share of any gold extracted, the other 25% to Teddy and James. Unless the amount of gold extracted was below a particular amount, in which case the split was 80%/20%.
Presumably, getting someone else to work these claims meant that Teddy could continue to do more prospecting.
Teddy returned to England to visit his family at Christmas 1911.

Travelling on the Yukon River

Travelling on the Yukon River

1912: Sometime around 1912, (perhaps on his journey back to the Klondike), Teddy had a tooth extracted while in Vancouver. It seems that the dentist splintered his jaw in some way which caused him significant nerve pain. He underwent a further two operations without relief but apparently still suffered from severe headache pain at times. It is thought that Teddy left a suitcase at a Skagway hotel (possibly the famous Pullen House Hotel), so he was probably taking the White Pass route back to Dawson on this occasion rather than the old Chilcoot Trail.

Taking a break on a mush

Taking a break on a mush

1912+: Over the following years the Bonanza claims being worked by Bachmann gradually yielded less and less gold.

By 1913 the falling yields must have forced Teddy to prospect further afield for new discoveries.
Early in 1913 we know he made a placer mining application at a place called Irish Gulch. While another claim on Britannia Creek (Creek Claim 11; Above Discovery); expired on 3rd August 1913.



Teddy’s final prospecting trip in the summer of 1913, sees him travelling way up the Yukon River to the country beyond Teslin Lake. It is here that his Klondike adventure will end… and the mystery begins…

 Lost (July 1913)

Teddy’s Klondike adventure ended somewhere in the forests, around 20 miles or so south of Teslin Lake. The last person to see him alive (12th July 1913), was his prospecting partner Reginald Naish. It seems that Teddy and Naish were returning down the Moose Horn River from a prospecting trip to a reported gold strike at Silver Creek south of Teslin. Some 5 miles south of Goose Lake, an accident with the raft had deprived them of food and also of their axes and tools which were so vital to survival in such a remote location. They should have gone on together to Cole’s Camp, but a log jam meant they could go no further by river without constructing another raft downstream. However, with no tools to do this, and Teddy by this point apparently having fallen ill, Naish decided to make camp for him and set out on foot to search for help.

Twenty days later, a group of prospectors including William H Forbes travelled past Teddy’s camp on the river-bank. On going ashore they found a small raft, a robe, tent, cooking utensils but no provisions. There was no sign of Teddy.

Five miles downstream they came across Naish, “half-demented, caused by exposure and hunger”, having become hopelessly lost.

Camping on a prospecting trip

Camping on a prospecting trip

Click here to read a letter from Naish (July 14th 1914) to Teddy’s family describing the circumstances of Teddy’s disappearance, and of his own “miraculous” survival.

The Dawson Daily News reported the story under the headline “Traced A Lost Klondiker” (May 22nd 1914) after interviewing Forbes’ on his return to Dawson.

According to Forbes he later heard that some Indians had found Teddy’s dogs running free some distance from the campsite, but they to had failed to find any trace of Teddy. (This perhaps being the origin of the “family story” that suggested he had been eaten by his huskies!).

Click here to read Forbes statement given in December 1914 regarding his account of events.

 Search (1914+)

Back in Bristol, after his apparent death, Teddy’s brother-in-law Cecil Arscott, spent a great deal of time writing many letters to the authorities in both Yukon and British Columbia on behalf of Teddy’s mother Eliza.

The aim was to get a search party to attempt to retrieve Teddy’s body, partly to console Eliza with the prospect of a proper burial, but also to establish official proof of death. Eliza had been left penniless by Teddy’s death since his incoming also supported her, and it would be very difficult to get his insurance policy to pay out without this proof.

The family put up a $250 reward for anyone who was able to find Teddy’s body. A well known local priest Father Revet added a further $500 to this. Apparently a search was made by local Indians, though this did not result in anything of interest.

The Yukon authorities in Dawson, especially, the commissioner George Black who had known Teddy personally, was very helpful to the family in their attempts to officially resolve and prove his death. However, because Teddy was thought to have been in British Columbia territory when lost, (Teslin lakes straddles the Yukon/ British Columbia border) it seems the British Columbian authorities in Atlin were officially responsible for investigating the disappearance. Unfortunately they appear not to have been at all proactive, and it required a great number of letters from Cecil in order to get them to assist in any way.

By 1914 the Bonanza claims had become unprofitable for Bachmann to run, the yield was only $400, well down on previous years. Bachmann and his co-laymen ceased working on the property from the fall of 1914.

By October 1917 Teddy’s hill claims in 33 and 34 above Bonanza were sold by the public administrator, although the value of the sale is not known. It is also not clear whether the funds were then paid on to Teddy’s mother who was still writing to the Canadian authorities in January 1919 asking for final details of Teddy’s estate. The file of letters held by the Yukon Archives ends here, so either everything was settled – hence no more letters… or Teddy’s mother became too frail to continue the fight. She died in 1923.

250 dollar reward poster


So here ends the tale of Teddy Cullinane’s 15 year adventure in the Klondike. Although ultimately the story ends in his tragic and untimely death, I have immense admiration for the man, (as I do for all those brave Klondikers of the period).

Admiration for the courage to follow a dream; to stride out in to the unknown and face unfamiliar dangers… and then through wit, graft, determination (and I’m sure with a good measure of fun!) to have played a part, and even turned a profit in the great Yukon gold-rush adventure. I’m proud to count him among my ancestors.

And if ever I am in need of inspiration or strength to face my own challenges, all I need do is look up at his picture on my study wall, resplendent in his furs…


Teddy’s story is told, with grateful thanks to the Yukon Archives in Whitehorse, Yukon; for providing copies of the large amount of correspondence that has informed much of what I know about Teddy’s time in the Klondike. Also with thanks to Google for the excellent digital images of old newspapers of the time, and to Youtube and Wikipedia (and the originators of the content linked to on those sites).

All photographs displayed on this webpage are part of Teddy Cullinane’s private collection and are the property of the author.

14th May 2010

“Gold Rush” – a gift from Mark in Worcester

16 Dec

Mark in Worcester, United Kingdom, sent me a link to this Short documentary by Pierre Berton called “Gold Rush” which was “filmed in the 1950’s” and “was nominated for an Oscar.”
I had never seen this before. Very nice.

Thank you Mark! and wishing you a great Holiday Season from over here.

The Wild Bunch Reviews —- Part 5

14 Dec

The Wild Bunch reviews / Part 5:
Leonard Maltin

Leonard Maltin talks about the film THE WILD BUNCH during an interview for AFI’s 10 Top 10 (2008)


Scorpion Bar





Merry Christmas

9 Dec

Silent Night


The Wild Bunch Reviews —- Part 4 …

8 Dec

The Wild Bunch reviews / Part 4:

The Wild Bunch AllMovie Review


AllMovie Review

From the opening image of children happily watching fire ants kill a scorpion, Sam Peckinpah presents a relentlessly pessimistic view of frontier life in 1913 as it gives way to modernity; any sense of honor is strictly relative, and “civilization” means venal businessmen and mercenaries. The western’s myth of “righteous” violence is literally blasted to pieces in the two battle sequences evocative of the 1968-69 carnage in Vietnam. In elaborately edited montages using different camera speeds and distances, Peckinpah and cinematographer Lucien Ballard show what it looks like when bullets hit flesh, drawing out moments of death amidst bloody chaos in a balletic yet repellent spectacle. The Wild Bunch eventually became a moderate hit, and it got Oscar nominations for Jerry Fielding’s score and Walon Green’s and Peckinpah’s script. Unsatisfied with Peckinpah’s 145-minute cut, Warner Bros. pulled the film after its debut and shaved 10 minutes of exposition but left the violence intact. The footage was fully restored in 1995. With its stunning technical finesse and uncompromising view of the West’s bloody demise, The Wild Bunch remains one of the most powerful “last” westerns ever made.

Scorpion Bar

Nice and short …

The Wild Bunch portraits

The Wild Bunch Reviews —- Part 3 …

8 Dec

The Wild Bunch review Glenn Erickson – one of my favorite film reviewers. The Length of of Erickson’s review goes against my blog rule of keeping my posts short , but he’s so good at what he does I couldn’t figure out how to shorten it …

The Wild Bunch: The Reviews / Part 3:

The Wild Bunch review DVD Savant

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson


Would you give someone guns to kill your mother, or your brother?

The Wild Bunch is the big one, and if one hasn’t seen it yet, by all means stop reading this! Thirty-six years later, Peckinpah’s best film is still the last truly original Western. Unforgiven and Dances with Wolves are great pictures, but they don’t break new ground. Critics, film historians and western buffs have written up this masterpiece from every conceivable angle – its violence, its sexual politics and its position midway between the western, the gangster film and the historical epic. One fine article analyzed the half-dozen musical rhythms coursing through the final sequence. Another proposed that Peckinpah’s vision of the Death of the West was also a marker for the beginning decline of America, a country awash in corruption and violence.

When Warners first released movies to VHS home video The Wild Bunch was one of the first titles out, albeit in the original (adjusted) theatrical length of about 135 minutes. Until a longer repertory print appeared around 1979, the only Americans to see Peckinpah’s full cut (145 minutes) were those who attended the first week of its limited-run in big cities. In foreign markets — the UK and Spain — the film played in 70mm and stereophonic sound, but not in the states. Sam Peckinpah’s personal print of the film played at a special Jerry Harvey Beverly Canon screening in 1974 and at Filmex in 1976, rare occasions indeed. Peckinpah’s print included a very classy intermission.

A pan-scanned but full length laserdisc appeared in the late 1980s, and Warners undertook a major 70mm stereophonic restoration in 1992 that was stopped dead when the MPAA tried to re-rate the film as NC-17. Protests and negotiations followed for two years until a big re-premiere in 1995 at the Cinerama Dome.

Warners’ Two-Disc Special Edition of The Wild Bunch is indeed a Director’s Cut. The quality is excellent and the extras only a little disappointing; more on that below.


A band of brutal outlaws led by the bitter Pike Bishop (William Holden) is decimated when a railroad company ambush led by Pike’s old pal Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan) turns into a bloodbath. Barely escaping, the six survivors head to Mexico with Thornton’s cutthroat bounty hunters in hot pursuit. They get on the good side of a Huerta warlord named Mapache (Emilio Fernandez) by taking his commission to steal U.S. Army guns in a daring raid on an armed train convoy. They manage to outrun Thornton, the bounty hunters and the pursuing U.S. Cavalry, but completing their deal with the ruthless and bloodthirsty Federales is not going to be a piece of cake – Mapache needs those guns to hold off Pancho Villa’s revolutionaries, and would just as soon kill Pike’s gringos “as break wind.”
The Wild Bunch gathers up the western genre in one big eclectic mass and reinterprets it from a subversive perspective. The past is dead and the remnants of old banditry have become outcasts in a world transformed by technology and big money; the loyalties and words of honor so revered in Ride the High Country and Major Dundee have become a liability. Pike Bishop talks solidarity but cannot hold his bunch together; the reality consistently falls short of the dream. His big railroad robbery kills half his men and nets the Bunch only “a dollar’s worth of steel holes.” He more or less abandons the loose-cannon Crazy Lee (Bo Hopkins) in Starbuck and then finds out that the boy was related to the Bunch’s oldest member. Pike talks big words about sticking together but cannot summon a practical protest when one of his own is being tortured to death. About all the Bunch can brag about it that they “don’t hang nobody,” when the truth is that they probably never had the opportunity. Thornton marvels that Pike “never got caught,” even though that accomplishment is tempered by the knowledge that he left his best friend to suffer a long prison term.

The Wild Bunch rests at the center of a dynamic group of films about armed Americans taking violent ‘expeditions’ across the border. Filmed in Mexico with the cream of the Mexican industry’s action experts, it has several big directors (Emilio Fernandez, Chano Urueta, Alfonso Arau, Fernando Wagner) as actors. Peckinpah’s script, direction and cutting (a marvelous, adventurous job by Louis Lombardo) are superb; the attention to detail and the layered texture of each scene is the equal or better than anything in Leone or Visconti. Some of Peckinpah’s editing and film speed ideas are borrowed from Akira Kurosawa, who can still be listed as Peckinpah’s superior — in the long run Peckinpah’s complicated plotting still leaves a few ragged ends.

Peckinpah salts the film with unusually powerful ‘meaningful’ dialogue, much of it highly quotable. The only really dated patch is during a ‘sensitive’ campfire scene where Ernest Borgnine’s Dutch earnestly asks Pike if they can learn from their mistakes. Peckinpah wisely avoids shoving The Wild Bunch into the category of ‘revolution-chic’ pictures, then the rage in Europe. At the conclusion Deke Thornton and Freddie Sykes (Edmond O’Brien) are clearly running off to join Pancho Villa against the Federales. It would have been easy to give Thornton or Sykes some crazy pro- Ho Chi Minh dialogue line like, “If only our mercenary efforts had been for a worthwhile cause like la revolución!

This powerful comeback film was a resurrection for Sam Peckinpah, who had been blackballed from studio work after Major Dundee and an ill-fated false start on The Cincinnati Kid. If producer Phil Feldman was responsible for Peckinpah’s artistic freedom and excellent performance here he should have been given credit, for in The Wild Bunch all the virtues claimed for the director finally pay off. The key to Feldman and Peckinpah’s assemblage of top actors and top-flight production values is the dialogue line, “This time we do it right.”

Almost every role is a perfect casting fit. William Holden was wallowing in feeble action films (The Devil’s Brigade) and limp cameos (Casino Royale) and puts in his best all-round performance since David Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai. Ernest Borgnine is far better than usual, with Peckinpah’s influence keeping him from going over the top, as he was wont to do on films for Robert Aldrich. Robert Ryan hadn’t gotten a role this good since the 1950s; his characterization does the most with the least screen time. Peckinpah also skimmed the cream of his stock company, adding a few choice nuggets like Albert Dekker (he died before the film was released) and an almost unrecognizable Edmond O’Brien.

The Wild Bunch surprised us with its portraits of hard men under pressure, going beyond Aldrich’s good start in Flight of the Phoenix. Virtue is practically irrelevant, with men formed into various groups for survival. All activity is in pursuit of money (the Bunch’s unapologetic thievery), power (the brutal Mexican civil war) or both (Railroad agent Pat Harrigan is both greedy and a perverse authority figure). Yet the script celebrates the bonds among these civilized savages. The near-subhuman Gorches recognize no law except their relationship as brothers. Both Thornton and Dutch openly admire Pike Bishop and Angel respects him as a father figure. Even the reprehensible Mapache inspires worship, from a pint-sized telegraph messenger.

Peckinpah’s realignment of the John Ford universe is at its strongest in The Wild Bunch. References to Ford pictures run deeper than the appropriation of songs like Shall We Gather at the River? The Bunch hark back to Ford’s villainous Clantons in My Darling Clementine: Walter Brennan’s “When you pull a gun, SHOOT a man!” is definitely the kind of talk that inspires Pike Bishop’s hard-bitten outbursts. Some Ford references are much more subtle, like the shawl that Henry Fonda takes from Cathy Downs’ Clementine Carter on the way to a church dance. In Starbuck Pike extends his arm to help an elderly lady across the street, and Dutch carries her packages. During the escape, Pike’s horse tramples a younger woman into the dust; pausing at the edge of town, he frees her shawl from his spur, throws it down, and continues.

Peckinpah was also fan enough of John Huston to liberally borrow from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, especially the brief respite in the Mexican village, with its grateful campesinos assembling to give the Bunch a fond farewell. Peckinpah embraces sentimentality in these scenes, with the irony that our bloody desperados are flattered and moved to be the recipients of such unquestioning love. Pike and his boys bask in the accolades withheld from Steve Judd’s upstanding lawman at the beginning of Ride the High Country.

The ending of The Wild Bunch is the most obvious Sierra Madre lift, with Thornton and Sykes laughing, much as had Tim Holt and Walter Houston. The moment isn’t quite as rich as in the John Huston classic, but it will do. 2

Peckinpah’s house blend of slow-motion violence shocked us deeply in 1969, as we had been fully conditioned to screen violence that carried no consequences. Typical shotgun humor can be seen in Howard Hawks’ El Dorado, where poor shot James Caan is given a ‘funny’ scattergun that makes a big BOOM and never misses. Peckinpah’s stylized bullet hits make fountains of blood spurt out across the screen, as if human beings were soggy bags of hemoglobin; and when rendered in slow motion, careering bodies spin and tumble in airborne ballet deaths. It’s simultaneously ugly and beautiful, obscene and aestheticized.

The Peckinpah slo-mo bloodbath has gone in and out of style, driven into the ground by Peckinpah himself and badly imitated by violent filmmakers convinced that bloody violence and slow motion are marketable production values in themselves. Cheaper films resorted to ‘poor man’s Peckinpah’ by simply double or triple-printing frames of film, a trick which usually looks terrible. Since the 1990s, market-controlled moviemaking has upped the ante in high-impact, fast-cut violence that far outpaces The Wild Bunch in blur-cuts, to the point that perceivable continuity is often lost to anyone not flying on amphetamines – Michael Bay, some Ridley Scott movies, etc. People arguing about today’s confusing action cutting should re-assess The Wild Bunch’s two big shootout scenes, which sometimes use very short cuts (4 frames, even) yet allow us to watch and understand the violent action. Editor Lombardo and Peckinpah play with the idea of action too fast for the cameras – in a pair of shots in the final gundown the camera pans left and right looking for Tector Gorch’es human targets, both of whom are blasted out of the frame before we can get a good look at them.

But the hypocrisy of Hollywood violence circa 2005 is worse than ever. Filmmakers will do anything to avoid visible blood, which the constipated MPAA will instantaneously use to bounce a PG-13 film into an R, or an R into an NC-17. Hence the blood that looks too dark in Lord of the Rings (“It’s mud, God’s truth!”) or entire scenes rendered in B&W to eliminate splashes of crimson. In the PG-13 War of the Worlds bodies are conveniently blasted into Martha Stewart-friendly powder. Against the desert browns in The Wild Bunch, red blood looks even redder.

Warners publicity obviously hadn’t a clue when they previewed the film in the midwest to a theater packed with retired folks. The outraged walkouts were interpreted badly by the studio, which sabotaged the picture by cutting it by ten minutes in its first week. Little did they know that it would become the most popular revival title in circulation, with the same battered prints playing to packed midnight shows for years to come. Savant must have seen it twenty times, double billed on everything from There Was a Crooked Man to McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

DVD Technical Information

As soon as the Special Edition of The Wild Bunch was announced, the web was awash in fan anticipation of hoped-for goodies, to the point that Savant has received many Emails asking if longer cuts, missing scenes and censor snippets are going to be restored. Although the two-disc set has many attractions, there are no new scenes restored, in or out of the feature itself.

Disc one has a beautifully remastered transfer, an enhanced encoding of the film with an image-cleaning job done with great care. If digital tools were used, they weren’t abused, as there is none of the ‘grain overlay’ we have come to expect on library titles. A few near-horizontal lines become a little crisp but Savant sees no loss of detail, quite the opposite. We can read the print on the wanted posters. The ruddy flatness of the scene with the puro indios has been toned down. We can finally see the wind-blown raindrops in one shot of the Bunch making their way to Mexico. Just about the only difference that may run counter to the look of the original film (I’m thinking of Peckinpah’s long-ago original Technicolor print) is that the red blood is toned down a bit. The bandit with his face shot away used to wear a mask of dripping crimson, which no longer carries the exact same glow. The Wild Bunch fans are so picky that a web outcry for one reason or another is almost a given, but Savant is very, very pleased. By comparison, the older flipper DVD from 1997 now looks as if it were projected on a burlap bag.

The Wild Bunch was originally mixed in stereo for 70mm (abroad) and carefully re-mixed in the early 1990s for the big re-premiere. Jerry Fielding’s sublime, Oscar-nominated score sounds better than ever. This is indeed the authentic original release version before it was chopped by Warners. I noticed only three differences from Peckinpah’s personal print: 1) No added intermission break; 2) The looped English lines for General Mapache in the Pancho Villa sequence (in the Peckinpah print they were in Spanish without subtitles); and 3) The Peckinpah print also had a slightly longer cut of the moment where Deke Thornton and the bounty hunters find the bandit that Pike Bishop shot in a mercy killing (“Finish it, Mr. Bishop”). After Deke says that it is getting dark, he dispatched a couple of his ‘railroad detectives’ to take the body back to Starbuck to collect the reward. Some really perceptive Peckinpah fans (Gregory Nicoll, for one) deduced this event by noticing that Thornton’s posse unaccountably shrank by one or two members!

Disc two has the extras. Sam Peckinpah’s West: Legacy of a Hollywood Renegade is a 2004 Starz/Encore Cable docu at feature length, directed by Tom Thurman and written by Tom Marksbury, the writer of John Ford Goes to War. It includes input from just about everybody who ever worked with the director, including a fair share of pontificating critics and actors from newer generations. The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage is Paul Seydor and Nick Redman’s 1996 Oscar-nominated short subject that was the sole extra on the first DVD release. Its main appeal is the chance to peruse a giddy overdose of B&W behind-the-scenes footage (found at Warners by producer Michael Arick) of the shooting of key sequences like the buildup to the final battle. Voiceovers with actors like Ed Harris interpreting Sam Peckinpah lay on the gutsy man-talk a little thick. An item billed as a docu excerpt from A Simple Adventure Story: Sam Peckinpah, Mexico and The Wild Bunch by Nick Redman is a new featurette showing Redman and his fellow authors visiting the film’s locations outside Durango, partly accompanied by Peckinpah’s daughter Lupita. Luckily for us, they’re very good with hand-held video cameras.

The supplemental bullets underscore an extra called “Never-Before-Seen Additional Scenes”, which naturally leads one to expect a Holy Grail of unseen Peckinpah treasures. What we get instead is a montaged assortment of odds ‘n ends dailies of varying interest. Any chance to view uncut camera footage from the movie is going to be welcomed, and the selection concentrates on action scenes in alternate angles or in trims of angles we recognize from the film. They appear to be high-quality transfers from negative, which is a plus as well. Pieces of this recovered footage are also glimpsed in the newly edited featurettes. Only a couple of bits caught Savant’s eye. One a view of a dead bounty hunter oozing blood over the top of the Starbuck bank building looks like the kind of thing that might be deleted to remove extraneous gore. Another shot shows Deke Thornton in convict clothing, working on a rockpile straight out of I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang. 3

What we don’t get are the missing scenes implied on the package text. Besides the apocryphal stories of even more outrageous gore (the demise of the clerks and the female customer in the telegraph office, for one), there’s also the tantalizing moment retained in the trailer of Sykes’ distress at learning that Mapache has seized Angel. Although these legendary remnants are probably just legends, I wouldn’t be surprised if legal issues restrained the disc producers from including a lot of special material – note that that the recovered dailies avoid clear views of name actors. The only mementos Savant has of the film are some original transparencies and a 3/4″ tape (somewhere) of the Network Television re-cut of the final gundown scene, artistically censored into a dreamlike and incomprehensible blur of violence-free violence.

The Wild Bunch gray




The Wild Bunch Reviews Part 2 … How Deep is that Well?

3 Dec

The Wild Bunch: The Reviews / Part 2:

I’m betting there’s been a few thesis’ written on Sam Peckinpah and The WIld Bunch. How deeply do people get into this? Let’s find out:

The Wild Bunch Director's Cut Poster

Roger Ebert Reviews


Roger Ebert
March 17, 1995

William Holden as Pike
Ernest Borgnine as Dutch
Robert Ryan as Thornton
Directed by Sam Peckinpah
Rated R For Extensive and Graphic Violence

144 minutes

In an early scene of “The Wild Bunch,” the bunch rides into town past a crowd of children who are gathered with excitement around their game. They have trapped a scorpion and are watching it being tortured by ants. The eyes of Pike (William Holden), leader of the bunch, briefly meet the eyes of one of the children. Later in the film, a member of the bunch named Angel is captured by Mexican rebels and dragged around the town square behind one of the first automobiles anyone there has seen. Children run after the car, laughing. Near the end of the film, Pike is shot by a little boy who gets his hands on a gun.

The message here is not subtle, but then Sam Peckinpah was not a subtle director, preferring sweeping gestures to small points.

It is that the mantle of violence is passing from the old professionals like Pike and his bunch, who operate according to a code, into the hands of a new generation that learns to kill more impersonally, as a game, or with machines.

The movie takes place in 1913, on the eve of World War I.

“We gotta start thinking beyond our guns,” one of the bunch observes.

“Those days are closing fast.” And another, looking at the newfangled auto, says, “They’re gonna use them in the war, they say.” It is not a war that would have meaning within his intensely individual frame of reference; he knows loyalty to his bunch, and senses it is the end of his era.

This new version of “The Wild Bunch,” carefully restored to its original running time of 144 minutes, includes several scenes not widely seen since the movie had its world premiere in 1969. Most of them fill in details from the earlier life of Pike, including his guilt over betraying Thornton (Robert Ryan), who was once a member of the bunch but is now leading the posse of bounty hunters on their trail. Without these scenes, the movie seems more empty and existential, as if Pike and his men seek death after reaching the end of the trail. With them, Pike’s actions are more motivated: He feels unsure of himself and the role he plays.

I saw the original version at the world premiere in 1969, as part of a week-long boondoggle during which Warner Bros. screened five of its new films in the Bahamas for 450 critics and reporters.

It was party time, not the right venue for what became one of the most controversial films of its time – praised and condemned with equal vehemence, like “Pulp Fiction.” At a press conference the following morning, Holden and Peckinpah hid behind dark glasses and deep scowls. After a reporter from Reader’s Digest got up to attack them for making the film, I stood up in defense; I felt, then and now, that “The Wild Bunch” is one of the great defining moments of modern movies.

But no one saw the 144-minute version for many years. It was cut. Not because of violence (only quiet scenes were removed), but because it was too long to be shown three times in an evening. It was successful, but it was read as a celebration of compulsive, mindless violence; see the uncut version, and you get a better idea of what Peckinpah was driving at.

The movie is, first of all, about old and worn men. Holden and his fellow actors (Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates, Edmund O’Brien, Ben Johnson and the wonderful Robert Ryan) look lined and bone-tired.

They have been making a living by crime for many years, and although Ryan is now hired by the law, it is only under threat that he will return to jail if he doesn’t capture the bunch. The men provided to him by a railroad mogul are shifty and unreliable; they don’t understand the code of the bunch.

And what is that code? It’s not very pleasant. It says that you stand by your friends and against the world, that you wrest a criminal living from the banks, the railroads and the other places where the money is, and that while you don’t shoot at civilians unnecessarily, it is best if they don’t get in the way.

The two great violent set-pieces in the movie involve a lot of civilians. One comes through a botched bank robbery at the beginning of the film, and the other comes at the end, where Pike looks at Angel’s body being dragged through the square, and says “God, I hate to see that,” and then later walks into a bordello and says, “Let’s go,” and everybody knows what he means, and they walk out and begin the suicidal showdown with the heavily armed rebels.

Lots of bystanders are killed in both sequences (one of the bunch picks a scrap from a woman’s dress off of his boot), but there is also cheap sentimentality, as when Pike gives gold to a prostitute with a child, before walking out to die.

In between the action sequences (which also include the famous scene where a bridge is bombed out from beneath mounted soldiers), there is a lot of time for the male bonding that Peckinpah celebrated in most of his films. His men shoot, screw, drink, and ride horses.

The quiet moments, with the firelight and the sad songs on the guitar and the sweet tender prostitutes, are like daydreams, with no standing in the bunch’s real world. This is not the kind of film that would likely be made today, but it represents its set of sad, empty values with real poetry.

The undercurrent of the action in “The Wild Bunch” is the sheer meaninglessness of it all. The first bank robbery nets only a bag of iron washers – “a dollar’s worth of steel holes.” The train robbery is well-planned, but the bunch cannot hold onto their takings. And at the end, after the bloodshed, when the Robert Ryan character sits for hours outside the gate of the compound, just thinking, there is the payoff: A new gang is getting together, to see what jobs might be left to do. With a wry smile he gets up to join them. There is nothing else to do, not for a man with his background.

The movie was photographed by Lucien Ballard, in dusty reds and golds and browns and shadows. The editing, by Lou Lombardo, uses slow motion to draw the violent scenes out into meditations on themselves.

Every actor was perfectly cast to play exactly what he could play; even the small roles need no explanation. Peckinpah possibly identified with the wild bunch. Like them, he was an obsolete, violent, hard-drinking misfit with his own code, and did not fit easily into the new world of automobiles, and Hollywood studios.

Seeing this restored version is like understanding the film at last. It is all there: Why Pike limps, what passed between Pike and Thornton in the old days, why Pike seems tortured by his thoughts and memories. Now, when we watch Ryan, as Thornton, sitting outside the gate and thinking, we know what he is remembering. It makes all the difference in the world.

MFW: See what I mean? Some of this goes way past most of us … including me. But it’s still interesting.

Scorpion Bar

MFW: This is probably way more than enough to put in your pipe for now …

Coming up: The Wild Bunch Reviews / Part 3 … An incredible review by Glenn Erickson / DVD Savant possibly the most insightful Film Reviewer in the trade …

The Wild Bunch The Walk 83


Jean Beliveau …

3 Dec

 August 31, 1931 – December 2, 2014

Jean Beliveau Olympic Torch

Jean Beliveau

Though I played sports (Hockey, Football, Soccer, Baseball, Track and Field …) nearly every day for over 40 years, I am often very critical toward Professional Sport and it’s many bloated fools and their follies.

Yet … a precious few DO rise above the din and money. Such a person – such a man – was Jean Beliveau – my Hockey Hero.

Grace, Class, Humility, Elegance, Dignity, a Genteman … nearly every virtue you would want or expect or hope for in your Hero … and yourself … he carried.

A Champion in athletics – A Champion in Life.

Jean Beliveau 2

“Talent is a gift from God, but you only succeed with hard work.” – Jean Beliveau

Jean Beliveau Le Gros Bill

“Le Gros Bill”

Jean Beliveau 3

Smooth as ice

Jean Beliveau and The Stanley Cup

Jean Beliveau and The Stanley Cup

Jean Beliveau wth Stanley Cup and Conn Symthe Trophy 1965

Jean Beliveau wth Stanley Cup and Conn Symthe Trophy 1965

The Stanley Cup

Stanley Cups

10 Stanley Cups as a player / 7 Stanley Cups in management

Conn Smythe Trophy

Conn Smythe Trophy winner for Most Valuable Player in 1965 playoffs

Hart Memorial Trophy

Hart Memorial Trophy / Most Valuable Player – 1956 and 1965

Played in the NHL All-Star Game 13 times between 1953 and 1969
First Team All-Star 1954–55, 1955–56, 1956–57, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1960–61 
Second Team All-Star 1957–58, 1963–64, 1965–66, 1968–69

Art Ross Trophy

Art Ross Trophy winner as Leading Scorer – 1955/56 Season

Jean Beliveau Hall of Fame

Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972

NHL Lifetime Achievement Award

NHL Lifetime Achievement Award 2009

jean Beliveau and statue

When you get a statue and you’re still alive …

Jean Beliveau and the Order of Canada

Jean Beliveau receiving the Order of Canada in 1998

Jean Beliveau passes the torch ...

Jean passes the torch …

Jean Beliveau skates at retirment 1971

Jean Beliveau skates at retirment 1971

So long Jean
Thanks for everything

Calgary Stampeders ………… 2014 Grey Cup Champions

30 Nov

Stampeders Grey Cup 2014


The Wild Bunch … the Reviews Part 1 …

28 Nov

The Wild Bunch: The Reviews

The WIld Bunch IMDB Review

The WIld Bunch RT Review

Obviously outstanding Reviews – both by audience and Critics.

Scorpion Bar

There is much that has been said and written about The Wild Bunch – certainly one of the most controversial movies ever made: reviled or celebrated, almost in equal kind from it’s inception. Also definitely one of the most dissected and analyzed movies ever made. And people are still doing so: What were Peckinpah’s motives? What was he trying to say? Was a good part of the movie a personal self analysis/Statement? What impact has the move had? and on and on …

There seems to be no aspect of anything that Peckinpah did in the last part of his career that escaped scrutiny and controversy.

But the studio editing 10 minutes from the original 1969 movie so that they could get three showings in the theatres – instead of 2 – is unforgivable. Yet they did it. Little wonder Peckinpah so detested the ‘money men’.


“The 1995 re-release of The Wild Bunch is 145 minutes long, identical to the 1969 European release, the version labeled “The Original Director’s Cut”, available in home video.

In 1993, Warner Bros. resubmitted the film to the MPAA ratings board prior to an expected re-release. To the studio’s surprise, the originally R-rated film was given an NC-17, delaying the release until the decision was appealed. The controversy was linked to 10 extra minutes added to the film, although none of this footage contained graphic violence. Warner Bros. trimmed some footage to decrease the running time to ensure additional daily screenings. When the restored film finally made it to the screen in March 1995, one reviewer noted:

By restoring 10 minutes to the film, the complex story now fits together in a seamless way, filling in those gaps found in the previous theatrical release, and proving that Peckinpah was firing on all cylinders for this, his grandest achievement…. And the one overwhelming feature that the director’s cut makes unforgettable are the many faces of the children, whether playing, singing, or cowering, much of the reaction to what happens on-screen is through the eyes, both innocent and imitative, of all the children.

Today, almost all of the versions of the film include the missing scenes. Warner Bros. released a newly restored version in a two-disc special edition on January 10, 2006. It includes an audio commentary by Peckinpah scholars, two documentaries concerning the making of the film, and never-before-seen outtakes.

There have been several versions of the film:

  • The original, 1969 European release is 145 minutes long, with an intermission (per distributor’s request, before the train robbery).
  • The original, 1969 American release is 143 minutes long.
  • The second, 1969 American release is 135 minutes long, shortened to allow more screenings.
  • The 1995 re-release is 145 minutes long, identical to the 1969 European release, the version labeled “The Original Director’s Cut”, available in home video.”

We need only know that since Sam Peckinpah (and Walon Green) did the writing/screenplay for The Wild Bunch that there is nothing in the Director’s Cut that Pekinpah didn’t want in there and everything that is in there is what he wanted to say …

The Wild Bunch profileMore coming … Roger Ebert and analysis … how deep is the well …

The Wild Bunch ——————— Iconic Images / The Walk

27 Nov

The Wild Bunch - The Walk 42“When you side with a man, you stay with him! And if you can’t do that, you’re like some animal, you’re finished!”
- Pike (WIlliam Holden) / The Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch … The Walk 35

25 Nov

The Wild Bunch - the Walk 35

Coming up: The Wild Bunch Reviews … 

The Wild Bunch … Posters

21 Nov

MFW: I will not vouch for the authenticity for all of these posters.

The Wild Bunch poster 1

“The land had changed. They hadn’t. The earth had cooled. They couldn’t.”

Not sure who wrote some of these tag lines … but they’re interesting.

The Wild Bunch poster 7

The Wild Bunch poster 2

“Unchanged men in a changing land. Out of step, out of place and desperately out of time.”

The Wild Bunch poster 4

“Nine men who came too late and stayed too long.”


The Wild Bunch poster 5]

The Wild Bunch poster 6

The Wild Bunch poster 8

The Wild Bunch poster 9

“Suddenly a new West had emerged. Suddenly it was sundown for nine men. Suddenly their day was over. Suddenly the sky was bathed in blood.”

The Wild Bunch poster 10

“Born to late for their own times. Uncommonly significant for ours.”

The Wild Bunch poster 11

The Wild Bunch poster 12

The Wild Bunch poster 12.5

The Wild Bunch poster 12.7


The Wild Bunch poster 13.5

The Wild Bunch poster 14

The Wild Bunch poster 15

The Wild Bunch poster 16

The Wild Bunch poster 17

The Wild Bunch poster 18

The Wild Bunch poster 19

The Wild Bunch poster 21

The Wild Bunch poster 22

The Wild Bunch poster 23

“It’s the end of the line for … “

The Wild Bunch poster 24

The Wild Bunch … Part 1

12 Nov

Glendale Train / New Riders of the Purple Sage

The Wild Bunch / 1969 

If they move kill em 

Scorpion Bar

Bloody Sam?

Sam Peckinpah

“I think the public has learned that, as least somebody has learned that in the passing years that Bloody Sam was merely a change over dishonesty to at least looking at the fact that people do bleed and are hurt. But I am not responsible for the chainsaw – whatever it’s name is – and the other trash that has been put forth. I deal in violence as a term – a very sad term – a very sad poetry.” Sam Peckinpah, BBC Interview, 1976.

… killing a man isn’t clean and quick and simple. It’s bloody and awful. And maybe if enough people come to realize that shooting somebody isn’t just fun and games, maybe we’ll get somewhere.” Sam Peckinpah

It amazes me that a lot of people still don’t get that Sam Peckinpah’s wasn’t trying to exploit violence / human bloodlust, he was trying to expose it’s revolting reality. I believe Peckinpah’s many years of Directing TV Westerns (Gunsmoke, Have Gun – Will Travel, The Rifleman, Broken Arrow, Klondike, Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater, Trackdown, The Rifleman, The Westerner …) and the superficial way they portrayed violence and Sugar coated killing was a driving force behind his desire to expose violence for what it really is: a traumatic, horrifying event with emotional or moral impact.

Peckinpah’s later sadly realized that many people were not revolted by the blood and violence in his movies. They loved it. And still do.

Further, his movies might well have contributed to obvious ‘desensitization’ toward bloodshed in films.

All this, ironically proved one of his Sam’s pet themes: mankind’s inability to resolve conflicts peacefully.

“There is a great streak of violence in every human being. If it is not channeled and understood, it will break out in war or in madness.” – Sam Peckinpah

Yes, people do love this stuff. Look at any movie Bill: at least half the movies are Action Movies – most with sizable servings of killing and bloodshed.

The question then is: Why do we love this stuff?


“Today we have ‘Action Films’ – not films with ‘Action’. Sam was probably accused of too much violence. He was a man of non-violence. He wanted to show violence the way it was in order to achieve non-violence. To make it so repulsive that nobody wanted to see it. Today they glamorize violence. Unfortunately.”
– James Coburn

Sam’s Trail

Sam Peckinpah’s Western trail: Some bloody good Westerns:  Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) / The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970) / The Wild Bunch (1969) / Major Dundee (1965) / The Glory Guys (1965) / Ride the High Country (1962) / The Deadly Companions (1962).

The Wild Bunch / Images / Opening Credits

The Wild Bunch Corel screen opening credits Banner

The Wild Bunch screen 1 Holden 2

The Wild Bunch screen 1 Holden

The Wild Bunch screen 1 Borgnine 2

The Wild Bunch screen 1 Borgnine

The Wild Bunch Corel screen 3 opening credits

The Wild Bunch Corel screen 4 opening credits

The Wild Bunch Corel screen 5 opening credits

The Wild Bunch Corel screen 6 opening credits

The Wild Bunch Corel screen 7 opening credits

The Wild Bunch Corel screen 8 opening credits

The Wild Bunch Corel screen 9 opening credits

 Then … all hell broke loose …

Yesteryore … Continued

30 Oct

What can I say? I just love these old images and posters. The artwork and photography is amazing. Time capsules of a bygone era.

But not that long ago.

WILLIAM S HART as Wild BIll Hickok

Wild Bill never looked to good


I love this one … hiding behind his horse


Two sweet plates


Not sure how some of this stuff was colorized ? but it’s great.





longhorn bar

Other Greats of Silent Cinema

Western Movie Posters

Western Movie Posters 2

Western Movie Posters 3

Western Movie Posters 5

Western Movie Posters 4

Western Movie Posters 7

Honouring Canadian Heroes

22 Oct

Canadians are justly proud of our Armed Forces – their Heroism, Valour, Honour and Service – in the 2 World Wars – and elsewhere on this planet over many decades.

Today I honour Cpl. Nathan Cirillo – a Canadian Reservist soldier – who was slain by lone gunman while standing guard on Parliament Hill in the Canadian Capital of Ottawa at the War Memorial.

Cpl. Nathan Frank 1

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo / Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

Cpl. Nathan Frank

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo guarding the War Memorial – minutes before he was slain

Cpl. Nathan Frank 2

First responders attempting to save Cpl. Nathan Cirillo

Cpl. Nathan Frank 3

Ambulance Services on the scene

I also honour House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers who slew the demented assailant who cowardly murdered Cpl. Cirillo.

Kevin Vickers, parliament's sergeant-at-arms

Kevin Vickers – House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms

Security: Parliament Hill Style - Members of Parliament barricade the doors

Security: Parliament Hill Style – Members of Parliament barricade the doors

My Comment:

Appalling Canadian Security

After 9/11 – and everything that has come after it, I am appalled – APPALLED !!!! – that anyone could get within a thousand yards of our esteemed government buildings on Parliament Hill with even a pen knife.

I watched in amazement as a TV analyst spoke about upgrading security at “The Hill”.


Anybody – you, I, or anyone – could have loaded ourselves up with bombs and guns and entered that building and blown the whole place up.

When a guy can just drive up with a gun – shoot a guard – then enter the Parliament Buildings … That means there is NO SECURITY. Never was.

THEN many armed soldiers, Tac Team, Army personnel, Police officers, and Security are running around the grounds for hours – after the fact – to see if there was anyone else involved. NO CAMERAS – NO SURVEILLANCE – of any kind – that would have easily and instantly shown them if there was anyone else.


That’s Canadian Security.

We STILL don’t get it.

William S. Hart __________ A Legacy in Art

21 Oct























A Small Fraternity … continued

20 Oct

Big Iron / Cash

 A Small Fraternity / Cowboys to Stars

Richard Farnsworth, Slim PIckens, and Ben Johnson were not only a ‘Small Fraternity’ of Stuntmen who because famous Film Actors – they were the last of a dying breed of Real Cowboys who were also Movie Stars.

I wouldn’t say there aren’t any Real Cowboys around today. Probably plenty? But those that become Movie Stars / Famous Actors … ??? That surely seems to be of another era.

the grey fox stage bar

I wasn’t born till ’48, so most of the early Western Movie Stars had already rode off into the sunset – or were resting at Boot Hill.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t get to see a lot of ‘em. Cuz they were galloping back and forth across my B&W TV screen almost non-stop every Saturday morning (down in Homewood, Illinois). I remember that ‘chase scenes’ were particularly popular in those Westerns - with goodguys chasing badguys – or Indians chasing Goodguys – or Cowboys or chasing Indians – or anybody chasing somebody – really fast (I think a lot of those scenes were speeded up). Most of those movies were made in the 30’s and 40’s by studios like RKO and Republic – who churned out dozens of them. A lot of ‘em seemed to follow the same plot and were ‘one shot – that’s a take’. I recall watching one movie where I could see a truck driving across the background. No matter – the shot went into the can anyway.

Yet midst all this dust (and foolishness) true artists like John Ford, (Stagecoach (1939), My Darling Clementine (1946 )) and Howard Hawkes, Sergeant York (1941) and Red River (1948) who were already creating Iconic work.

Even further yonder however… before all this – Authentic Cowboys and Western Heroes like Buffalo Bill and Cowgals like Annie Oakley had blazed the trail, setting (and riding) the Stage for the next generation of Heroes to come.

Buffalo Bill is interesting because he was a self-starter – while most of the early Western Western Movie Stars were recruited by studios. Being a Real Cowboy was a definite hiring criteria for a lot (though not all) early Western Stardom.

That said, I had I sorta intended to spit on any Western Movie Stars that wuzn’t REAL cowboys, But hell, how can you spit on William S. Hart!!!?? You just cain’t! A hell of a man with a genuine love for all things Western.

Some images borrowed from Western Movies New Frontier Saloon http://forum.westernmovies.fr/viewtopic.php?t=9508









For his contribution to the motion picture industry, William S. Hart has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1975, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Cowboy Hall of Fame


William S. Hart Filmography:

  • Ben-Hur (1907)
  • The Bad Buck of Santa Ynez (1914) (extant; Library of Congress)
  • The Gringo (1914) (*unconfirmed)
  • His Hour of Manhood (1914)
  • Jim Cameron’s Wife (1914)
  • The Bargain (1914)
  • Two-Gun Hicks (1914)
  • In the Sage Brush Country (1914)
  • Grit (1915)
  • The Scourge of the Desert (1915)
  • Mr. ‘Silent’ Haskins (1915)
  • The Grudge (1915)
  • The Sheriff’s Streak of Yellow (1915)
  • The Roughneck (1915) (?; Library of Congress)
  • On the Night Stage (1915)
  • The Taking of Luke McVane (1915)
  • The Man from Nowhere (1915)
  • ‘Bad Buck’ of Santa Ynez (1915) (extant; Library of Congress)
  • The Darkening Trail (1915)
  • The Conversion of Frosty Blake (1915)
  • Tools of Providence (1915)
  • The Ruse (1915) (extant; Library of Congress)
  • Cash Parrish’s Pal (1915)
  • Knight of the Trail (1915)
  • Pinto Ben (1915)
  • Keno Bates, Liar (1915)
  • The Disciple (1915)
  • Between Men (1915) (extant; Library of Congress)
  • Hell’s Hinges (1916) (extant; Library of Congress)
  • The Aryan (1916) (extant; Library of Congress)
  • The Primal Lure (1916)
  • The Apostle of Vengeance (1916)
  • The Captive God (1916)
  • The Patriot (1916)
  • The Dawn Maker (1916)
  • The Return of Draw Egan (1916) (extant;DVD)
  • The Devil’s Double (1916)
  • All Star Liberty Loan Drive Special for War Effort (1917)
  • Truthful Tulliver (1917)
  • The Gun Fighter (1917)
  • The Desert Man (1917)
  • The Square Deal Man (1917)
  • Wolf Lowry (1917)
  • The Cold Deck (1917)
  • The Silent Man (1917)
  • The Narrow Trail (1917)
  • Wolves of the Rail (1918)
  • The Lion of the Hills (1918)
  • Staking His Life (1918)
  • Blue Blazes Rawden (1918)
  • The Tiger Man (1918)
  • Selfish Yates (1918)
  • Shark Monroe (1918)
  • Riddle Gawne (1918)
  • The Border Wireless (1918)
  • Branding Broadway (1918)
  • Breed of Men (1919)
  • The Poppy Girl’s Husband (1919)
  • The Money Corral (1919)
  • Square Deal Sanderson (1919)
  • Wagon Tracks (1919) (extant; Library of Congress)
  • John Petticoats (1919) (extant; Library of Congress)
  • The Toll Gate (1920) (extant; Library of Congress)
  • Sand (1920) (extant, DVD)
  • The Cradle of Courage (1920)
  • The Testing Block (1920)
  • O’Malley of the Mounted (1921)
  • The Whistle (1921) (extant; Library of Congress)
  • Three Word Brand (1921)
  • White Oak (1921) (extant; Library of Congress)
  • Travelin’ on (1922) (extant; Library of Congress)
  • Wild Bill Hickok (1923)
  • Singer Jim McKee (1924) (extant; Library of Congress)
  • Tumbleweeds (1925) (extant; Library of Congress, others)
  • Show People (1928) (*cameo at studio luncheon)
  • Tumbleweeds (1940/rerelease) (*filmed talkie prologue to accompany 1925 silent)

William S. Hart

18 Oct


Tell ‘em William was here.

William Surrey Hart (December 6, 1864 – June 23, 1946)
was an American silent film actor, screenwriter, director and producer.
He is remembered for having “imbued all of his characters with honor and integrity.” – Wikipedia

Billy's gun bar

He began his acting career on stage in his 20s, and in film when he was 49, which coincided with the beginning of film’s transition from curiosity to commercial art form … He had some success as a Shakespearean actor on Broadway … he appeared in the original 1899 stage production of Ben-Hur.

Hart went on to become one of the first great stars of the motion picture Western. Fascinated by the Old West, he acquired Billy the Kid’s “six shooters” and was a friend of legendary lawmen Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson … Hart was particularly interested in making realistic western films. His films are noted for their authentic costumes and props, as well as Hart’s extraordinary acting ability, honed on Shakespearean theater stages in the United States and England.

By the early 1920s, however, Hart’s brand of gritty, rugged westerns with drab costumes and moralistic themes gradually fell out of fashion. The public became attracted by a new kind of movie cowboy, epitomized by Tom Mix, who wore flashier costumes and was faster with the action. Paramount dropped Hart, who then made one last bid for his kind of western. He produced Tumbleweeds (1925) with his own money, arranging to release it independently through United Artists. The film turned out well, with an epic land-rush sequence, but did only fair business at the box office. Hart was angered by United Artists’ failure to promote his film properly and sued United Artists. The legal proceedings dragged on for years, and the courts finally ruled in Hart’s favor, in 1940.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, William S. Hart has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6363 Hollywood Blvd. In 1975, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

As part of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, California, Hart’s former home and 260-acre (1.1 km²) ranch in Newhall is now William S. Hart Park. The William S. Hart High School District as well as William S. Hart Senior High School, both located in the Santa Clarita Valley in the northern part of Los Angeles County, were named in his honor. A Santa Clarita baseball field complex is named in his honor.

On November 10, 1962, Hart was honored posthumously in an episode of the short-lived The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show, a western variety program on ABC.

Billy's gun bar

The Salvation … Review

13 Oct

The Salvation – My Favorite Westerns Review:

Danish anyone?
A pretty good Western. And they don’t many these days.
Most Western fans should like this.

The Salvation 1

The Salvation 2

The Salvation 7

The Salvation 8

The Salvation 9

The Salvation 3

The Salvation 4

The Salvation 5

The Salvation 10

The Salvation 11

The Salvation 12

The Salvation 13

The Salvation 14

The Salvation 15

Film Locations:
Johannesburg, South Africa
Cullinan, Gauteng, South Africa

Stuntman’s Lament …

13 Oct


Stuntman's Lament 3

A Small Fraternity … Part 3 Richard Farnsworth

7 Oct

One of these days / Neil Young

Stunts to Stars /  A Small Fraternity: 

Richard Farnsworth

Richard W. Farnsworth (September 1, 1920 – October 6, 2000) was an American actor and stuntman. His film career began in 1937; however, he achieved his greatest success for his performances in The Grey Fox (1982) and The Straight Story (1999), for which he received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Richard Farnsworth 1

Sadly, there are few or no available images of a young Richard Farnsworth

Richard Farnsworth 2

Richard Farnsworth 3

Richard Farnsworth 6

Richard Farnsworth 4

Tom Horn with Steve Mcqueen and Slim Pickens / 1980

Richard Farnsworth 5

The Grey Fox / 1982

Richard Farnsworth 7

Farnsworth and Robert Redford

Richard Farnsworth 8

The Straight Story

Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival: Best Actor
Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated – Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor (2nd place)
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated – Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor (2nd place)

Coming Up:
A Small Fraternity / Part 4

Cowboys to Stars

Tom Mix

A Small Fraternity … Part 2 Ben Johnson

6 Oct

Roy Rogers & Sons Of The Pioneers – Tumbling Tumbleweeds

Stunts to Stars /  A Small Fraternity: 

Ben Johnson

Wikipedia: “Ben “Son” Johnson, Jr. (June 13, 1918 – April 8, 1996) was an American stuntman, world champion rodeo cowboy and actor. The son of a rancher, Johnson arrived in Hollywood to deliver a consignment of horses for a film. He did stunt double work for several years before breaking into acting through the good offices of John Ford. Tall and laconic, Johnson brought further authenticity to many roles in Westerns with his extraordinary horsemanship. An elegiac portrayal of a former cowboy theatre owner in the 50’s coming of age drama, The Last Picture Show, won Johnson the 1971 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He operated a horse breeding farm throughout his career. Although he said he had succeeded by sticking to what he knew, shrewd real estate investments made Johnson worth an estimated 100 million dollars by his latter years.

Johnson was born in Foraker, Oklahoma, on the Osage Indian Reservation, of Irish and Cherokee ancestry, the son of Ollie Susan (née Workmon) and Ben Johnson, Sr. His father was a rancher and rodeo champion in Osage County. Throughout his life Johnson was drawn to the rodeos and horse breeding of his early years. In 1953 he took a break from well paid film work to compete in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, becoming Team Roping World Champion although he only broke even financially that year. Johnson was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1973.

Johnson’s 1941 marriage to Carol Elaine Jones lasted until her death on March 27, 1994, they had no children. Jones was the daughter of noted Hollywood horse wrangler Clarence “Fat” Jones.

“I grew up on a ranch and I know livestock, so I like working in Westerns. All my life I’ve been afraid of failure. To avoid it, I’ve stuck with doing things I know how to do, and it’s made me a good living.”

You done good Ben.

Ben Johnson 1

Ben Johnson 2

Ben Johnson 3

Young Ben

Ben Johnson 4


Ben Johnson 5

… gentleman Ben

Ben Johnson 6

A drink with Brando / “One Eyed Jacks” 1961

Ben Johnson 7

“One Eyed Jacks” 1961

Ben Johnson 9

Ben Johnson 10

“The Sacketts” Tom Selleck, Ben Johnson, Glenn Ford. 1979

Ben Johnson 16

Ben Johnson 13

“The Wild Bunch” 1969 / Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine

Ben Johnson 12

“The Wild Bunch” Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson 14

Not photogenic at all …

Ben Johnson 15

15 movies with ‘The Duke’ including “The Train Robbers” 1973

Ben Johnson 17

Ben Johnson / Inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1973

Ben Johnson 18

A Small Fraternity … Part 1 Slim Pickens

5 Oct

Stunts to Stars

Men like Richard Farnsworth, Slim Pickens and Ben Johnson were all legitimate cowboys and horsemen who got lassoed into Stunt work. Then via fluke, luck or Gift of God – plus some undeniable Charisma – became well known Actors/Stars.

Who knew?

Not them.

Surely none of ‘em would have thought less of themselves – or their lives – if they had stayed in the esteemed profession of Cowboy/Horsemen/Stunt work.

This being said, the fraternity of Stunt Artists has always somewhat of a shadow industry/profession in film making. We know these Stunt guys (and gals) are there – (Stunt Artists work in nearly every film and and in many TV shows) – but Movie Makers shine as little light on these necessary Artists as possible. Why? Because they don’t want to spoil the grand illusion that it really isn’t Robert Redford and Paul Newman jumping off that cliff – or John Wayne smashing through that bar room window – not to mention the thousand of other perilous acrobatics we witness in nearly every movie – and have been for a long, long time.

Yet the respect accorded Stunt Artists is also evident – as when Stars perform their own stunts – it is always well publicized as a daring (if not foolhardy) feat – discouraged by those who fund the films.

A Small Fraternity: 

Slim Pickens

Wikipedia: “Born, Louis Burton Lindley, Jr. (June 29, 1919 – December 8, 1983), known by the stage name Slim Pickens, was an American rodeo performer and film and television actor who epitomized the profane, tough, sardonic cowboy, but who is (possibly) best remembered for his comic roles, notably in Dr. Strangelove and Blazing Saddles.

Pickens … was an excellent rider from age 4. After graduating from High School he joined the rodeo. He was told that working in the rodeo would be “slim pickings” (very little money), giving him his name, but he did well and eventually became a well-known rodeo clown.

After twenty years on the rodeo circuit, his distinctive Oklahoma-Texas drawl (even though he was a lifelong Californian), his wide eyes and moon face and strong physical presence gained him a role in the western film, Rocky Mountain (1950) starring Errol Flynn. He appeared in many more Westerns, playing both villains and comic sidekicks to the likes of Rex Allen, John Wayne, Steve McQueen, … many many other Stars.”

The rest is history … Hollywood style.

Slim Pickens

Slim Pickens 2

Young Pickens … slim and trim.

Slim Pickens 4

 … and faster than he looks

Slim Pickens 5

Pickens and Allen … Rex

Slim Pickens 6

Slim Pickens in “The Glory Guys’ 1965

Slim Pickens 7


Slim Pickens 8Slim Pickens 9

Slim Pickens 10

‘One Eyed Jacks’ / Katy Jurado, Marlon Brando, Pickens, Pina Pellicer, and Karl Malden 1961

Slim Pickens 11

Slim ‘takes one’ for Sam (Pekinpah) in ‘Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid’ 1973

Slim Pickens 12

A lecture for the Duke ‘The Cowboys’ 1972

Slim Pickens 13

Camp side in ‘The Sacketts’ 1979

Slim Pickens 15

‘Major Dundee’ 1965

Slim Pickens 14

A chat with Clint

Stunt Tips from My Favorite Westerns

Cannon Stunts

Tip 14: Never stand in front of the cannon

CCR revisited and Yellow River

27 Sep



“… shining down like water … “


Where we come from.

Farnsworth Awards …

23 Sep

Richard Farnsworth favorite Song: Skyball Paint
Performed by Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers

The Straight Story Award

“No I didn’t audition, I didn’t even know David Lynch till the week before I started the film.”

Comes a Horseman Awards

“I worked with Cecil B. DeMille quite a few times.”

The Grey Fox Award

“I worked for John Ford, Howard Hawks, Henry Hathaway, Raoul Walsh – I worked for some real good directors.”

Gemini Award Richard Farnsworth

“I worked for Sam Peckinpah on quite a bit of action in his films, and he got excited once in a while.”

Bronze Wrangler

“I was a stunt man for 35 years.”

Richard Farnsworth Golden Boot

Richard Farnsworth Winchester Rifle

Richard Farnsworth Belt Buckle

Richard Farnsworth 14

See ya Rich. 

Richard Farnsworth Filmography …

20 Sep

Richard Farnsworth Movies

Richard Farnsworth in Tom Horn (1980)

Richard Farnsworth in Tom Horn (1980)

‘Still waters run deep’ they say.

Richard Farnsworth has proven to be well with no bottom.

Incredibly, though Richard Farnsworth film history was somewhat overwhelming, much/most information about his first 37 years in the film industry as Stuntman/Stunt rider/Extra is almost unknown and “uncredited”.

Another amazing feature of Farnsworth’s work is the number of Film Classics he worked in, including Gone with the Wind, Spartacus, The Ten CommandmentsPapillon … and several Classsic/Popular Westerns: Red River. Arrowhead, The Outlaw Jose WalesMonte Walsh. The Cowboys … others.

When I normally do a Filmography on somebody, it’s usually just cover their Westerns. But Farnsworth appeared in so many other notable movies that I felt compelled to post his other work as well – despite scant information.

Another interesting truth arises: many Support Actors / Extras / Stuntmen often participate or appear in more Films that most Movie Stars themselves. They don’t get the Top Bill – or money – but there they are.

Note: these images below are only PART of Farnsworth Film and TV history. I was unable to find several images or posters.

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 1

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 2

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 3

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 4

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 5

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 6

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 7

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 8

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 9

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 10


Richard Farnsworth 12

Rose …

14 Sep

Happy Birthday Rose 2014

Rose's Birthday 2014

A Magnificent 7 remake ____ here we go again …

13 Sep

The Magnificent Seven: Denzel and Fuqua to Remake Classic

By Point of Geekson September 10th, 2014 at 4:31pm

One of the greatest westerns ever made, The Magnificent Seven, will be remade for the big-screen. The western which featured many of the biggest stars of its time, was actually a remake itself of Akira Kurosawa’s epic, Seven Samurai. An important point to make before there are cries from film purists claiming it is blasphemy to remake this classic. The project has gone through many hands in the past few years as multiple producers and stars have looked to repackage the film for the current generation. Most recently there was a version to star Tom Cruise, according to ScreenRant, other veteran actors such as Morgan Freeman and Kevin Costner were sought after to make up the posse.


The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The Magnificent Seven (1960)

The project is now in the hands another director and actor team, who have found a high level of comfortability and teamwork. Director Antoine Fuqua and Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington, first forged their partnership on the film Training Day, where Washington won his second Oscar. After their second pairing in this month’s upcoming thriller, The Equalizer, they are more energized than ever to keep their professional partnership going. After confirming that the duo are indeed remaking The Magnificent Seven ….

…. It will be interesting to see how the remake is handled. With Washington assumably taking over the role previously held by Yul Brynner, it will be fascinating to see how race is handled in the film. It would be hard to not acknowledge how the additional hardship of being black in the wild west America would affect the character(s).

Even of more interest is whom Fuqua and Washington (who seems to be in a producing capacity as well judging by Fuqua’s comments) choose as the other six members of the legendary posse. The search for backup is a huge part of the original film and finding six other actors that won’t be overshadowed by Washington may not be a simple task. Not to mention Westerns certainly are not the dominant film genre any longer. It will take a quite a dynamic cast to drum up a buzz, since the original came out over fifty years ago. It should be a delight watching this project come together.

Top 10 Movie Ensemble Casts: The Magnificent Seven

MFW comment:

Am I against a remake of M7? No.
Would I say M7 fans wouldn’t like to see one? Of course they would.
I would also say that it’s a daunting task – especially the casting – as is mentioned.
Over the years we have already seen several attempts to remake M7 – even a TV show.
None of them fared too well – compared to the original.
The problem is simple: On any such remake of a Classic Film there are going to be inevitable comparisons – as what happened with Johnny Depp’s The Lone Ranger.
So it’s a tough deal.
And the only thing that saves some remakes (to any degree) is that there is a whole new audience that holds no allegiance or knowledge of the Original. They don’t care – and don’t know – about the incredible Star Power and charisma of Yul Brynner – not to mention the other members of the cast – most of whom went on to long an illustrious success in filmdom.
Yes ..we all hope that somehow Washington and Director Antoine Fuqua can come up with something that rekindles the inspired work of John Sturges original movie …
But we are ready to be disappointed as well.

M7 boothill

[Chris (Yul Brynner) is driving the hearse up to Boot Hill; Vin (Steve McQueen) is riding shotgun]

Chris: We’ll get there.

Vin: It’s not getting up there that bothers me. It’s staying up there that I mind.

Richard Farnsworth … Western Icon

11 Sep

Laurens Walking – from Soundtrack of The Straight Story

Richard Farnsworth

Richard Farnsworth / 1920 – 2000

- IMDB Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net> (qv’s & corrections by A. Nonymous)

An American stuntman who, after more than 30 years in the business, moved into acting and became an acclaimed and respected character actor, Richard Farnsworth was a native of Los Angeles. He grew up around horses and as a teenager was offered an opportunity to ride in films. He appeared in horse-racing scenes and cavalry charges unbilled, first as a general rider and later as a stuntman. His riding and stunting skills gained him regular work doubling stars ranging from Roy Rogers to Gary Cooper, and he often doubled the bad guy as well. Although. like most stuntmen, he was occasionally given a line or two of dialogue, it was not until Farnsworth was over 50 that his natural talent for acting and his ease and warmth before the camera became apparent. When he won an Academy Award nomination for his role in Comes a Horseman (1978), it came as a surprise to many in the industry that this “newcomer” had been around since the 1930s. Farnsworth followed his Oscar nomination with a number of finely wrought performances, including The Grey Fox (1982) and The Natural (1984). In 1999 he came out of semi-retirement for a tour-de-force portrayal in The Straight Story (1999).

Richard Farnsworth Trivia (IMDB)

Was a stunt man for 40 years before becoming an actor.

He was 43 years old when he received his first acting credit.

Doubled for Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda, Montgomery Clift, Steve McQueen and Roy Rogers ….

Co-founder of Stuntmen’s Association in 1961 using his considerable clout in his field to co-create the Stuntman’s Association, a group which would fight to safeguard the rights and working conditions of the men and women who risked life and limb for Hollywood.

Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1997.

Shortly before his death, when asked by film critic Roger Ebert what he was most proud of in regard to his acting career, he replied that it was the fact that in over 60 movies he never says one cuss word.

Billy Crystal singled out Farnsworth at the 72nd Academy Awards telling everyone it was “great to see him, and his nomination was a great story.”

Is the oldest ever person to receive a Best Actor Oscar Nomination (79 at the time).

Richard Farnsworth - Award

Richard Farnsworth 11

Tragic End / Richard Farnsworth Suicide

“The Straight Story” Oscar nominee Richard Farnsworth, 80, shot and killed himself on Friday. The actor reportedly had been diagnosed with terminal bone cancer and earlier this year underwent hip replacement surgery, which left him partially paralyzed and unable to walk. Police said Farnsworth was found dead at the home near Lincoln, N.M., that he shared with his fiancee, Jewel Van Valin. He apparently left behind a suicide note, though police have not disclosed its contents. “This was an obvious self-inflicted gunshot,” Sheriff Tom Sullivan told reporters. This year, at the age of 79, Farnsworth was the oldest best actor nominee in Academy history for his role as Alvin Straight, a senior citizen who drove his lawnmower from Iowa to Wisconsin to visit his ailing brother. Farnsworth’s previous Oscar nomination was for the 1982 Canadian film, “The Grey Fox.” The weathered-looking actor with the arresting blue eyes, who began his career as a stunt-riding double for Roy Rogers and Henry Fonda, also appeared in “The Natural,” with Robert Redford, and “Comes a Horseman,” with Jane Fonda, among other movies.

Coming up: Richard Farmsworth Western Filmography …

Richard Farnsworth Movies

HO HO Hooooo …

9 Sep

Thot we’d skip Fall this year and go directly to Winter.

This way we don’t have to deal with those messy leaves.

Photos from the internet …

Yesterday I was barbequing … today my garden is dead.


Billy Miner … Part 3

5 Sep

Railroad Bill by Alan Lomax 

Billy Miner … still popular 

Seen Billy

Billy Minor Legacy

The Grey Fox train bar

Seen Billy 2

Billy Minor Legacy 2


Billy Minor pub

Seen Billy 3

Billy's gun bar

Billy Tombstone

Billy Miner … Part 2

1 Sep

Patsy Montana – I wanna be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart (1935)


BILLY MINER Wanted Poster

    A Western Photo Op …  
But nobody’s smiling








Without his mustache, just an ordinary crook

Shorty Dunn – Miner’s Co-Star

Short Dunn

Smile Shorty! We’re gonna be famous. 

The Grey Fox train bar

The train of dreams

Part of the story ...

Part of the story …

... the other part

… the other part

Billy's gun bar

The Guns of Billy Miner

Billy Miner Guns

Billy Miner Books

Billy Miner book 2

Billy Miner book

Billy Miner book 3

The last stage

The Grey Fox (1982)

31 Aug

Billy Miner – Sang by Garry Fjellgaard

The Grey Fox train bar

“In 1901, after 33 years in San Quentin, Bill Miner
“The Gentleman Bandit,”

was released into the Twentieth Century”

The Grey Fox Poster 2

The Grey Fox Posters

Notice anything funny about the posters above?
The image on the right is reversed.
Why? I have no idea.

The Grey Fox Poster 3

The Grey Fox

The Grey Fox 2

the grey fox stage bar

I saw the Grey Fox when it came out in 1982. At the time I recall being underwhelmed. I was hoping for a Western action film, but the Grey Fox didn’t answer my bloodlust. It was more a docu-drama – a Bio Pic on the famous “Gentleman Bandit”, outlaw Billy Miner.

the grey fox stage bar

But upon watching it again, my initial feelings were dismissed. It’s a good movie. Probably a movie that should be more appreciated.

No, it’s not a ‘shoot up’, but it is well shot. Nicely directed by Phillip Borsos and written by John Hunter,

Farnsworth has more than enough Star Power to get away with the loot and he seems to have been born for the role of Billy Miner. That’s great casting.

Director Phillip Borsos and Richard Farnsworth / 1982 Canadian movie The Grey Fox.

Director Phillip Borsos and Richard Farnsworth / 1982 Canadian movie The Grey Fox.

The movie pulls us in quickly and though we know Miner is a crook, Farnsworth’s charm wins us over easily and we’re along for the ride – whatever our fates may be.

When the action picks up, Farnsworth’s soft spoken like-ability is played ‘against type’ where the violent contrast against his usually quiet nature provides dramatic punch.

MFW The Grey Fox RT Review

Movie Info (from Rotten Tomatoes)

Francis Ford Coppola protégé Phillip Borsos directs this elegiac, low-key tale about real-life bandit Bill Miner that has become a classic of Canadian cinema. Having been released from jail in 1901 following a 33-year prison sentence for robbing stagecoaches, Bill Miner (Richard Farnsworth) finds himself living in a society that has completely changed from the one of his youth. He tries to put his life of crime behind him and settle down in Washington state with his sister, but the quiet life does not suit him. He feels restless but uncertain as to how to proceed next. The answer comes to him when he sees Edward S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery. Soon, Miner has slipped over the border into Canada and, along with his new partner, Shorty (Wayne Robson), robs the Canadian Pacific Railway Transcontinental Express. Later, while laying low after the crime in a remote corner of British Columbia, he meets the beautiful, strong-willed photographer Kate Flynn (Jackie Burroughs). In writing this script, Borsos reportedly made heavy use of contemporary court documents and testimonies. This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival in honor of its 20th anniversary. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi

PG, 1 hr. 30 min. / Directed By: Phillip Borsos / United Artists

MFW The Grey Fox IMDB Review

Storyline (IMDB)
Old West highwayman Bill Miner, known to Pinkertons as “The Gentleman Bandit,” is released in 1901 after 33 years in prison, a genial and charming old man. He goes to Washington to live and work with his sister’s family. But the world has changed much while he has been away, and he just can’t adjust. So he goes to Canada and returns to the only thing familiar to him — robbery (with stagecoaches changed to trains). – Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

The Grey Fox train bar

Opening Screenshots

Opening Screenshots 2

The Grey Fox quote 2

the grey fox stage bar

Closing Screenshots

The End of the line

The Grey Fox exits with a bit of a fairy tale ending with Bill riding (or rowing) off into the sunset, but sadly (historically) Miner died in in a Georgia, US prison in 1912.

The Grey Fox - Farnsworth

The Grey Fox train bar

The Real Grey Fox

Upcoming on My Favorite Westerns …

27 Aug

Celebrating The Lone Ranger and Tonto – Continued

The Lone Ranger and Tonto

Celebrating Steeds of Renown – Continued 

The Cisco Kid

The Grey Fox and Richard Farnsworth

The Grey Fox Poster

The Wild Bunch – A Celebrating a Favorite

The Wild Bunch - The Walk

Bill Miner – The Gentleman Bandit

25 Aug

While visiting the Royal VIctoria Museum, (Victoria, British Columbia) … saw a famous photo of outlaw Billy Miner – the Gentleman Bandit

Billy Minor - the Gentleman Outlaw

Billy Minor – the Gentleman Bandit (left)


Canadian Cowboy Country Magazine
Edmonton, Alberta – http://www.cowboycountrymagazine.com/



bill miner 2
Bill Miner’s prison “mug” shot. Notice the
prison stamp from Okalla Penitentiary,
New Westminster, B.C., 1906.
Photo courtesy Mike Puhallo

Bill Miner created an enduring legend that grew up around one of the Old West’s most unusual outlaws. Credited with coining the phrase “Hands Up” he was known far and wide for his genteel manners and apologetic demeanour. He was the first man to rob a train in Canada.
Born around 1842 in Bowling Green Kentucky the son of a schoolteacher and a mining engineer, he headed West while still in his teens in search of adventure. A superb horseman, Miner drifted out to New Mexico and signed on as a dispatch rider for General Wright during the Apache war. Earning up to twenty-five dollars a letter in this risky endeavour young Bill became quite a big spender and soon turned to robbing stagecoaches to support his lifestyle.
While plying his trade in California Bill was the first bandit to adopt the phrase “Hands Up.” Soft spoken and polite even while committing armed robbery, he would often apologize to passengers for any inconvenience.
Bill Miner was first arrested on April 3, 1866, convicted on two counts of robbery and sentenced to four years at San Quentin. Over the next thirty-five years Miner spent a total of 29 years and seven months behind bars, was released twice and escaped five times. When he was out, he lived the life of a gentleman quickly blending in with affluent society. He was linked to stagecoach holdups and train robberies throughout the West and was once referred to by WM Pinkerton as “the master criminal of the American West.” Miner was released from San Quentin for the third time in 1901.
He was known to have taken part in one train robbery near Portland in 1903 and drifted North into British Columbia shortly afterwards. Using the alias George Edwards, Miner travelled Southern British Columbia, buying and selling cattle, prospecting a little, and visiting with his brother Jack Budd who lived near Princeton. He became well known in the business and ranching community and travelling frequently as he did no one noticed when he disappeared occasionally.
On September 10, 1904 at Silverdale British Columbia Bill Miner, along with Shorty Dunn and Louis Colquhoun stopped the CPR #1 and pulled off Canada’s first train robbery. Months of careful planning netted the gang $7,000 in gold dust, over $900 cash and fifty thousand dollars in railway bonds. They slipped across the Fraser River by boat to their horses and rode a few miles upstream to Chilliwack. The next morning policemen and posse spread out along the border to search for the train robbers. Meanwhile George Edwards, the cattle buyer, was having breakfast and discussing the news with a pair of CPR Detectives in a Chilliwack restaurant.

bill miner 1
May 8, 1906, the CPR train “Imperial Limited” was held up near Kamloops, B.C. by the Bill Miner gang, netting $15.50. The gang escaped on horseback but were pursued by Constable William Fernie and his four First Nations trackers; Alex Ignace, Eli La Roux, Michel Le Camp and Philip Toma. Together they tracked the fleeing train robbers for five days, and the Royal North West Mounted Police were able to successfully capture the bandits near Douglas Lake.
Photo courtesy Mike Puhallo
Caption information from the new book; Interred With Their Bones-Bill Miner in Canada by Peter Grauer-available May, 2006.

George Edwards carried on as before buying and selling cattle and horses, occasionally working as a ranch hand. Never short of cash and often on the move, he was well known and well liked in Princeton Kamloops and the Nicola valley. On October 6, 1905, Bill Miner robbed the Overland Limited just outside Seattle. George Edwards had been working at Douglas Lake a little before that, or maybe he was at Princeton… When a fellow moves around a lot, no one notices when he comes and goes. But whenever a train gets robbed, the Pinkerton Detectives notice. From 1901 to 1906 there where several train robberies in several states throughout the U.S. attributed to Bill Miner but the Pinkertons could find neither hide nor hair of him.
On May 8, 1906, eighteen miles East of Kamloops, Bill Miner robbed the CPR for the second time. He was looking for a huge shipment of cash and gold collected for the San Francisco earthquake relief. I guess old Bill figured after all those years in San Quentin; he was entitled to some of that money too. Unfortunately for Bill, Shorty, and Louis, they stopped the wrong train, got away with only a few dollars and to make matters worse, somebody turned their horses loose. Attempting to escape on foot it wasn’t long before they were rounded up.
In spite of being positively identified as Bill Miner, the old bandit refused to admit anything insisting that he was George Edwards. Hundreds of supporters came to town to protest his arrest refusing to believe this popular old gent could be the most wanted outlaw in the West. Miner and his accomplices were convicted and sent to the B.C. Penitentiary at New Westminster. In a few months Miner escaped, fled to the U.S. and resumed his career. Arrested in 1911 after committing Georgia’s first train robbery, the Gentleman Bandit died in Georgia State Penitentiary in 1913. His tombstone reads:
Bill Miner — last of the old time outlaws.

Dock Holiday 3 … to the pools !

22 Aug

grey heronThere were 2 (Grey?) Herons nesting along the nearby shoreline and we could see them flying by on occasion. One morning Rose spotted one on some rocks below. No telephoto .. but got this murky image.


Although some of the pics look like it was rainy, we had very nice conditions for the whole week. Mostly sunny – not too hot – no wind – no skeeters. It did rain one day, but was still pleasant.

hot tub

The pool and hot tub were beautiful – and not crowded as you can see. Sweet.

like glass i tell ya

Like glass baby!

I love outdoor pools. I love the sunlight – and the reflections on the water and the shimmer of light on the bottom of the pool.

ya baby !

The better half of the Tsunami Twins.

blue euphoriaBlue euphoria …


no problemNo problem.

throw in the garlicHe’s done .. throw in the garlic …


The Return of Quintus Flatulence III … bring my trireme around to the dock …

life is tuff

Life is tuff …

Celebrating Tonto 2 …

20 Aug

Jay Silverheels

tonto wallpaper

tonto wallpaper 2

Tonto and Scout

tonto 3

Tonto and gun

Tonto 5

Tonto 6

Tonto 7


Silverheels 3

Silverheels 4

Young Silverheels

Young Silverheels 2

Silverheels 5


18 Aug


Ride on Tonto !

Originally posted on SERENDIPITY:

I grew up with the Lone Ranger and Tonto racing around my bedroom.  No, not live, but I had authentic Lone Ranger wallpaper. Until the wallpaper was installed, I was sure he was the Long Ranger … as in “he rode a lot and covered great distances.” Y’know. Long range.

Other girls had Disney Princesses, flowers, and butterflies. I had “Hi Yo Silver, the Lone Ranger Rides Again!” Although my walls did not play the William Tell Overture, I could hum it well enough. I had many a long chat with Lone, Tonto, Silver and Scout as I lay abed pondering the meaning of life and how I could convince my mother to let me have a horse.


It was a hard choice between Lone and Tonto. It was even a difficult choice between their horses. Silver was magnificent, but Scout — a stunning paint — was gorgeous too. Really, I would have…

View original 439 more words

Hitchbot hits Victoria !!!

18 Aug

hitch bot


Dock Holiday 2 …

17 Aug
Inn of the Sea

Inn of the Sea

The view

The view



Busy dock

Busy dock

Inn of the Sea 2

Inn of the Sea

Super Moon rising

Super Moon rising



Dock Holiday … Vancouver Island

16 Aug






After the shower

After the shower




Island Holiday …

12 Aug

On holiday on ‘The Island’ for a week … back shortly …

silverheels …

7 Aug

silverheels 1

tonto 2

Celebrating Tonto …

5 Aug

Jay Silverheels - Tonto Portrait

Jay Silverheels / Tonto

Born: 26 May 1912 , Six Nations Reservation, Brantford, Ontario, Canada  Was a full-blooded Mohawk Indian, one of 11 children of A.G.E. Smith, who had served as a decorated officer in the Canadian forces in WWI.

Birth name: Harold J. Smith

Adopted the nickname ‘Silverheels” during a very brief boxing career, which saw him compete as a middleweight in a Golden Gloves bout in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
Alternate story: Jay took his stage name of Silverheels from his track days as a youth, when, wearing white shoes, he ran so fast his feet appeared to be streaks of white. Since he thought it would be awkward for a Native American to have the name of Whiteheels, he chose Silver instead.

Wikipedia: “While playing in Los Angeles on a touring box lacrosse team in 1937, he impressed Joe E. Brown with his athleticism. Brown encouraged Silverheels to do a screen test, which led to his acting career.  Silverheels began working in motion pictures as an extra and stunt man.”

Internet Movie Datebase (IMDB): “He was a star lacrosse player and a boxer before he entered films as a stuntman in 1938. He worked in a number of films through the 1940s before gaining notice as the Osceola brother in a Humphrey Bogart film Key Largo (1948) (John Huston cast him). Most of Silverheels’ roles consisted of bit parts as an Indian character. In 1949, he worked in the movie The Cowboy and the Indians (1949) with another “B movie” actor Clayton Moore. Later that year, Silverheels was hired to play the faithful Indian companion, Tonto, in the TV series The Lone Ranger (1949) series, which brought him the fame that his motion picture career never did.
“Silverheels could not escape the typecasting of Tonto. He would continue to appear in an occasional film and television show but became a spokesperson to improve the portrayal of Indians in the media.”
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Reportedly beat out 35 other actors to win the Tonto role in the initial radio version of “The Lone Ranger“, which he had been invited to audition for based on his appearance in Key Largo (1948).

“Silverheels became an outspoken activist for Indian rights and a respected teacher within the Indian acting community. He appeared on talk and variety shows performing his own poetry. In later years, he began a second career as a harness racer. His health failed in the 1970s, and he died of a stroke in 1980, a beloved figure to the Baby Boom generation America. His son, Jay Silverheels Jr. has acted in television as well.”
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Jay played Apache chief Geronimo in two films, Broken Arrow (1950) and Walk The Proud Land (1956).

First Americans in the Arts honored Jay Silverheels with their Life Achievement Award.

Jay founded the Indian Actors’ Workshop in Echo, California in 1963.

Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1993.

Jay was inducted into the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1997.

Was an avid horse-racer when not acting.


The Lone Ranger Celebration … cont.

1 Aug

The Lone Ranger and Tonto … Lookin’ at cha !

The Lone Ranger and Tonto 10

The Lone Ranger and Tonto 2

The Lone Ranger and Tonto 7

3 The Lone Ranger and Tonto 5

3 The Lone Ranger and Tonto 4

The Lone Ranger and Tonto 6

The Lone Ranger and Tonto 9

The Lone Ranger and Tonto 8

The Lone Ranger and Tonto

3 The Lone Ranger and Tonto 3

The Lone Ranger and Tonto 22



Ranger’s Badge

30 Jul

The Lone Ranger and Tonto 4
Texas Rangers badge
Texas Rangers badge 13
Texas Rangers badge 12
Texas Rangers badge 8
Texas Rangers badge 10
Texas Rangers badge 11

Western Skies …

30 Jul

valley sunset

valley sky 1

valley eve


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