Jeremiah Johnson … made his way into the mountains …

The Ballad of Jeremiah Johnson – Tim McIntire

Jeremiah Johnson made his way into the mountains
Bettin’ on forgettin’ all  the troubles that he knew
The trail was wide and narrow
And the eagle  or the sparrow
Showed the path he was to follow as they flew.
A  mountain man’s a lonely man
And he leaves a life behind
It ought to  have been different, but oftimes you will find,
That the story doesn’t  always go that way you had in mind.
Jeremiah’s story was that kind. . .
Jeremiah’s story was that kind.

The Way that you Wander … Tim McIntire  

The way that you wander is the way  that you choose,
The day that you tarry is the day that you lose.
Sunshine or thunder, a man will always wonder.
Where the fair wind blows.

Jeremiah Johnson (Vocal Mix #2): Tim McIntire 

An Indian says you search in vain for what you cannot find.
He says  you’ll find a thousand ways for runnin’ down your time.
An Indian didn’t  scream it, he said it in a song,
And he’s never been known to be wrong.
He’s never been known to be wrong.

Sam Elliott … rides in … MFW Cowboy Hall of Fame

Some actors seem born to be in Westerns …

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Elliott:

Samuel Pack “Sam” Elliott (born August 9, 1944) is an American actor. His rangy physique, thick horseshoe moustache, deep, resonant voice, and Western drawl lend to frequent casting as cowboys and ranchers.

… One of his first film roles was as ‘Card Player #2’ in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).

… In 1979, he played the oldest brother in the made-for-TV miniseries The Sacketts, also starring Tom Selleck, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, Glenn Ford, Ruth Roman, Mercedes McCambridge, Jack Elam, and Gilbert Roland, among others.

… including Buffalo Girls (1995) in which he played Wild Bill Hickok. In 1998, Elliot was named the Grand Marshal of the Calgary Stampede parade and rode in the procession before 300,000 spectators. He has also starred in Road House (1989) with Patrick Swayze and played Virgil Earp in Tombstone (1993), which starred Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer.

Sam Elliott Website: A Tribute to Sam Elliott: http://www.automatedculture.com/sam_elliott/

“I`ve spent my entire career on horseback or on a motorcycle.”

A Western Education …

In researching Westerns … I’m finding I have some ‘dues’ to pay. I’ve discovered my education in Western movies is sadly lacking and there are a ton of Westerns out there that I have never seen that I need to ‘catch up on’ – even at this late date.

In doing so I’ve also found that I sometimes have to subject myself to a few Westerns that are less than excellent. Like tonight, when I decided to watch The Shadow Riders with Tom Selleck. Tom Selleck is a favorite actor of mine and, in fact, is in one of My Favorite Westerns: Quigley Down Under. But The Shadow Riders is (sadly) not of the same calibre. It’s a TV Movie – a B Movie. Not that all TV Movies or B Movies are poor – some are pretty good and a lot of fun to watch – they just aren’t normally ‘top of the line’ in production qualities.

The Shadow Riders actually has some pretty fine talent in – besides Selleck:  Sam Eliott, Ben Johnson; Catherine Ross … plus a sampling of trusty support actors. But it’s not a good movie.

Selleck and Elliot appeared together several times in Westerns:

With regard to Ben Johnson: a fine Western actor who has appeared in MANY Westerns – and is also in another of my My Favorite Westerns: The Wild Bunch. He’s one of the four (anti) heroes who march to the final showdown – along with William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, and Warren Oates.

Ben Johnson definitely has a place in the MFW Cowboy Hall of Fame

Ben Johnson

Ride on Ben …

Ride on.

The Wild Bunch: Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine
The Wild Bunch: Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine

Cooper enters the Hall …

Gary Cooper Inducted:
MFW Cowboy Hall of Fame

“The general consensus seems to be that I don’t act at all.”

Gary Cooper Western Filmography

The Virginian 1929 / Fighting Caravans 1931 / The Plainsman 1936 /
The Cowboy and the Lady 1938 / Northwest Mounted Police 1940 /
The Westerner 1940 / Along Came Jones 1945 / Distant Drums 1951 /
Springfield Rifle 1952 / High Noon 1952 / Garden of Evil 1954 /
Vera Cruz 1954 / Man of the West 1958 / Alias Jesse James 1959 /
They Came To Cordura 1959 / The Hanging Tree 1959

High Noon … the Guns …

Guns … ever a controversy …  never a solution ? 


In High Noon even Grace Kelly – a pacifist Quaker and sworn gun hater – eventually pulls a gun and kills somebody.
God forbid that any of us should ever have to do such a thing … and in a perfect world guns wouldn’t exist.
Unfortunately, this is surely not a perfect world.
Do Westerns glorify and encourage gun usage?
In my youth I handled and used guns extensively. Today I own no guns and haven’t shot one in many years … and have no intention of doing so.

Guns: Internet Movie Firearms Database: http://www.imfdb.org/w/High_Noon

The Power of Grace …

Do Not Forsake Me O My Darling …

Grace Kelly

“I would like to be remembered as someone who accomplished useful deeds, and who was a kind and loving person. I would like to leave the memory of a human being with a correct attitude and who did her best to help others.”
___________________________________________

Some people are special.

The Stars – and a few dozen constellations must have been lined up – and cheered – when Grace Kelly was born.

Her name says it all.

But Stardom didn’t just fall into Grace Kelly’s lap – she had a dream – and pursued it – even against the will of her parents who looked down on acting. Yet who could have predicted she would move from Movie Stardom become a real Princess – Princess Grace of Monaco. That’s fairy tale stuff.

Her destiny was our loss – as she made only a fistfull of movies – High Noon being her only Western. But if you are going to only make one Western why not chose one of the most celebrated Westerns of all time?

That’s real grace.

Mindless Westerns ? and High Noon …

High Noon and Politics

As a kid watching High Noon, it never dawned on me that there was anything going on ‘behind the scenes’. Lost in the wonder of an epic and heroic tale, I didn’t see it’s (and many Westerns) very strong social and political messages:

Commentaries on the politics behind High Noon:

High Noon, What Happens: Posted by Brent Allard Wednesday, March 28, 2012  http://criminalmovies.blogspot.ca/2012_03_01_archive.html:
“John Wayne (a HUAC supporter – House Un-American Activities Committee) called High Noon Un-American for it’s portrayal of the townspeople and Will Kane’s seeking help and throwing the badge in the dirt. He teamed with Howard Hawks (who called Will Kane “unprofessional”) to make Rio Bravo as a response to the film. In Rio Bravo, Wayne plays a Sheriff who with the help of a only a drunk, a kid, and a crippled man, have to prevent a gang from breaking one of their members out of jail. Wayne’s larger than life enthusiasm, is certainly a sharp contrast to Cooper’s haunted Marshal. Though both films are worth viewing, I find it difficult to side with Wayne’s optimism, although it is a pleasant diversion. Certainly to this day we have arguments about HUAC, but the beauty of western morality plays and film in general is that a good story can transcend the specific events that inspired it. High Noon is a parable for any times, including our own current extremely polarized ones. It’s difficult to live your own life, and its easy to find a justification for any moral position you can think of, or find an opinion from someone else, but ultimately the question it asks is whether or not you can live up to your own code, no matter what it costs, even if no one in the world will stand with you.”

Also this:

Emanuel Levy: “High Noon: McCarthy and Politics” – http://www.emanuellevy.com/popculture/high-noon-mccarthy-and-politics-9/

“…No matter what perspective one takes, there’s no doubt that High Noon deals with such issues as civic responsibility, active involvement in social causes, and heroic behavior during crises–all problems loaded with political overtones in the early 1950s.  Its cynical commentary on the masses’ fear of involvement in controversial issues proved to be prophetic during McCarthy’s political witch hunting.  Arguing that people should have nothing but contempt for the cowardice of ordinary folks, the film also spoke for the necessity of joint action, if enemies are to be defeated … ”

MFW: I admit that I am not a John Wayne fan. I acknowledge his undeniable onscreen charisma and that he is among the greatest movie stars of all time. I also acknowledge that he made some important and iconic Westerns. Yet I disliked him as a person and disrespected his politics. I found his ‘over the top’ super patriotism and ‘my country right or wrong’ flag waving to be very distasteful – and dangerous. I also disrespected that he refused to fight in WWII – then became a super patriot out of guilt (as one of his former wives stated). Further, Rio Bravo’s response to High Noon (by Wayne and Hawkes) is very weak. It’s ‘a John Wayne movie’. As a Western it has it’s moments – and a great cast (Wayne, Brennan, Martin, Nelson …) but as a political statement it’s pure hokum. It will not make My Favorite Westerns.

YET … as noted, if we can throw politics to the side, it’s interesting that both films still stand up and are obviously enjoyed without any political notions whatsoever.

Bravo to that … if not Rio.

Cropped screenshot of John Wayne and Angie Dic...
Cropped screenshot of John Wayne and Angie Dickinson from the trailer for the film Rio Bravo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mindless Westerns ? and High Noon …

High Noon and Politics

As a kid watching High Noon, it never dawned on me that there was anything going on ‘behind the scenes’. Lost in the wonder of an epic and heroic tale, I didn’t see it’s (and many Westerns) very strong social and political messages:

Commentaries on the politics behind High Noon:

High Noon, What Happens: Posted by Brent Allard Wednesday, March 28, 2012  http://criminalmovies.blogspot.ca/2012_03_01_archive.html:
“John Wayne (a HUAC supporter – House Un-American Activities Committee) called High Noon Un-American for it’s portrayal of the townspeople and Will Kane’s seeking help and throwing the badge in the dirt. He teamed with Howard Hawks (who called Will Kane “unprofessional”) to make Rio Bravo as a response to the film. In Rio Bravo, Wayne plays a Sheriff who with the help of a only a drunk, a kid, and a crippled man, have to prevent a gang from breaking one of their members out of jail. Wayne’s larger than life enthusiasm, is certainly a sharp contrast to Cooper’s haunted Marshal. Though both films are worth viewing, I find it difficult to side with Wayne’s optimism, although it is a pleasant diversion. Certainly to this day we have arguments about HUAC, but the beauty of western morality plays and film in general is that a good story can transcend the specific events that inspired it. High Noon is a parable for any times, including our own current extremely polarized ones. It’s difficult to live your own life, and its easy to find a justification for any moral position you can think of, or find an opinion from someone else, but ultimately the question it asks is whether or not you can live up to your own code, no matter what it costs, even if no one in the world will stand with you.”

Also this:

Emanuel Levy: “High Noon: McCarthy and Politics” – http://www.emanuellevy.com/popculture/high-noon-mccarthy-and-politics-9/

“…No matter what perspective one takes, there’s no doubt that High Noon deals with such issues as civic responsibility, active involvement in social causes, and heroic behavior during crises–all problems loaded with political overtones in the early 1950s.  Its cynical commentary on the masses’ fear of involvement in controversial issues proved to be prophetic during McCarthy’s political witch hunting.  Arguing that people should have nothing but contempt for the cowardice of ordinary folks, the film also spoke for the necessity of joint action, if enemies are to be defeated … ”

MFW: I admit that I am not a John Wayne fan. I acknowledge his undeniable onscreen charisma and that he is among the greatest movie stars of all time. I also acknowledge that he made some important and iconic Westerns. Yet I disliked him as a person and disrespected his politics. I found his ‘over the top’ super patriotism and ‘my country right or wrong’ flag waving to be very distasteful – and dangerous. I also disrespected that he refused to fight in WWII – then became a super patriot out of guilt (as one of his former wives stated). Further, Rio Bravo’s response to High Noon (by Wayne and Hawkes) is very weak. It’s ‘a John Wayne movie’. As a Western it has it’s moments – and a great cast (Wayne, Brennan, Martin, Nelson …) but as a political statement it’s pure hokum. It will not make My Favorite Westerns.

YET … as noted, if we can throw politics to the side, it’s interesting that both films still stand up and are obviously enjoyed without any political notions whatsoever.

Bravo to that … if not Rio.

Cropped screenshot of John Wayne and Angie Dic...
Cropped screenshot of John Wayne and Angie Dickinson from the trailer for the film Rio Bravo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Iconic Images: High Noon revisited …

Music: Original Soundtrack: Do Not Forsake Me – Tex Ritter 

Video Clip: High Noon Intro …
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKLvKZ6nIiA&feature=related

BOOT HILL …

Rider in the Rain (Randy Newman)

Admission: Free …

Open Every Day …Boot Hill … Boot Hill… So Cold … So Still …Billy Clanton (in back)


Gunfight at the OK Corral – Frankie Laine

Earp’s … doing ‘The Walk’

Epic! The famous ‘Walk’ to the climactic gunfight at OK Corral

Kirk Douglas
Gunfight at the OK Corral – Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, John Hudson, DeForest Kelley
Hour of the Gun Frank Converse, Sam Melville, Jason Robards, James Garner
Hour of the Gun Frank Converse, Sam Melville, Jason Robards, James Garner

'Tombstone' Val Kilmer, Sam Shapard, Kirk Russel, Bill Paxton
Tombstone Val Kilmer, Sam Shapard, Kirk Russel, Bill Paxton
'Wyatt Earp' Dennis Quaid, Michael Madsen, Kevin Costner, Linden Ashby
Wyatt Earp Dennis Quaid, Michael Madsen, Kevin Costner, Linden Ashby

‘The Wild Bunch’ … doing ‘the Walk’?  You betcha!

The Wild Bunch Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine
The Wild Bunch Edmond O’Brien, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine

Intentional – or not (and I surely believe it was)
Pekinpah’s Wild Bunch do ‘The Walk’

Guns and Killing … continued

By Frank Prassel, University of Oklahoma Press 1972

Check Your Gun Mister

Are We Safer than the Citizens of Dodge City? By Jim Higginbotham
http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/rkba/check_gun.htm

Sometimes the answers to seemingly complex social problems are hidden in plain sight. Social engineers, lawmakers and “experts” from all around spout off an endless stream of statistics to support or rationalize their position one side or the other of the “gun control” issue. Now I don’t like the term “gun control” for it is ambiguous and usually used to mask the real intent of those advocating it so for the purpose of this discussion let us just say “more restrictive guns laws”. One might think that this is a relatively new idea, it is not! You can go back to the Roman Empire and find the existence of cross bow control, you can look to England and find attempts to disarm the various colonists under their imperial thumb – the American colonists come to mind as an unsuccessful attempt to debar the use of arms to an indigent population. There are many examples of the failure of laws which attempt to disarm the violent in our society but none are more graphic as examples or easier to measure in effect than those in the “wild west” of America circa 1870-1900.

read more … http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/rkba/check_gun.htm

Guns and Killing …

Gun laws were tougher in old Tombstone

No need to check your firearm today in the Arizona town famed for the gunfight at the OK Corral.

ORIGINALLY PRINTED JANUARY 23, 2011:
By Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/23/nation/la-na-tombstone-20110123

Reporting from Tombstone, Ariz. — A billboard just outside this Old West town promises “Gunfights Daily!” and tourists line up each afternoon to watch costumed cowboys and lawmen reenact the bloody gunfight at the OK Corral with blazing six-shooters.

But as with much of the Wild West, myth has replaced history. The 1881 shootout took place in a narrow alley, not at the corral. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday weren’t seen as heroic until later; they were initially charged with murder.

And one fact is usually ignored: Back then, Tombstone had far stricter gun control than it does today. In fact, the American West’s most infamous gun battle erupted when the marshal tried to enforce a local ordinance that barred carrying firearms in public. A judge had fined one of the victims $25 earlier that day for packing a pistol.

read more … http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/23/nation/la-na-tombstone-20110123