Sam Shepard … Cowboy

“When you hit a wall – of your own imagined limitations – just kick it in.” 
― Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard

Samuel Shepard Rogers IV is an American playwright, actor, and television and film director. He is the author of several books of short stories, essays, and memoirs, and received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child. Shepard was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff (1983). Shepard received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a master American dramatist in 2009.


Won Obie Award for Best Distinguished Play(s): 1966 Chicago, Icarus’s Mother, Red Cross; 1967 La Turista; 1968 Forensic and the Navigator, Melodrama Play; 1973 The Tooth of Crime
1975 Won Obie Award for Best Playwriting: Action
1977 Won Obie Award for Best New American Play: Curse of the Starving Class
1979 Won Obie Award for Best Playwriting: Buried Child
1979 Pulitzer Prize for Drama: Buried Child
1980 Won Obie Award for Sustained Achievement
1984 Won Obie Award for Best New American Play: Fool for Love
1984 Won Obie Award for Best Direction: Fool for Love
1984 Nominated Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: The Right Stuff
1985 Nominated BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay: Paris, Texas
1986 Won Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play: A Lie of the Mind
1986 Won New York Drama Critics’ Circle for Best Play: A Lie of the Mind
1986 Won Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play: A Lie of the Mind
1992 Won American Academy of Arts and Letters – Gold Medal for Drama
1994 Inducted American Theatre Hall of Fame
1996 NominatedTony Award for Best Play: Buried Child
1997 Nominated Lone Star Film & Television Award for Best TV Supporting Actor: Hallmark Hall of Fame: “Lily Dale”
1999 Nominated Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie: Dash and Lilly
1999 Nominated Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Film: Dash and Lilly
2000 Nominated Tony Award for Best Play: True West
2001 Nominated Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Acting Ensemble: Black Hawk Down
2008 Nominated SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor – TV Movie or Miniseries: Ruffian

Born Samuel Shepard Rogers IV in Fort Sheridan, Illinois, he worked on a ranch as a teenager. His father, Samuel Shepard Rogers, Jr., was a teacher and farmer who served in the United States Army Air Forces as a bomber pilot during World War II; Shepard has characterized him as “a drinking man, a dedicated alcoholic”. His mother, Jane Elaine (née Schook), was a teacher and a native of Chicago, Illinois. Shepard was forced to support his mother and brother when his father’s farm lapsed into insolvency. After graduating from Duarte High School in 1961, he briefly studied agriculture at Mt. San Antonio College, where he became enamored with the oeuvre of Samuel Beckett, jazz, and abstract expressionism. Shepard soon dropped out to join a touring repertory group, the Bishop’s Company.

After securing a position as a busboy at The Village Gate … after winning six Obie Awards between 1966-1968, Shepard emerged as a viable screenwriter … drummed sporadically from 1967 through 1971 with psychedelic folk band The Holy Modal Rounders … (1968).

Shepard’s early science fiction play The Unseen Hand (1969) would influence Richard O’Brien’s stage musical The Rocky Horror ShowCowboy Mouth—a collaboration with then-mistress Patti Smith—was staged for one night at The American Place Theater in April 1971, providing early exposure for the future punk rock singer; seeking to distance himself from Smith and his substance abuse, Shepard relocated with his wife and son to London in the early 1970’s. Returning to America in 1975, he moved to the 20-acre Flying Y Ranch in Mill Valley, California and served for a semester as Regents’ Professor of Drama at the University of California, Davis.

Shepard accompanied Bob Dylan on the Rolling Thunder Revue of 1975 as the ostensible screenwriter of the surrealist Renaldo and Clara (1978) … His diary of the tour (Rolling Thunder Logbook) was published by Penguin Books in 1978. A decade later, Dylan and Shepard co-wrote the 11-minute “Brownsville Girl“, included on Dylan’s Knocked Out Loaded (1986) album and later compilations.

In 1975, he was named playwright-in-residence at the Magic Theatre, where many of his notable works (including his Family Trilogy: Buried Child [1978], Curse of the Starving Class [1978], and True West [1980]) received their premier productions. Some critics expand this grouping to a quintet which includes Fool for Love (1983) and A Lie of the Mind (1985).

Shepard began his acting career in earnest when he was cast as the handsome land baron in Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven (1978), opposite Richard Gere and Brooke Adams. This led to other important films and roles, most notably his portrayal of Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff (1983), earning him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. By 1986, one of his plays, Fool for Love, was being made into a film directed by Robert Altman; his play A Lie of the Mind was Off-Broadway with an all-star cast including Harvey Keitel and Geraldine Page; he was living with Jessica Lange; and he was working steadily as a film actor—all of which put him on the cover of Newsweek magazine.

Throughout the years, Shepard has done a considerable amount of teaching on writing plays and other aspects of theatre. His classes and seminars have occurred at various theatre workshops, festivals, and universities.

Shepard was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1986. He was electedFellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1986.

In 2000, Shepard decided to repay a debt of gratitude to the Magic Theatre by staging his play The Late Henry Moss as a benefit in San Francisco. The cast included Nick NolteSean PennWoody Harrelson, and Cheech Marin. The limited, three-month run was sold out.

In 2001, Shepard had a notable role of General William F. Garrison in the box office hit and cult classic movie Black Hawk Down. Although he was cast in a supporting role, it reinvigorated interest in Shepard among the public and critics alike.

He performed Spalding Gray‘s final monologue Life Interrupted for its audio release through Macmillan Audio in 2006.

In 2007, Shepard contributed banjo to Patti Smith’s cover of Nirvana’s song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on her album Twelve.

Although many artists have had an influence on Shepard’s work, one of the most significant has been actor-director Joseph Chaikin, a veteran of the Living Theatre and founder of a group called the Open Theatre. The two have often worked together on various projects, and Shepard acknowledges that Chaikin has been a valuable mentor.

… publication of the collection Day out of Days: Stories. The book includes “short stories, poems and narrative sketches … that developed from dozens of leather-bound notebooks [Shepard] has carried with him over the years.”

See you Sam


KLONDIKE … Calgary Herald Mini Review …

klondike calgary herald

Posted by Eric Volmers

The Discovery Channel’s expensive gamble on gold-rush fever — and Alberta — is paying off big time for the network, bringing it its biggest Monday prime-time numbers in the U.S.

The six-hour miniseries, which finishes its three-night run tonight (Wednesday), reached 1.9-million viewers in Canada and 3.4-million American viewers. Shot in Alberta last year, it stars Richard Madden, Abbie Cornish, Sam Shepard, Tim Roth and Augustus Prew.

The miniseries, loosely based on Charlotte Gray’s historical book Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike, tells the story of gold-rush fever in Dawson City. Reviews have been mixed — although it earned a respectable 73 per cent approval rating on metacritic, which aggregates reviews — but critics who enjoyed it were lavish in their praise.

The San Francisco Chronicle said “With a cast headed by Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden, Klondike grabs you with terrific performances, an unusually rich script, magnificently sweeping visuals of jagged mountains overlooking valleys of ice and snow, and such a convincing attention to period detail, you’ll believe you’re back in Dawson City at the end of the 19th century.”

While the Hollywood Reporter said it mixed “sweeping, awe-inspiring images of nature with the up-close ugliness of dank, mud-packed streets, Klondike stands out instantly with its large canvas.”

klondike poster 1
“Maybe that wasn’t the break I was looking for … “
breaking bad
You can lose more than your shirt in a gold rush

Gold Diggers




KLONDIKE … Update / Reviews …

klondike reviews
“It’s all downhill from here …”

klondike metacritic

klondike reviews 2


Updated 12:50 pm, Wednesday, January 15, 2014

“Haul out all the plays on the word “gold” because
that’s what the Discovery Channel has struck with its
very first scripted content, the stunning six-part
miniseries “Klondike” airing over three nights beginning
on Monday …”

klondike reviews 4

Gold and Survival, Yes,
but Scripts and Stars, Too

‘Klondike’ Brings Law and Drama
to the Frozen North

klondike reviews 5“What wuz you saying about downhill … ?”


” … The series, which begins on Monday night, is full of the same brutal weather and dubious quests as Discovery’s reality shows, but professional actors — Richard Madden, Sam Shepard, Tim Blake Nelson, Abbie Cornish and Tim Roth among them — make it a much more compelling attraction than any of that other fare …”

Klondike on Discovery … update

Begins January 20.

My Favorite Westerns: If you’re going to shoot a Western period piece – in the mountains – in the winter, why not choose the most brutal winter we’ve had in years?? Because that’s exactly what they’ve done with Klondike.
Maybe the weather is different up there in the mountains? but down here in Calgary we’ve had at least 3 blizzards – so far.
So I gotta believe a lot of the hardships that will be depicted in Klondike won’t require a great deal of acting.
Anticipating a good show – with a lot of snow.

Reposted from CBC News site:

Klondike series could bring gold rush for Discovery Channel

Richard Madden, Abbie Cornish, Tim Roth among big-name stars

CBC News Posted: Jan 12, 2014 11:46 AM MT Last Updated: Jan 12, 2014 1:01 PM MT

Richard Madden, left, and Augustus Prew are several of the high-profile stars in Klondike, which is set to premier on Jan. 20 on Discovery Channel.
Richard Madden, left, and Augustus Prew are several of the high-profile stars in Klondike, which is set to premier on Jan. 20 on Discovery Channel. (Dan Power/Discovery Communications)

Discovery Channel is set to launch its first-ever scripted venture, Klondike, in a bid they hope will help them strike it rich with viewers.

The six-hour, three-night miniseries begins Jan. 20 on Discovery Canada before continuing the following Tuesday and Wednesday. Scottish actor Richard Madden, best-known for his role as the brutally-murdered Robb Stark in HBO’s Game of Thrones, is among multiple high-profile stars who have been in Alberta filming for the series.

Abbie Cornish, Tim Roth, Sam Shepard and Augustus Prew also star, while powerhouse producers Ridley Scott, Paul Scheuring and David Zucker have been working away behind the scenes to bring the series to life.

It’s all based on Charlotte Gray’s 2010 book, Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike.

On Thursday, the cast and producers took questions from reporters as part of the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour.

According to Scheuring, who wrote the script, said he wasn’t intimidated to be writing for Shepard, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright, “because the part was written, thank goodness, before he was cast.”

Days of Heaven actor returns

Shepard was a last-minute replacement for Chris Cooper, who had to withdraw with an illness right before production was scheduled to begin.

The 70-year-old actor had worked in Alberta before, memorably on Days of Heaven in 1978.

He was apparently hard to reach after Cooper pulled out because he was offline and out fishing, something he indulged in while on location in Alberta.

“Some of the biggest cutthroats I’ve ever seen in my life,” Shepard said about fly fishing “way up there on the Athabasca River.”

No chance of shooting in Dawson City

The producers say there was never any thought of shooting the series right in Dawson City, despite the fact that the picturesque Yukon town retains much of the look it had back in the gold rush days of the 1890s.

The usual lure of tax grants and funding — from the Government of Alberta and the Alberta Film Development Program — lured production to Alberta.

And it was damn cold, says Brittish-born Prew,

The actor plays Byron Epstein, who teams up with Madden’s character, Bill Haskell, as the two childhood friends set out to make their fortune along with thousands of others during the peak year of the Klondike gold rush.

“We were in period costumes, no thermals,” Prew said of his experience on location in Alberta last April through July. “I went on holiday right after to Turkey. It was lovely and warm there.”

‘Brutal’ shooting conditions in Rockies

The cast, producers and crew faced a 40-minute snowmobile ride followed by another 40-minute trek — sometimes by helicopter — for scenes shot in a tiny town high up in the Rocky Mountains, northwest of Calgary.

There are Canadians in the cast, including Brian Markinson (Da Vinci’s Inquest), who is currently shooting Fargo in Calgary, and Saskatchewan native Michael Greyeyes.

While Prew said the relatively isolated mountain-top locales could be “rather meditative,” he won’t miss the 18-hour days.

“I only saw my hotel six hours a night,” he said.

According to Zucker, one of the series’ producers, much of the shoot “was brutal. There was so little time to shoot such a big thing and it took four months of 18-hour days.

Despite that, the real-life struggle and challenges look good on screen.

“We wanted to emphasize that it was miserable,” Zucker said. “A lot of that was in the script and I pushed it even further. It is about the battle with nature and we didn’t want that to look easy.”


‘Klondike’ Mini-Series Update …

“What doesn’t kill you, makes you a fortune.”



Excellent trailer.
Many may recognize lead actor Richard Madden,
who has tossed aside his sword from Game of Thrones
(assuming he’s still alive in that saga)
to take up a pick and a pistol.
for Klondike




What’s a guy to spend all this gold on … ?


KLONDIKE Sam Shepard
… for that by which ye judge …

Official Discovery Channel Webpage for Klondike

James Garner Westerns con’t: Streets of Laredo / 3 part mini-series 1995 / Part 1

Capt. Woodrow F. Call: I will not tolerate rude behaviour!”

Fortunately, Streets of Laredo is chock full of rude behaviour.

I selected this version of the very famous song The Streets of Laredo by Ed Bruce ( (writer of “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and “You’re the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had“) because Bruce is a close friend and co-hort of James Garner. And I like it.


Larry McMurtry’s Streets of Laredo • Official Trailer • Miniseries


I have no problem understanding what people like about McMurtry’s writings: Lonesome Dove (1986 Pulitzer Prize winner) etc. of which Streets of Laredo is part of his enduring saga of Woodrow Call – and others – It’s the people in his stories. They are fully realized and believable. Real. And we like them and admire them. His people are honest, hard working, caring, loyal, honest … good people. Not perfect in any way – but good. They have standards and they have a code – and they stick by – and stick together. We come to care about them and relate quite a bit with them – I hope. McMurty’s stories are good too – filled with these interesting characters and his great knack for excellent dialogue. No problem finding quotes in his writing.
Streets of Laredo is excellent. Streets of Laredo Banner Streets of Laredo starts out with a coyote howling in the sunset and plaintive death march of the song Streets of Laredo … giving a sense of loss – that something is ending rather than beginning. And in the opening scene we see the no longer young Woodrow Call (Garner) preparing for a journey … his last quest ??

Streets of Laredo James Garner Banner


They don’t usually make many posters and such for TV events (tell that to Game of Thrones) so we often have to rely on DVD covers and the like for any promotional images. As such:





Notice anything about one of these DVD images?
It’s reversed. Yes. This is something that you encounter
very often on the internet – reversed images. Why? I don’t know.
It’s annoying. For one thing it’s dishonest. Secondly, sometimes
you can’t tell which is the honest/correct/original image.
Why do people do this? It can’t be done accidentally.
It’s a head 
scratcher … ??


I rate it an 8 out of ten
SOL Rotten Tomatoes
“54%” !!??? – that’s insane.

I was completely caught up in this gritty Western.

James Plath's picture
James Plath
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 – 12:00 am
” … a considerably better-than-average Western . . . even if it isn’t quite the same caliber as “Lonesome Dove.” It hooked me right from the beginning, and that’s worth something. Like the best mini-series, “Streets of Laredo” depends upon strong characters to make the difference, and they do.”
Alexis Cruz does a fantastic job as the child killer, but so does Randy Quaid as John Wesley Hardin and Ned Beatty as the self-appointed law west of the Pecos, Judge Roy Bean. Even comedian George Carlin turns in a decent performance as grizzled carryover from “Lonesome Dove.”
Bottom Line: As a stand-alone mini-series, “Streets of Laredo” merits a high 7 to a low 8 out of 10. As a sequel? It’s probably not going to satisfy anyone looking for consistency from film to film. But I think the first point trumps the second. Always.”


If interested in finding Streets of Laredo you’ll have no problem – it’s freely available on YouTube – all 3 parts in blazing Hi Res that you can watch right on your computer – though I downloaded it and Rose and I enjoyed watching it on her big screen TV.

That’s enough for today …

Coming Up …
Streets of Laredo: The Cast

Sam Shepard To Star In Discovery Channel’s ‘Klondike’ Miniseries …

Sam Shepard replaces Chris Cooper in Alberta-shot miniseries Klondike

Sam Shepard replaces Chris Cooper in Alberta-shot miniseries Klondike

One week after Oscar-winning actor Chris Cooper departed the Alberta-shot miniseries Klondike, actor Sam Shepard has stepped in to fill his boots.

Deadline Hollywood reported today that the Oscar-nominated Shepard, who is also a renowned playwright, will take over the role of Father Judge for the series, which is the Discovery Channel’s first scripted project. Production started last week in various locations west of Calgary, including an area near Spray Lakes.

Cooper announced last week that he could not play the role due to a personal matter. Klondike is based on Charlotte Gray’s novel Gold Diggers: Striking it Rich in the Klondike and tells the tale of six strangers in a small frontier town of Klondike in the 1890s. The cast also includes Abbie Cornish, Tim Roth and Game of Thrones Richard Madden.

Shepard earned an Oscar nomination for playing pilot Chuck  Yeager in the 1983 film The Right Stuff. He is perhaps best known as a playwright, having penned classics such as True West, Fool for Love, Curse of the Starving Class and Buried Child. This is not the first time he has filmed in Alberta. He starred in Terrence Malick’s 1978 film Days of Heaven and 2007′s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.