Those are days that molded me into who and what I am. The American pride my family carried and the patriotism that was passed on from one generation to the next. My love of westerns and cowboys stemmed from those early years. Some of the best one liners ever created came from those movies and I’ll remember them long into my old age. I only hope that I've done my part and passed on even a small piece of my heritage to my kids, but more than that I hope I've passed on a pride of our history. America may still be a young nation but we are a gifted, compassionate, and creative people.
The idyllic icon grew out of our history’s pages and into our hearts less than a hundred and fifty years ago stepping onto the screen as Hollywood captured the essence of what made those times great.
Sometimes life gives you lemons and you have to make lemonade. I think we all know how that goes and I've found myself in that situation. I've decided to take a step back from my career as an author and take a short break from the things that come with it. And since this will be my last blog, at least for a short while, I've decided to leave you with some small piece of myself. Without further ado I present to you my top five favorite cowboys.
5. He has the legendary ten gallon hat, the strong chin, and the million dollar smile. He’s the hero who always does the right thing even when he must stand alone, and no matter what the cost, he’ll be there for his “boy.” Who wouldn't love Woody in Toy Story played by Tom Hanks? He is the American cowboy personified.
4. This cowboy lived a full, adventurous life that spanned fifty years. An American Icon. A legend. You can’t mention cowboy without the image of John Wayne coming to mind. He is the epitome of Americana. With films like The Shootist and The Man who shot Liberty Valance, Wayne endeared himself to a captive audience with his rough voice and stoic ideals. He branded himself on more than just the American history pages; he branded himself on our hearts forever. “Well, there are some things a man just can’t run away from.” – Stagecoach (1939) Well said, John, and may these words have meaning many years from now.
3. This cowboy comes from the second longest running western series in history with his endearing youth and blind loyalty; there wasn't another cowboy who captured as many hearts as Joe Cartwright in Bonanza. Bonanza and Gunsmoke were my grandfather’s favorite TV shows but Joe gets in my top five simply because he was my first celebrity crush. Ahh, the joys of a young girl’s heart.
2. What else says the Wild, Wild West more than the pony express? The Young Riders was a fictionalized piece of American history set in Sweetwater, Nebraska territory. James Bulter Hickok played by Josh Brolin gets my number two pick simply because he’s hot and because he’s been a long-time crush of mine that never seems to waiver. The older he gets, the hotter he is. There’s nothing more fascinating than the hot-tempered Wild Bill Hickok whether it’s fiction or reality. His history is provocative because of both his past as a gunfighter and a lawman.
1. My number one pick is a man that needs no introduction. And while there were earlier cowboys who paved the way into the western genre, no one lit up the screen like Clint Eastwood. Tall, rugged, handsome in rough sort of way, he was the epitome of “cowboy.” He’s been in Hollywood’s limelight since 1955 and has earned a place among its legends. I first watched Pale Rider when I was nine years old and was fascinated with those pale blue eyes and seemingly heartless expression. And no one gave a one liner quite the way he did. On top of that he is one of the few of Hollywood’s elite who’s served his country and his numerous awards for his work have made him a cultural icon. "Dyin' ain't much of a livin', boy"~ The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976.
So there are my favorite top five cowboys. Those are the men who have shaped me into a western-loving fiend. I've always said that westerns, whether it’s in the form of a book, a TV series, or movie will endure both time and trends. When all others fade or get overshadowed by others, westerns always seem to return time and again to capture our interest. Even if it’s not your favorite genre, it seems like everyone has a story to tell about a western cowboy they remember the most. So tell me which cowboy was the most memorable for you?
And with that, I tip my hat to those of you who've swung by to read my posts over the last year or so. I leave you with a smile and a promise that this isn't goodbye…just goodbye for now. Never be afraid to take a chance, you never know when it might turn into the best adventure yet.
The Devil's Defiance ~ book two in the Devil Ryder series