Gut Rumbles

April 11, 2005

old westerns

Just a few random thoughts after watching The Western Channel today:

* Matt Dillon carries a bone-handled pistol. He always gets off the SECOND SHOT in that famous showdown to start the show. He ain't the fastest draw, but Matt doesn't miss.

*Notice something about the streets in a western movie. Everybody is riding a horse, but you don't see horse-shit anywhere.

* Two guys camp in the desert. There is not a tree or water for miles around. Somehow, they manage to make a campfire and boil a pot of coffee. I call bullshit.

* All frontier whores are beautiful wimmen. Shit.

* Nobody EVER got laid upstairs at the Long Branch Saloon. Shit.

* If you have a horse-trough in a scene, a bullet MUST go in there, and create piss-streams and ripples while the hero is never hit. I learned that if you want to save yourself in a gunfight, either get behind a horse-trough or a wagon wheel. No bullets can hit you then.

* Bad guys aim for your shoulder. That MUST be true, because that's the only place you ever see heroes being shot.

* A six-shooter in the old west reloaded itself. You could get 20 rounds out of that revolver without ever reloading. I saw it happen today.

* Everybody was CLEAN! And WELL-GROOMED!!! ALL THE TIME!!!

* Every town doctor was a grumpy old man, capable of saving lives when nobody else could.

* Gene Autry was bullet-proof.

If you don't believe me, just watch the Western Channel.


All frontier whores are beautiful wimmen.

Shit, yeah, and they have all their teeth, which conflicts with the Cops Rule of Whores. Which is as follows:

The whores with teeth are undercover cops.

Watch it and see. They never arrest a hooker with her front teeth.

Posted by: Adam Lawson on April 11, 2005 10:09 PM

I learned to love classical music by watching westerns as a child, listen to the background music on all of the old cowboy movies, Cat.

Posted by: catfish on April 11, 2005 11:03 PM

I loved the westers as a kid, Rob. I am a bit older than you--59---but I was a huge fan of Gunsmoke, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, etc. They were pretty lacking in realism, as you point out, but the stories were great. Most of the more recent, realistic Westers don't quite measure up, except Deadwood on HBO. I think it is awesome, realistic, incredible dialogue. of course all the "fucks" and "coocksuckers" don't bother me.

Posted by: John Cunningham on April 11, 2005 11:37 PM

As the song says, "Save a horse, ride a cowboy."

Posted by: "Nicolette" on April 12, 2005 12:13 AM

And where do the coffeepots come from?

Whenever our hero is riding through the desert, he has a bedroll about 3 inches thick, and maybe a pair of small saddlebags about the size of a ladies purse. Couldn't fit a coffee pot in there.

Did they stash thousands of coffee pots around in the desert?

And how come they all look so fit and healthy when all they ever eat is baked beans and black coffee?

John Wayne had the best six shooter, one shot and four baddies would fall down.

I still love Westerns, though. "Pale Rider" and "Unforgiven" were two of the best movies, and "Have Gun, Will Travel" the best TV series.

Posted by: Henry Blowfly on April 12, 2005 01:41 AM

I'd rather read Larry McMurtry - one of his whores was a huge woman, big hearted and stronger than most of the men around. His western stories are my favorites. Then there's Louis L'amour - and last, but not least, "The Virginian" - I forget who wrote that.

Posted by: suzeisnotfooledbyislam on April 12, 2005 09:44 AM

Suze, Save an Indian, Shoot a L'amour.

I've always enjoyed L'amours books; simple, easy light reading that entertains.

Posted by: Mythilt on April 12, 2005 02:02 PM

My Grandpa gave me my first "grown up " book when he tossed me a novel by Louis L'Amour when I was about 10. I spent the next decade reading westerns. I still love to read more than 30 years later. Thanks Grandpa.

Posted by: hoosierboy on April 12, 2005 02:32 PM

The Northwest Room in the Kalispell Public Library (Montana) has many authentic narratives from homesteaders, fur-trappers, and cowboys. I enjoyed most of them, but remember one in particular, by Mary Anderson. It was hand-typed on old paper, three pages long. Her life. One detail - she loved making pie crust with bear grease, said that was the best. Her story was in a small 10 cent folder, Woolworth type, as if it was as inconsequential as a whisper. When I slid it gently back onto the shelf, I never realized it was those 3 pages I remember after all these years. Mary Anderson, not Louis L'amour or Larry McMurty.

Posted by: Bonita on April 12, 2005 07:19 PM

Calling bullshit on the woodless campfires is actually accurate. One of the routine chores for kids on the frontier plains was gathering dried out buffalo turds, and later cow turds, for fuel. As a boy on hunting and camping trips I've had more than a few meals cooked over dry cowshit.
Break the turds and make sure they are dry all the way through or the smoke will be, um, pungent.

Posted by: Peter on April 13, 2005 03:31 PM
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