Monday, August 1, 2016

"Let 'er buck!" {and Why Emma Loves Westerns So Much In The First Place}

*fires pistol*


Western Week is here!!! And I'm so happy about it!!!


Y'all ready for the onslaught of gushing and swooning and never-ending movie reviews? The fun and the feels? The grittiness and the gore and the glory? Yes? Good. Cuz there's gonna be lots of it.

Olivia and I are biting on the bit to share with y'all what we've been working on! We hope you have been too, because if we've gotten all worked up for this and none of y'all are going to join in, not gonna lie, that'll be disappointing. Don't disappoint us.

     So, just in case you're a little confused, this is the way things are going to work. All you people who are posting your own Western-themed posts on your blogs this week, label them with "Legends of Western Cinema Week", and then at the end of the week come back here to THIS POST and comment with the link to all your posts, so on Saturday when we wrap things up I can put them all together and we can see what everybody's done over the week. Sound good? (Any questions, just ask me.)

I sincerely hope you all are as excited about this as we are. :-)

"You reminded us of God's enduring promise" Willie Love's Enduring Promise | Logan Bartholomew - logan-bartholomew Photo:

So...what is it about westerns that I love so much, you ask?

I've loved western movies since I was about twelve, when I first watched Hidalgo, which isn't really a western (now that I know what a western is), but it's what first made me love cowboys and Indians and movies about the American Frontier. Something about it sparked an interest I didn't know I had, and I knew I wanted more. Next came True Grit (2010), which honestly changed my world. True Grit was like nothing I'd ever seen before; True Grit was a new adventure. I tried to find more movies like that, and next thing I was swept away in a current of obsession that still burns just as strong today...and is getting stronger.

    I think it's partly the dirt. And the horses, the gunfights, the saloon brawls, the brawny cowboys, the tough pioneers, the action, the wide open plains. I love the American West. The endless grasslands, deserts and valleys hold a fascination with me and always have. Though I've never been there, that kind of country gives me shivers all the way down to my cowboy boots. It excites me; it lights me up. What is it Willa Cather said?

     "When I strike the open plains, something happens. I'm home. I breathe differently. That love of great spaces, of rolling open country like the sea, it's the grand passion of my life."


     Second reason; alright, I like the brawny cowboys. ;-) But, contrary to popular belief, *coughcough* I don't just like them because they're hot! (Though they must get really hot out there in the sun all day with all those clothes and those bandanas on their faces, sheesh.) No, the main reason I like cowboys is because of the lifestyle they represent; their character. (I'm serious.) These are tough guys who know their job and take pride in the way they do it. They care about honor and integrity. You know what that's called? That's called the Cowboy Way.

     There's a strong emphasis on family. Brother sticks by brother. Even the outlaws stick together -- especially the outlaws, actually. (Looking at you, Frank and Jesse.) They look out for their own and they fight for their own. There's a strong theme of loyalty in many western stories, which, for me, is one of my favorite things about any movie, but if it's set against the backdrop of a wild-untamed land and if you put everybody on horses it makes it even better. 

     Then there's the dialogue. A western just doesn't cut it without some good, crunchy dialogue to chew on. (For instance: I think that's why I couldn't get into The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, because Clint Eastwood just will not open his mouth and SPEAK.) Best dialogue ever? In my opinion, that would be Lonesome Dove, but then I'm so biased to LD in every way that I'm liable to answer with that every time, so.... But seriously -- dialogue is a trademark of a good story, and westerns usually succeed. I'm talking about those lines you hear that get you deep-down, the ones you find yourself quoting on a daily basis, the ones that people still recognize years later, like:

     "It ain't dyin' I'm talkin' about, Woodrow, it's livin'."


     "I am Wind in His Hair! Can you see that I will always be your friend?"


     "You work with a horse, not against it."

    "Let 'er buck."

    "They say you're a man with true grit."

     "Button, I ain't never been killed in my life."

     But here's the main reason westerns are dear to my heart:

     Because of the lifestyle they portray.

     Yes, riding horses and herding cattle and taming wilderness. That stuff is COOL, guys, admit it. But more than that, it's the values. I mean the deep-down, abiding ones. The age-old good versus evil, the legendary struggles of life on the frontier, the bravery of the men and women who knew the land when it was wild. This is the legendary Old West that I love, where men were men, savagery ran rampant, but good always triumphed over evil in the end because that's the way things work.


     I love westerns because of the way Mattie Ross rides Little Blackie right into that river to get to the other side. I love 'em because of how Woodrow Call hauls his best friend's body 300 miles so he can bury him in Texas, like he wanted. I love 'em because of that old guy in The Good Old Boys who spent his youth gallivanting the country and his old age idly reminiscing over it, and that speech Hewey Calloway makes over his grave when they bury him. Because of the way Kevin Cosnter handles a six-shooter; because of how Henry Craig's boy rides down that mountain; because of all the legends of all the outlaws and lawmen who ever ruled the land west of the Mississippi.

     ....and because it is a well-known fact that almost every man looks better in a cowboy hat. :-)

     Why do YOU like westerns?


  1. This post really put me in the mood for your week. (Which is a pity since I'm just about to go to bed, and now my mind is thinking about westerns. :P No wonder why my sleeping habits get out of whack...)

    I love the fact that you fired the pistol at the beginning. I can just hear it ringing in my ears!

    I really enjoyed reading this. (And seriously, who else describes dialogue as crunchy and something to chew on? You sure do have a way with words, girl.)

    I haven't actually seriously thought about WHY I like westerns... but you know what, I think it's partly because of this: westerns don't show life as a sunshine filled rose bed. It's real, it's gritty, it's dirty and they don't make it seem like some polished thing that it isn't. They have blood, sweat and tears. They're REAL. And most movies don't have that kind of bragging right. ;)

    ~Miss Meg

  2. I hope many people will participate, even though I can't really. :-) I do understand your fondness (fondness?!!! Wait, that's a bad choice of word) for westerns though, and I admit cowboys are good-lookin'. ;-)

    I love the Willa Carther quote. T'is gorgeous.

    PS hey i like u do u want 2 go out with me

    1. You could always write about Little House. ;-)

      Isn't it though?!? That quote was in the beginning of a book I read and I remember just sitting there, staring into space, my imagination exploding when I read it.

      P.S. Hey bae. I like u. Do u want 2 go out.

    2. Heyyyyy, there's an idea!!!! Is Little House a western?
      Also, I suddenly realised I never put up a button. What an unsupportive moron I am.


    3. It's as close to a western as you've seen. It counts.

      Haha, that's funny, I suddenly realized...I never put one up either. How about that!

  3. because of the good looking cowboys xD HAHAAHAAAA

    sorry, couldn't help myself LOL

  4. What???? "Hidalgo" isn't really a Western? YES IT IS TOTALLY A WESTERN. *I* say it is. The Jessica hath spoken ;-)

    Why do I love Westerns? Mmmmmmmmmmmm . . . I think I like the whole concept of having a few "lone" characters, good guys, who then have to band together in order to survive and fight the wilderness and fight the Bad Guys. It's just such a cool, "romantic" feeling--romantic in the very best way. That's why I like it :-)

  5. :) I couldn't have described it better!!

  6. This is beautiful. I love every word of it.

    1. Here's my post! :D

  7. I do not like westerns. I love them!! :-)

    I think I love them for all of the reasons you gave in your post. Your post has put into words feelings towards westerns that I have not been able to describe in words. I agree with you. I like the life westerns portray, and I like the characteristics they show like loyalty, hard work, and good vs. bad. I love the quote you gave by Willa Cather. The quote gives a similar feeling I have whenever we drive through southern Arizona.

    I can't wait to see what happens this week!

  8. This is going to be so much fun! (Well, it already has been, so that's great. :)) Anyway, here's my entry - a review of High Noon.

  9. Hello... EMMA!!!
    I've been really in a strongly western mood lately so it's feels rather fun to enjoy it with kindred spirits across the country -

    Here is my link for my review of High Noon

    Have a jolly day!

  10. I told someone today that westerns are where my heart lives, and it's so true. I love the idea of westerns, how they're about ordinary people in very difficult, sometimes dangerous situations, learning to help each other and also fend for themselves. That's part of it. I also love the sheer space of the west, and the way western characters often tend to accept people regardless of foibles or quirks, and the way you can change your own life and the lives of others through your own efforts, not relying on someone else to hand you something.

    And I love this exchange between John Chisum (John Wayne) and his foreman, Pepper (Ben Johnson) in the movie Chisum because it also sums up a lot of what I feel about westerns:

    Pepper: There's no law west of Dodge and no God west of the Pecos, right Mr. Chisum?

    Chisum: Wrong, Mr. Pepper! Because wherever a man goes, sooner or later, there's the law. And sooner or later, he realizes that God's already been there.

    Bringing the law to the wilderness and finding that God has been there -- I love seeing that happen over and over and over.

    1. Well said. And I love that dialogue! I think I'm going to have to watch Chisum ASAP!

  11. Hello Emma,

    I'm so glad y'all are doing this again! I'm constantly in a western mood and ready to write about it at the drop of a hat.

    Here are my contributions:

    Looking forward to reading all the posts!

  12. Eeepers, Emma! This was SO beautifully written! As to why I like the west and westerns so much... Well, there are numerous reasons, but suffice to say, I'm underlining Every. Line. You. Wrote. ;)

    And quoting: "When I strike the open plains, something happens. I'm home. I breathe differently. That love of great spaces, of rolling open country like the sea, it's the grand passion of my life."

    SO TRUE. In fact, as my family could tell you (and I'm not prone to such things), but I've been known to cry on occasion when we cross certain state lines -- or reach a certain stretch of highway across the plains. ;P

    It's like you can be more yourself -- it's like coming home indeed, but yet still traveling forward. And the space of the mountains and land... the hugeness, the room to breathe, filling you with such longing and running over satisfaction. It's like a taste of eternity. It's amazing. ;)

    And as for the stories told and shaping it... epic is the only word.

    Also, here's my review for the week:

    Thank you so much again for hosting! I was looking forward to it soo much and I've THOROUGHLY enjoyed it. It's been wonderful! :)


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