Tuesday, August 2, 2016

"You are one part Virginia, one part Lakota. Be proud of both." // Ten Reasons Why I LOVE Into the West

"If a man lives long enough he gets to hear the stories told about him. I reckon I've lived that long."

Folks, I've done something terrible.

I've discovered a new miniseries.

And just like North and South and East of Eden and all those other miniseries I've invested myself so much into, it's ruining my life.

It didn't even take a whole episode for me to get completely hooked on Into the West. It didn't even take half an episode...I'm pretty sure it took about ten minutes. And now I'm halfway through the series and it keeps getting better and better and I keep getting more and more emotionally damaged and staying up later and later and it's all I think about all day long and basically, this is bad folks. I have a problem.


Since I ain't finished it yet, I can't write you a review. (Plus I just wrote a review of The Hatfields nad McCoys and that took all the review-writing sap out of me for a LONG time, as well as most of my emotional stability, if indeed I had any in the first place.) But since I'm so excited about this right now, and it is Western Week, and plus this is my blog and I can pretty much do whatever I feel like I want to do (gosh), here are Ten Reasons Why I LOVE Into the West. 

There are more than ten, mind you. But this is for starters.

#1 It's the epitome of epic. In Emma's book, that is. Indians, settlers, mountain men, scoundrels, heroes, love and war all wound up in one long family saga? HECK YES.

#2 It's deliciously historical. Every episode has a TIMELINE, guys. It's jam-packed with historical people and events and everything from the period costumes to the dialogue puts you RIGHT THERE in 1825, or 1862, or whenever it is. Which brings me to point #3...

#3 It spans so many years!  Young Jacob Wheeler heads westward in 1825, and so far we've covered the Mexican War, the California Gold Rush, the Sand Creek Massacre, the Civil War, the Union Pacific Railroad....AHHH THERE'S SO MUCH HISTORY. I'M DYING OF ECSTASY.

#4 Familiar actors keep popping up. Every episode brings someone new. That's one thing I love about TV series -- there's always guest stars. The opening credits are always exciting cuz you never know who'll turn up. ("Tom Berenger's in this?!?!") There's actors from everywhere....Keri Russell, Beau Bridges, Sean Astin, Graham Greene, Wes Studi. I about had a heart attack when Christian Kane appeared. With long braids. Someone pinch me.

#5 It's not trying to be politically correct. It just is what it is. The soldiers aren't all idiots (though, granted, a good many of them are) like in Dances With Wolves, and the Indians aren't all good -- some of them are brutal. There are bad white men, and there are bad Indians. The struggle between them is tragically and powerfully told.

#6 Running Fox and Dog Star. Have I mentioned what brother relationships in stories do to me? (Oh, yes I have.) Also, THE BUFFALO JUMPING SCENE. OH MY STARS AND STRIPES.

#7 The MUSIC is amazing. When the theme starts at the beginning and the medicine wheel rolls by....I'm gone. (The fact that I just found the entire series score on Youtube is making me a very happy person right now. I'm not hard to please.)

#8 People die! There are so many deaths! Indians, disease, buffalo stampede, you name it. At least four main characters die in every episode and IT'S BRUTAL. It tears your heart to shreds and makes you weep bitter tears, and for some morbid reason I love it. To death.

#9 Jacob Wheeler.

     Jacob Wheeler.

     And Jacob Wheeler.

     Jacob Wheeler is the kind of man who built the West. He's the kind of man who loves his family fiercely, will fight for them, and won't ever give up. He's the kind of man who never stops dreaming. I really wish he was either my father, my older brother, or my husband.

#10 It's just really, really, cross-my-heart, honest-to-goodness, amazing. And if there's a better way to put that, I obviously don't know it, but I can tell you this: Into the West is the best TV western to come along since Lonesome Dove. For me, it's right up there with Broken Trail and The Hatfields & McCoys. It's got the heart, the pain, the feels, the meat of a good historical drama, and all the grittiness and dust-raising glory of an old western, and right now, I'm loving every minute of it.

     Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back out West.

(Note: I wrote this last week before I had watched the whole thing. I have since finished the series and OH MY STAAAAAARS. People, watch it.)


  1. CHRISTIAN KANE WITH LONG BRAIDS??!! PINCH ME INDEED. Gosh. Wow. I mean to say, what?


    P.S. You really made me laugh, when you gave one of your reasons that you love Into The West as "people die! There are so many deaths!"

    1. I knew that'd get a reaction out of somebody.

      Ha, well, what can I say for myself? I have a thing for characters dying!




    (He's probably my favorite country singer; I'm not really into country in general but I LOVE LOVE LOVE his songs. Also he plays one of my absolute favorite screen characters, Eliot Spencer on "Leverage" . . . so yeah ;-) )

    1. You just told me something I never knew -- Christian Kane is a country singer?! No idea! That's interesting.



      Not only is he a country singer, he's the best country singer I know. You MUST listen to the following songs, forthwith:

      "Thinking of You"

      "Let Me Go"

      He has plenty of others, too; but those are my absolute favorites.

    3. I didn't know he was still singing! Back in the early '00s, he had a country band called Kane, and he sang a few times on Angel (where I first encountered him) -- I do like his voice. Thanks for the links, Jessica! I know what I'm listening to this afternoon.


    I mean. This looks so. stinking. epic. I spy Josh Brolin…and Christian Kane, as you said (next to…Jackie Chan? What?)…and Keri Russell…and is she standing next to Skeet Ulrich? Because that'd just be TOO GOOD ;) ALSO. I feel like I know the guy who plays Jacob Wheeler…what's his name?

    I WANT TO WATCH IIIIIIIIIIITTT! How is it content wise?

    Awesome, awesome post!


      It's all that and more. And yes, that is Josh Brolin. And yes, that's Skeet Ulrich!! Even Dr. MacNeil from Christy is in it. (But that's not Jackie Chan.)

      Ahhhh, Jacob Wheeler!!! His name is Matthew Settle and he is one of the most beautiful human beings I have ever seen in my life.

      Content-wise, it's cleaner than most TV miniseries I've seen. There's a lot of violence and some graphic/gory parts, not too much language as I recall. As you can see, I definitely recommend it!

  4. Well it definitely looks intriguing!! What do you know Christian Kane from?

    1. Indeed! I'm glad you think so. Well, I first knew Christian Kane from Secondhand Lions, but I've also seen him in the first episode of Leverage and in general I think he's really cool. :-)

    2. LEVERAGE!!!!!!!!!

      Basically, how I feel . . . :)

    3. When I watched the first episode of Leverage (the only one I have seen), there was something about Elliot that was niggling at me. Facial expressions, they way he held his arms when he was just standing there.....turns out I knew him from Crossfire Trail with Tom Selleck. He played the kid J.T.

    4. Hahahaha! I saw Crossfire Trail many moons ago, expressly for the purpose of seeing Christian Kane as a cowboy. He makes such a delicious cowboy. (But I guess I feel that way about almost all actors.)

      I didn't know he was in Secondhand Lions, though. How'd I miss that? Now I need to track that down.

    5. Well, he's a pony express rider in this one!

      He plays young Hub McCann in Secondhand Lions He doesn't have any lines but he's got all the good action and horse-riding. ;-)

    6. But I have a crippling weakness for Pony Express Riders! Oh, my. Bumping this way up my queue now, and sooooooo happy the library has it!

  5. Haha, yes, you're very terrible indeed! ;) This series looks really good. Thank goodness it's not trying to be politically correct! And I just listened to the soundtrack, and your'e right (of course): it's amazing! I also like #9. ;D
    I'll try to watch this soon. It may be the series that introduces me to Western movies! Great review, Emma!


  7. Well, you had me at Christian Kane. I think the library has it, so I'll give it a whirl sometime!

  8. "Folks, I've done something terrible." << Hahaha.

  9. Hey, quit posting stuff already - I'm still catching up on this one! ;P (I wouldn't dare not catch up each day, otherwise I'll be left in the dust... heh.)

    First off... not ANOTHER one, Emma?! How do you live like that? ;P *shakes head somberly*

    Hmm.... it does look good. (Also, Kerri Russel and Sean Bean? Count me in.)

    *whistles* Jacob Wheeler... ain't too bad on the eyes. ;D

    Sadly our library does not have this though. :( However, I'll keep an eye out for it! (It's the first time I've heard of it.)

    ~Miss Meg

  10. I totally loved it. The plot, the characters, the historical insights, and of course, Christian Kane. More than once I shed a tear and was deeply touched for a while.

  11. Wow, this looks spectacular!

    WAIT. HOLD ON. The couple above point #8! Is that Livvy and Ray from "The Magic of Ordinary Days"? Playing a couple again?? SO SWEET.

    Jacob Wheeler looks (and sounds) like a really wonderful guy. :)


      That's them, alright, but they don't play a couple in this one -- they're cousins. And he's not really that great of a character, sadly, but Keri Russel is so fun as Naomi Wheeler.

    2. :D :D

      Aww, darn. That's rather disappointing. And Ray isn't a great character?? -sniff- :'(

  12. I just checked the Parents Guide for this on IMDB and....it actually sounds like something I would be comfortable watching! Maybe I will give this a try sometime. :)


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