"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.
I LOVE IT SO MUCH.
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.
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.)