By Bronwyn Jameson
I’m currently immersed in cowboys. Over the past month I’ve watched movies, read non-fiction about ranch life and training trail horses and the cowboy way, as well as fiction set in the American west. I’m listening to country music. I’ve started watching the first season of Nashville.
None of this has been a hardship. In fact, it’s fun and ridiculously addictive... partly because this is quite a switch from the rich, cosmopolitan worlds I’ve most recently been obsessed with. I’d forgotten how much I love a good western...and a good—or wickedly bad—cowboy.
John Wayne. Gary Cooper. Clint Eastwood. Bonanza. Rawhide. F Troop J. I adored Anne McAllister’s Code of the West series for Silhouette and the western historicals of Maggie Osborne and Jo Goodman and Johanna Lindsey. (Does anyone else love her Angel as much as I do?)
So when I was invited to write a novella for Montana Born Books, I jumped at the chance to create my very own cowboy story. There will be horses, of course, and barn cats and a country band that plays covers of Lady Antebellum and Sara Evans and Keith Urban. There will be work-roughened hands and leather chaps and boot-cut jeans that fit just so.
There will be a little loping, some sauntering and that slanted look from beneath the brim of a big black hat.
Those are the superficial things. Window-dressing, if you will. Dig deeper beneath the romanticised mystique and you’ll find the real cowboy. He is a hard worker, often in uncompromising environments. The cowboy is capable, self-reliant, tough. A simple man whose word is his bond, who doesn’t conform to trends, who lives by his own set of values. The strong, stoic type who is inclined to let his actions do the talking.
Do you have a favourite western? A favourite cowboy depiction? What do you find most attractive about the cowboy way?
I like Raylan Givens in Justified. A cowboy US Marshall. Great TV show.ReplyDelete
Tammy, I haven't seen this one, I confess, but have heard loads of buzz around it on social media. Might be worth me checking out (y'know, for research purposes.)Delete
PS: I just ran this through Google and one of the top search phrases was "Raylan Givens Justified quotes" which hints at good dialogue and scree-writing. I am definitely checking this out. Thanks, Tammy.
Hi Bronwyn, you must be enjoying this research. I grew up watching westerns and as my father's favourite is Gary Cooper, I suspect he became mine too. I love that idea of the laid back, laconic loner who does it tough but can be relied on in a crisis. Works for me every time. I'm looking forward to reading your new story!ReplyDelete
Oh, Annie, I am. Far too much as I need to be writing more and researching less. I *love" this description: the laid back, laconic loner. That is so evocative of the cowboy mystique, isn't it? And Gary Cooper played that role to a tee (or a cee?)ReplyDelete
OK, I've checked the Foxtel guide and Justified Series 5, Episode 1 is on rotation this week. I will check it out before looking into acquiring Series 1.ReplyDelete
Dear lord there's just something about a man of the land who looks at home on a horse that makes my heart beat harder and faster. It sounds as if you're having a whole boatload, uh…barn load of fun, Bron! Now, of course, I want to watch a classic Western movie. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was one of my favourite, and I'd love to see Calamity Jane again. And is this where I confess I've never seen Dances with Wolves?ReplyDelete
Oh, yes, a man at home on a horse. That's another prime definition of the cowboy. Barnload of fun = LOL. Thanks, Michelle.Delete
Dances With Wolves was unmemorable (to me YMMV.) I vote for watching Butch Cassidy and Sundance again. I *love* that movie. Has there ever been a better bromance casting than Paul Newman and Robert Redford? That scene where they're ambushed and jump from the cliff… Classic.
Bron, I love that cover! The fireworks, the couple at the bottom, the title - everything. :)ReplyDelete
Favourite cowboys? I've only read one Jo Goodman historical Western but I loved it. Also, the three cowboy books by Bron Jameson: Rugged Loner, Ruthless Groom and Rich Stranger.
I fell in love with Little Joe on Bonanza what feels like a million years ago, and I remember watching Gunsmoke on TV, too. I think the big draw about cowboys is their calm MANLY way of doing stuff. Unhurried and always capable whether it be with woman or beast. Sigh...ReplyDelete
Little Joe may very well have been my first cowboy crush as well, Yvonne. So cute.Delete
Manly. Unhurried. Capable. Perfect adjectives: well said, Yvonne.
It is a rather nice cover, isn't it? The Tule covers, for the Montana Born and Holiday and Southern Born books, are universally gorgeous.ReplyDelete
Jo Goodman's books are wonderful, so thank you putting me in the same paragraph. I did use the cowboy mystique somewhat in my Princes of the Outback, especially The Rugged Loner, and this story is letting me loose again. It's been far too long.
That must really kill you doing all that research :)ReplyDelete
I'm spent, Kerrie.Delete
I love the ruggedness of a good cowboy and their heart of gold :) one of my favourite movies is Butsh Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Son's of Katie Elder and yes I too love Johanna Lindsey's Angel and there is a series about seven brothers for seven brides by Leigh Greenwood tha I could not put down I will be looking forward to reading your story :)
Thanks, Helen, I hope it measures up. Our own Yvonne Lindsay is writing another novella in this series and I'm told it's a stunner. Can't wait to read it!Delete
The Sons of Katie Elder: I haven't seen that one for ages. I must rectify that, because I totally need more research. :-)
I liked High Chapparal as a child, but in recent times I've really enjoyed Lonesome Dove and Woodrow Call in particular.ReplyDelete
Love your Lego cowboys. :)
High Chapparal and Lonesome Dove = excellent choices, Claire, but I'm going to have to look up Woodrow Call. That's an intriguing title.ReplyDelete
Sons of Katie Elder was one of my favorites too- I think because I really liked the youngest son (can't remember anything about him now, though!). I grew up watching the High Chapparal, Bonanza and The Virginian and fell in love with them all.ReplyDelete
All that research, what a hardship for you…..can't wait to read this one!
Bronwyn, I've always loved a cowboy story! The cowboy television series used to be my absolute favourites when I was growing up - they had horses so the couldn't miss with me! LOLReplyDelete
Hey, your Lego cowboys are so cute! I'll look forward to your Cowboy Crush!
I'll many of them listed here.
ooops, I meant to say that many of my cowboy TV favourites are mentioned in other comments!ReplyDelete
Good luck on your research. BTW Nashville is a very long way from Montana. I suggest you check out http://thepioneerwoman.com/about/ for a lot of good information on ranch life. You might get some good photos at http://www.montanahistory.net/ , http://visitmt.com/, and http://www.mmgranch.net/ in Libby, Montana.ReplyDelete
I live in Texas and rarely see real cowboys. Ranching is subject to weather and is a hard life as more and more ranchers sell off portions of the ranch to housing developers or go into dude ranches.. Hope you can make it romantic.