Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Quintessential Western Man

All of us Cactus Rose bloggers live, breathe, read, and write The West. We create to-die-for heroes.

I like to think that my own personal hero, my husband, is a true man of the West --a man who respects nature but sometimes has to tame it (he's a firefighter)...Tall, stalwart, mustachioed. A man of few words who makes every syllable count. Kind to kids and animals but who knows when to put his foot down. Loyal to a fault--to those who deserve it. A man who can tease and be feisty but is always first to laugh at himself.

For all that he's a die-hard man's man, he sure knows how to treat his woman right. And just as he climbed California's mountains chasing the flames of wildfires, I can easily picture him chasing stampeding cattle or unbroke broncs...or even better, an outlaw!

So I tried to think of movie men who fit this same bill of fare. Eye-candy if you will. Role-models for my own fiction. I came up with a delicious bunch of cowboys, gold miners, mountain men and even some outlaws.

First up is that tall, wiry, gravel-voiced cowboy, Sam Elliott. Mustache all but hiding that closed-mouth tantalizing grin. Dark glare making you think he knows what you look like without your clothes. (Lucky Katherine Ross.) ..did you know he film debuted in Butch Cassidy, but didn't meet "Etta" until later on? I think he's the ultimate cowboy.

My favorite Elliott roles: Shadow Riders, The Sackets...Virgil Earp in Tombstone, and the heroic Captain Charles Erskine Scott Wood in I will Fight No More Forever. (I will write about Captain Wood in a later post.)

Close behind is John Wayne, the all-American cowboy. Stern, grim, brave. Nonetheless, my favorite scenes for him are seen in the screamingly funny McClintock. "Shoot him, Daddy, shoot him," yells his daughter (Stefanie Powers) peeved at her beau Patrick Wayne. And Daddy does. And the gramophone jealousy scene in North to Alaska is one I recall whenever I need a good bellylaugh.

And I totally respect Robert Duvall. Classic in Lonesome Dove, hard nosed but tender in Broken Trail and Open Range.

Oh, and I confess my occasional longing for the bad boy. Oooh lala, who could ever forget Robert Redford's Sundance Kid in the slow, scrumptious "teacher-lady" scene. And those four real-life sets of brothers managed to steal my heart in The Long Riders. The Keaches, Carradines, Quaids and Guests so perfectly impersonated Jesse and Frank James, their cohorts the Youngers and Millers...and those cowards Bob and Charlie Ford. They were all horrible, I know, but I did find their loyalty come hell or high water to their mama, their wives, and each other to be a good thing, albeit misdirected sometimes.

In Last of the Mohicans, Daniel Day-Lewis has immortalized himself with romance lovers forever with that waterfall scene, hair flowing, Longrifle firmly in hand.."I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far...I will find you." Sigh. I expect no less from my hero if circumstances had bad guys after me!

And Robert Redford makes my list twice, as the haunted and haunting mountain man, Jeremiah Johnson, the loner who seeks to escape civilization "down below." He begins to tenderly fall for his reluctantly-acquired family--the Flathead bride forced on him and the tragic mute little boy. Only to lose them as the sacrifice for his doing the right thing.

Well, I sure have enjoyed this ride down the cinematic trail. I hope you like my
Top Picks and I hope you'll comment today and add some of your own!

Thanks to ya'll~

~Tanya Hanson


Loretta said...

Wow, Oh wowee!! You named all my favorites, Tanya. Whenever I'm creating a western hero, I usually envision one of my favorite western actors and give his traits to my book hero. Great post.

Celia Yeary said...

My two favorites of all time are Daniel Day-Lewis (yes, the waterfall scene, and him running through the forest, chasing the deer) and Robert Duval. I have a 6x9 photograph of him in his pants and suspenders from Lonesome Dove on my desk. Texas State owns the original manusript and a permanent display of memorbilia from the movie. Also, OPEN RANGE--one of my favorites with Robert Duvall and Kevin Costner. Many people don't like him, but I unashamedly adore him, too.The photo at the top is fantastic. Thank you, Tanya--this is just the lift I needed. P.S. Sorry, I'm not and never have been a Robert Redford fan. Celia

Lauri said...

Fabulous, Tanya! Sam Elliot will always be the true cowboy to me. My heart also does a double take with both Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner in the Tombstone and Wyatt Erp movies. You made me want to dig out the old VHS tapes in the bottom of the T.V. cabinet! Oh, and I just remembered James Gardner in all the spoofy western, (Love Your Local Gunfighter) movies he made.


Tanya Hanson said...

Hi everybody! Today was a busy day...I'm just now getting back to the blog. I KNOW I have the second Thursday and my computer said it was after midnight when I posted...but it came up at blogger two minutes short LOL.

Oooh, Tombstone is one of my faves could I leave that one out when discussing Sam? Blush. I can watch just thirty seconds of it and get my Western fix.

My hubby's all-time favorite is Silverado...Must be a guy thing.

Thanks for commenting!

Paty Jager said...

I have to laugh, because for a change I've seen the movies you're talking about. LOL Usually when someone talks about movies on a blog, I'm scratching my head because I haven't seen the movie and don't know the actors, but hey, talk about westerns and I can keep up.

While Celia isn't a Redford fan, I've never had a thing for John
Wayne. But the rest on your list- and yes, Lauri, Kurt Russell as a cowboy! I've had a crush on him since he started in Disney movies! LOL

Fun blog, Tanya!

Linda LaRoque said...

I have to say, though John Wayne was a great cowboy, he wasn't my favorite nor is Robert Redford. I'm with Celia, Robert Duval is good, but I'd have to add Tom Selleck and Tommy Lee Jones to the list.

Great post.

Kathy Otten said...

Sam Elliot is my all time favorite too. Kevin Costner is right up there as well, along with Tommy Lee Jones. Oh, and Tim Daly in The Outsider. I haven't seen it yet, but I heard Hugh Jackman looked pretty darn good in Australia. And if you ever want to trade husbands, let me know. Yours sounds wonderful.