Monday, March 12, 2012

Looking for a Cowboy with a White Hat

I’ve been in the mood lately to read a sentimental, good hearted western.  You know, the kind where the hero wears a white hat, you can tell who the bad guys are, and you can get through the story believing that the lead didn’t pick up syphilis.  Not necessarily a simple story, but one where the moral compass of the hero guides him or her through difficult decisions and sees right and justice done at sundown.  You know, the kind of story the people think of when they make fun of westerns.

The problem is I can’t seem to find one.

The closest that I get are parodies of this kind of western: the modern Rawhide Kid comics, maybe the unsung film Rustler’s Rhapsody.  Fun, but I'm hoping for a novel, and the genuine article rather than a parody.  Whatever happened to that classic morality tale that makes up the stereotypical western?  Am I looking in the wrong place?  Advice, please, I could use some recommendations for a new book.


  1. I would think just about anything by Louis L’Amour would fit the bill. Hondo comes to mind or Utah Blaine. I enjoy his books, but to be honest they all kind of blend together after awhile.

    I visit here just about every day and you’ve provided me and my friends with some great new reading material. We’ve all gotten into Next Town Over and Zombie Ranch because I found out about them here.

    I’ve also started Shadow on the Sun based on your recommendation; it’s been excellent so far. I don’t know if you’ve read Journal of the Gun Years by Matheson, but it was excellent too. It does about as fine a job of ripping the romance off of the old west as McMurtry did in Streets of Laredo.

    Keep up the blog, I just discovered it about three weeks ago, and I enjoy it immensely.

  2. Good suggestions, thanks. I did read Journal of the Gun Years a long time ago. It's very similar to the Loren Estleman novel Gun Man, which you may also enjoy.

    I am shocked to find that there is someone out there that reads the blog so often. Frankly I am mystified at the kind of people that would follow this. It reminds me of a time years ago when I watched a video of the film Elizabeth with a friend. There was a preview on the video for the superhero sex farce Orgasmo. I said to my friend, "What kind of marketing is this? Who would watch both Elizabeth and Orgasmo?" She looked right at me, smiled, and said "You."

  3. I'll stick out my neck and recommend my own books, THE MAN FROM SHENANDOAH, RIDE TO RATON, and TRAIL OF STORMS, because they fit your parameters. I'm working on the fourth book, SPINSTER'S FOLLY. When I realized I had more than a trilogy in me, I began to call it THE OWEN FAMILY SAGA.

    You can find random excerpts from my works each Saturday at my blog, Writer in the Pines, or follow other aspects of the writing journey at The Characters in Marsha's Head.

    One can order the first three from Amazon in print or Kindle, from B&N in print or nook, from the other online vendors, or from my website if autographed copies are a necessity:

    (How nice that you posted this plea on my birthday.)

  4. I hear you. In my mind's eye, The Lone Ranger movie would've been exactly this. Almost a straight western superhero movie, with a goodhearted aw shucks Captain Marvel kinda Lone Ranger in a violent west who backs up his apparently naive world view by kicking total ass (who can shoot a gun out of a man's hand EVERY time? A guy with the ability to dominate a gunfight but the restraint not to kill, even when everybody around him is trying to kill him....awesome). But, it looks like they're going the Green Hornet route and the movie will be about Tonto (with Johnny Depp in redface??).

    As to books...yeesh I can't think of a single one either. Ever read any of Robert E. Howard's Bear Creek stories? You can get them in the A Gent From Bear Creek collection. But they're meant to be humorous.

  5. Nice to have you aboard! Merkabah Rider has been on my "give it a try" list for a while. If you haven't seen Rustler's Rhapsody yet, you should- it seems right up your alley. I love the Bear Creek stories. There is even a web comics version that I need to read through and write about here. You can find it at