Bad Cowboy; or Cowboy Fact #26

by cowboylands

Steamy urban heat waves makes me the anti-Cowboy. I get mean and petulant. Kind of like Jack Palance in Shane, but without the lethal grace. How did the real cowboys handle the smells, the dust, the boredom, the loneliness of the West? They couldn’t have just dismissed the heat with an airy “oh, but it’s a dry heat.” I Don’t CARE. I just want it to end, so I will think of myself in a cool theater, grooving along with some Westerns.

Here’s a wish-I-was-there, with Batboy42 and the Picksburg Kid:The thirteenth annual Bicknell International Film Festival* in the town of Bicknell, Utah, west of Capitol Reef Park has the theme “Wild, Wild Worst: Bad ‘B’ Westerns.” Worst? Bad? Westerns?? Hmmm. Sounds familiar.

Here’s their line-up:

The Outlaw, 1943, directed by Howard Hughes (with an uncredited assist by Howard Hawks)
The Master Gunfighter, 1975, written by and starring Tom Laughlin (“Billy Jack”)
The Terror of Tiny Town, 1938, famous for its all-dwarf cast riding Shetland ponies

All good bad movies, but they really should consider including Gone with the West, which, in my humble opinion, is not as much in the “so bad they’re good category” as in the “so bad they’re offensive category.” Things get truly western in that movie, although Jane Russell’s Grand Tetons are a sight to behold in The Outlaw.

Which leads me to Cowboy Fact #26:

26. Cowboys see the West in everything.

From The Outlaw, in which Pat and Doc rescue Rio (Russell), whom Billy has left bound, gagged and strung up by wrists within sight of a desert waterhole
Doc Holliday: You know, I think he’s in love with you. 
Rio: What are you talking about? 
Doc Holliday: The crazier a man is for a woman, the crazier he thinks and the crazier he acts. 
Rio: He’s only crazy about one thing – himself. 
Pat Garrett: Hey, that gives me a thought. Maybe we’ll get Mr. Billy after all. 
Rio: How? 
Pat Garrett: Like you said – if he’s crazy enought to do you like this, maybe he’s crazy enough to come back to turn you loose. 

*One nicely modern touch is the Bicknell festival kickoff, a “Ride Off Into the Sunset” parade, billed as the world’s fastest parade because the speed limit on the eight miles of road they are traversing is 55 mph. Welcome the the New West.



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