What is the Corral about?

Well, simply, it is a place to round-up ideas, thoughts, comments and anything else you may like to hear about. My original intention was to have a forum but the time to manage such a gathering is really beyond me at this stage. But via email I can gather up your input and get it into the Corral.

So, would you like to make comment?

What is your favorite western story, either as a book or a movie?

Want to tell us why?

What are you currently reading, watching or listening to (regardless if it is a Western or not)?

What do you want to see in future Western stories (grit or romance, maybe both, gunplay or justice, grim reality or happy endings)?

Anything you would like to see in one of my stories?



March 2011

April 2011

May 2011




















What am I currently reading?

Appaloosa by Robert B. Parker.

What would I like to read?

The Lone Rider of Santa Fe by Buck Dexter. Very rare I believe!

OK, it’s time to confess that I’m a Johnny-come-lately fan of the late, great, moviemaker Budd Boetticher. Yeah, I know, the die-hard Western fans will be spitting out of the corner of their mouths and saying, ‘Not a Budd fan! Where have you been and what have you got to say for yourself, son?’ My answer? Well, none really. I have no defence and hang my head. I’m guilty as charged.

I will say though, and this is my own foolishness, it might have been that I had just kind of dismissed Randolph Scott, the lead actor in many of Boetticher’s films, as a little too good, too clean, too self-righteous, and in doing so I had inadvertently thrown the baby out with the bathwater, as they say. In hindsight of course, I was just plum loco, and while Randy may have always played Randy, he was the perfect foil for some of the best bad men to ever grace the silver screen.

Take the 1957 film The Tall T directed by Budd, it is a mini or B-movie masterpiece. First it has good bones as they say, with a script written by Burt Kennedy (who like Budd passed away in 2001) from a short story called The Captives by Elmore Leonard (who fortunately is still going strong). Randolph Scott plays the part of Pat Brennan, a cowboy who stumbles into trouble. The squeeze in this flick is Mia Farrow’s mum, Maureen O’Sullivan, the Irish actress who had over 25 years of screen credits by the time this Western was made. But one of the real stars was Richard Boone who plays a nasty bit of work called Frank Usher. He made this movie the same year that Have Gun – Will Travel debuted on the small screen, and I just love his work, which is gritty with that touch of menace. To me it is Frank who gives this move its gravitas.  

Budd had a way of getting some great actors to put on that black hat. Others included Lee Marvin in Seven Men from Now (1956), and Pernell Roberts in Ride Lonesome (1959, which is the same year that saw Bonanza go to air on NBC, with Pernell playing the part of Adam Cartwright, the older son of Ben). Also in Ride Lonesome are Lee Van Cleef, who already had High Noon to his credits and would go on to star in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966); and James Coburn in his movie debut. All of them are A-grade actors who weren’t afraid to take risks with their careers and play the bad guy.

Now, I’m not in the business of selling DVDs but I have to say that if these movies are new to you, then there is a treat out there – and it is a Budd Boetticher box set of five of his classic Western movies – The Tall T; Decision at Sundown; Buchanan Rides Alone; Ride Lonesome; and Comanche Station. All are re-presented in their original pristine colour that shows up the magnificent cinematography, especially that of Lucien Ballard who went on to work with Sam Peckinpah on The Wild Bunch (1969). Many of these movies feature the hauntingly stunning Sierra Nevada country of Lone Pine, California that is worth watching, just for its austere beauty alone. So maybe this is something to put on that birthday wish list, ahead of the usual socks and jocks.

And if you want a sneak-peak at Budd’s work, start with a ten-minute stop at YouTube to see the rough cut of the documentary ‘Straight Shooting: Budd Boetticher’s West’, written, narrated and edited by Matt Zoller Seitz (www.youtube.com/watch?v=R56irYnzXB4). For me it is an introduction of pure pleasure.

Budd, the man, was also a most interesting character. In college he was a star athlete, running second to the great sprinter Jesse Owens, and then went on to be a bullfighter and comrade of Ernest Hemingway. And, if you are like me and have discovered Budd Boetticher late in life, well don’t worry, because you sure are going to have some fun catching up with his legacy from the big screen.  And I’ll tell you one thing, none of us will ever forget the day Budd Boetticher rode into town. What a man, what a storyteller. There is much to like about a Boetticher Western – I sure know I do.



June 2011

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