Sunday, December 28, 2014

It's The Cisco Kid

I picked up an old VHS tape of Viking Classics 1986 that is Vol 1 of The Cisco Kid starring Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo. There were two episodes: The Quarter Horse and The Postmaster. I liked The Quarter Horse more than the Postmaster, but they were both worth watching just to refresh my memory of this duo. In the lat 1940's, Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo carried on the tradition, making five movies and there was a TV series that followed.

This tape is of the TV series in black and white and the Kid is wearing the flashy suit. In The Quarter Horse, a race is rigged to cheat a quarter horse rancher out of his holdings. There were actually two races between a thoroughbred and a quarter horse. The quarter horse won the first which was only a quarter-mile, and it won the second, too, but it was longer race wherein there were four quarter horses and one thoroughbred running a mile this time. Anyway there were shenanigans in both and The Cisco Kid and Pancho get mixed up in it and, of course, catch the bad guys.

In The Postmaster, Pancho urges Cisco not to go into town because every time he did, he got them into trouble, and this was no exception. The Sheriff throws Cisco in jail for suspicion of murdering the Postal Inspector who had come to town to investigate a band of outlaws who were stealing the mail. After escaping from jail, the duo solve the mystery of the unknown killer and the means of concealing his weapon.

More info can be found at Wikipedia on the whole story of The Cisco Kid and the movies.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

It's Christmas Day!

We wish everyone a Holly, Jolly Christmas and a Holly, Jolly and Safe day!!

We are having for breakfast/dinner Turkey, Ham, Tater Tot Casserole, Christmas Jello Salad, and lotsa Green Beans, Cinnamon Rolls, Rolls, Creamed Corn Casserole, Pie, Cookies, and Who Knows What Else. And we are all going to take a nap afterward.

Maybe by next week we'll be recovered.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Busy Boys

The last couple of days we've been overseeing our two great-grandsons, a fourth-grader and a fifth-grader, and they are busy bees, y'ask me. We picked them up from school on Thursday after sitting through a series of five plays put on by the fourth grade, which were really funny. The plays were a variation of fairy tales like the Three Little Pigs, Cinderella,  and the like. The fourth grader had a run-on spot with one word or sound that sounded like a grunt to me and he ran off the stage, part over. Anyway, we left school and went to the pizza place and ate pizza then home. Sitting around the house, the boys came up with an idea they would like to go see the pond down the street on the golf course, but we said no, the golf course was off limits. And my wife suggested I take them to see the Sun City Lake, which is fair-sized pool of water and there is fishing and rented boats and a waterfall, etc. Well, the fifth grader is into fishing. He is a born, diehard fisherman, but he didn't say anything about fishing while we took in the sights.

About eight o-clock that evening his Mom called and wanted to know if I would take him fishing on Friday "at that lake you guys went to."  Of course, I had to say I would, but I had to get a guest pass and make sure they were old enough to fish according to Sun City rules, and they were.  So she dropped them off after lunch and the boys loaded their fishing gear into my car and we took off for the lake. The sun was out and it was about 60 degrees Fahrenheit and the lads threw their lines into the water for a couple of hours and didn't even get a bite. The fourth grader is not as avid about fishing as the other one, but he has a pole and tags along with his older brother. Some old gent walked by and told the boys that the fish are all on the bottom because of the cold temperature and wouldn't be coming up until February or when the weather warms up. He told them to let the hooks sink way down and work it back slow. To which, the boys ignored after he left and reverted back to the way they were fishing before. The fifth grader told me, "I'm coming back in February and try it again," to which I said, "OK."

Later in the evening, The wife and I took them home and on the way, they got to talking about getting a tattoo. The younger one said he was going to get him one the minute he turned old enough because he liked the artistry of it. The other one piped up and said, "You can get it sooner. All you have to do is get your parent's 'consumption' and you can get a tattoo." We cracked up at that. We dropped them off and told 'em goodby, and we laughed all the way home. Boys are fun and keep you entertained.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Bad, Bad, Badman

That Badman in the subject line is none other than the outlaw in the novel, Outlaw, by Matthew Pizzolato. The Outlaw rode into town on his fine animal that he named Cinnamon after never having named him before and lays plans to pretend like a good guy before he robs the town's bank. But, shucks, there are a few obstacles in the way: (1) A safe that has a timer, (2) a pretty woman, (3) a young gunman or I should say, a wanna-be gunman, (4) that pretty female, (5) A wanted poster of which he is the subject. You get the idea that he may never hold up the bank because he may die before he gets to it or he may marry first or get arrested and thrown in the clink. But the sexy owner of the saloon has other ideas and so does the local Sheriff, who makes him his Deputy. Wesley Quaid, the outlaw's present name, is put in a quandary - shall I rob the bank or settle down on a ranch with this pretty gal with the big brown eyes?

But that damn Kid keeps getting in his way when he is not occupied with the keeper of the saloon or the Sheriff, and he gets into a shooting fight with the Kid and his pals and gets himself all stove up. And there is the gal in the gray hood, Sabrina, an old acquaintance of sorts, who sticks her nose into his affairs as he lays unconscious in the countryside. He must deal with all these before he can think of stealing the banks' money. And that pretty female (Colleen) is the niece of the Sheriff, himself, and lives with the Sheriff and his wife and also Works at the Bank. The story leaves the Outlaw and the reader wondering what is going to happen and this makes for a very entertaining account. Mister Pizzolato has come up with a winner here.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Book of the Navajo Code Talkers, WWII

I can't say enough good things about the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II and here is one of the books about them: It Had To Be Done - The Navajo Code Talkers Remember World War II.

This non-fiction book contains The Stories of a few of the Talkers in Their Own Words. Two of them were selling this book, Bill Toledo and Alfred Newman, and they also autographed it. The cover contains a picture of some of the Talkers with Navy landing craft in the background and there are pictures throughout the book.  Those still alive are in their late 80's and 90's. They talk about being recruited into the Marine Corps, their early lives, and their wartime adventures of island hopping in the Pacific as the U. S. invaded the Jap-held islands of Guam, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Peleliu, and others.

A number of the Talkers herded sheep and took care of the family's animals while growing up and didn't get to school often enough to finish and lacked a high school degree. They were taken into the service anyway, specifically to be Communications Specialists (Code Talkers) and had to memorize the complete Code, which no enemy ever broke. The Code is included in the book and you'll see it is quite extensive. Each of them were assigned a personal bodyguard who had to shoot them if they were captured, or they had to shoot themselves so as not to give up any info on the Code.

Their Words don't tell the complete story. There is very little talk about the bullets flying around and their courage and bravery, although it is mentioned a couple of times. And there were a helluva lot of bullets flying as is shown in the numbers below of the casualties on our side. The Japanese casualties in each case were triple or quadruple the Americans. The battles lasted around thirty days each, give or take a few days.

U. S. Casualties:

     Guadalcanal - 7,100 dead, 4 captured, 29 ships lost, 615 aircraft lost
     Bougainville - 727 dead
     Guam - 1,783 dead, 6,010 wounded
     Peleliu - 1,508 killed, 6,635 wounded, 36 missing. U. S. Marine casualties on Peleliu:
                   1,300 killed, 6,450 wounded, 36 missing. The others were U.S. Army.
(Source: Wikipedia)

And this doesn't include the islands of Iwo Jima, Saipan, Kwajalein, Tarawa, Wake, and the other battles. A Pima Indian, Ira Hayes, assisted in raising the American Flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.

We all owe these Navajo Code Talkers our respect and a big thanks for their service.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Blood and Gore and Killers Galore

I looked down at my hands on the keyboard and saw blood all over. I moved my eyes to my chest. More blood coming out of the bullet holes and leaking onto my shirt and trousers. I looked at my legs and saw blood coming from the holes in each one. What a bloody novel that reading it made me think I had blood all over and on the floor. I was even seeing red, too. It wasn't exactly like that, but Shotgun by C. Courtney Joyner was a bloody novel with the red juice and gore over practically every page and running through the snow.

This story is about Doctor John Bishop who sets out to avenge the death of his wife and kids who were killed in cold blood by a Major Beaudine and his partners in crime. Beaudine was looking for the gold that Bishop had buried somewhere or had knowledge of, and when Bishop wouldn't tell where it was, the gang killed the family and hacked off Bishop's right arm.and left him to bleed to death. And that's just the opening of the novel. It gets bloodier and gorier as the story progresses as Bishop catches up with one of the detestable bunch and while he is looking for the rest of them, the gang is looking for him now that he survived. John Bishop's arm is rigged with a double-barreled shotgun apparatus that he can operate without using his hands and he must use it a number of times in his quest for Beaudine. Bishop and his Cheyenne Indian girlfriend, White Fox, must kill or be killed as they continue looking for that contemptible Beaudine. White Fox becomes his right hand, putting on and taking off the shoulder apparatus that holds the shotgun and the bodies pile up.  And, what do you know? There is a blind soldier, a Captain Creed, who reads everything around him with his other senses and his young helper, Hector,and the gang that he talks into following him for the gold who are also after the Doc, and more blood is let and the bodies just keep piling up.

Whew, I said, when I finally put the book down for the last time in reading it and the novel ended with a bang, a big bang in the dark of night and the survivors, if any, went on with their lives, question mark.

If you like lots of action and blood and gore and everything that it comes with, you'll like this book. Mr. Joyner's Spur award nominated short story, The Two-Bit Kill is included at the end of the novel as a bonus. I enjoyed that story, too. Shotgun was published by Pinnacle Books, Kensington Publishing Corp.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dogs A-talkin'

I would like to give a shout-out to Duke Pennell and his site at for the many fine stories he has published. I was just reading the December issue and highly enjoyed the story by Callie Smith entitled Rogue.

The story was told from the dog's viewpoint, which I thought was very clever and creative. I didn't know what was going on at first, but that changed the minute the neighbor's dog, Bull, came onto the property and launched an attack on the the dog guarding the sheep. They talked to each other like a couple of boys with backs stiffened and fighting to see who was best man. The fight was interrupted by an actual young man coming to see what was causing the ruckus and chasing Bull back to his own house. Bull was the McKeon's dog and it had already been the cause of  trouble with the McKeon's once before, especially with Niall McKeon, the older son and Tom, the lad who broke up the latest tangle. And the question for Tom's family (him, his mother and young sister) was "Is Bull a rogue dog that would return and cause more trouble?"

Yes, Bull was a rogue dog, but was it a bad dog? Well, maybe and maybe not. You'll just have to read the story and find out. In any event, the story got my vote for this month's best tale. I didn't dislike the other stories, but thought this one was more outstanding in my mind.

I recommend paying Frontier Tales a visit and see if you agree with me and enjoy the entertaining short stories that are published each month. And don't forget to vote for the story you like.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Whiskey Glass Blues

Who wouldn't have the blues or the angers or both while staring into a glass of Maryland Rye and thinking about what the Hell just happened?

Cash Laramie was upset about the turn of events he had just gone through bringing in a horse rustler. Bringing in the thief didn't particularly have an effect on him until he heard what actually happened. And that makes a great story by Edward A. Grainger who adds a moral dilemma to Cash Laramie's life that can never be undone and has him staring into that glass of whiskey.

David Cranmer, writing as Edward A. Grainger, tells this story, Reflections in a Glass of Maryland Rye, in his Second Volume of The Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles along with other great stories. The story not only made Cash think, but made me ponder the dilemma with him minus the whiskey. Next time I'll guzzle on a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon as I entertain myself and get lost in the works of David Cranmer's action-filled and suspenseful writings.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

It Must Be Thanksgiving!

I just watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and saw floats, balloons, and etc., so it must be Thanksgiving Day.


I'm off to eat turkey and cranberries with the family about 10 miles away .

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Education of a Pulp Writer

I've had this book of short stories on my PC for quite a while waiting for time to read it. And now that I've read The Education of a Pulp Writer and other stories by Edward A. Grainger, I will say a few palabras about it.

The first story, Blubber, left me laughing like a crazy man and brings to mind the recent stories of overly obese people that were on the news being taken out of windows or gigantic holes in the wall.
And not to give the ending away, I'll just say that it, too, could've been on the morning news with some censoring of some aspects of it or maybe a movie short on HBO. It could happen.

The other stories were not as funny, but had their own elements of drama and suspense. The story of Cash Laramie, the only western in the volume, was mighty fine, too., as Cash must take an unusual outlaw prisoner from a Sheriff's Office in Vermillion to the Marshal in Cheyenne, a two-day ride. The outlaw, Kid Eddie, was the exact opposite of a crazed killer arsonist that the wanted posters said he was and I was wondering if they would complete the journey. Well, did they? Yes, no,or maybe. You'll have to read it for yourself.

Everybody, by now, knows or should know, that Edward A. Grainger is the pen name for David Cranmer, author of the Beat to a Pulp blog and editor of the magazine of the same name. And a fine writer and editor he is, too.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Excerpt from Trouble at Sagrado Ranch

A few words from Chapter 6 of Trouble at Sagrado Ranch:

     "Let's go watch the wrangler break a horse or two," (said Legrand).
      "Sure, before I get involved in this stuff," I said, getting up.
      We walked to the corral near the barn that had two horses inside, a beautiful black and a sorrel. Pa was in the corral with Lute Kempus, who had just tethered the sorrel to a post in the corner and was getting ready to throw a rope on the black so he could put a saddle on him.
     "Getting ready to tackle Black Velvet, is he?" LeGrand said to Pa.  
     "For the second time, yup. He got throwed off the first time."
     LeGrand yelled to Lute, "Want me to hold that rope while you throw on the saddle?"
     "Nah, not this time," said Lute.
     The slim, bronzed wrangler was confident in what he was doing and had no trouble putting on the bridle and saddle gear.  The black gelding stood quietly, keeping his eyes on the wrangler, wo climbed jauntily into the saddle, holding the reins and getting settled. He no sooner got situated than Black Velvet lifted his front legs and dropped them back to the ground. He raised his back legs with a sudden jolt to the rider, trying to throw him off.
     Lute was expecting that and as soon as the back legs hit the ground, the horse took off in a run around the corral, stopping abruptly and sliding to a stop. Velvet started bucking and rolling with Kempus holding the reins and the saddle horn with his right hand and trowing his left in the air on each jump. The horse stopped, puffing hard, twisting his head and without any particular notice to the rider made a kick and put his front and hind legs touching in a wild buck. Lute went flying over the fence, landing on his head and shoulders, the momentum carrying him in a somersault and coming to rest in a sitting position in the dirt, unhurt, his hat askew, but still on his head. Kempus sat there, his arms resting on his bent knees, taking a few deep breaths, and staring at the hills in the distance.
     "Is that a new way to practice cartwheels, Lute?" said Pa, laughing. "Yer goin' to need some of that mustang liniment tonight for those shoulders and leg joints."
     Lute was sitting on his behind looking out over the horizon. "I'll be fine, Mister Hawkins. I was just admirin' the view of the hills, is all," said Lute, still panting. "I think that horse was trying to kill me, though."

Get your copy from at a reasonable price on Kindle or paperback and enjoy.   

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Not a Western

By golly! The short story anthology of Nikki Mcdonagh entitled Glimmer is certainly not a Western. There are no cowboys or Indians anywhere in sight or even a pile of prickly pear. But the stories prick at my inner conscience like ghostly wind over the desert. Ms. McDonagh has created a world that is like an out-of-body experience almost. At least the stories took me out of my confined world and took me into science fiction, a little horror, drama, and wonder. She has a fine imagination and writes with a certain savoir faire style that takes you on a mental journey into another world, a world of creativity that sucks you right into a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts. There is the world of the Lost Girl and the world of Art, and an imaginative tale of a book and its owner, flotsam, and what I imagined as an alien in the opening story.for which the book title is named after. And there is the sick woman returning home with a fatal tumor. Intriguing, interesting, and creative.

I'm a Western sort of guy and don't get into other genres very much, but I certainly enjoyed reading Glimmer as great entertainment. It was 133 pages of fine writing and inventive imagery nicely done. I will give it at least four out of five stars and recommend it to fans of science fiction and horror and anyone else who likes a good read.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Speed Records on Horseback

According to Wikipedia, Buffalo Bill while working for the Pony Express covered 322 miles in 21 hours, forty minutes using 21 horses, (which is just over 15 miles an hour). His relief rider had been killed and he made the round trip between Red Buttes Station and Rocky Ridge Station. Quite a feat!

Over the past two or three years, I dip into an Anthology by J. Frank Dobie called I'll Tell You a Tale, ever so often when time permits. In this anthology Mr. Dobie wrote a tale of one Francois Xavier Aubry entitled Little Aubry's Ride. This Aubry feller was a little guy, weighing not much more than he could eat in a day or two, say a hundred pounds give or take a little. Well, this Mister Aubry was a tough little nut who traveled between Independence, Missouri, and Santa Fe New Mexico, delivering freight. He bet a thousand dollars that he could make the ride in six days. It was over 800 miles that he had to ride. The total time it took him was five days and 16 hours, actual riding time he figured was four and a half days. They said his saddle was bloody when he he got off the horse at the end of the ride.

Now, that's some ridin'!

Well, there is much more to learn about both of these horsemen at and also the famous writer J Frank Dobie and his writings. Interesting men, interesting books.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

OK, Let's See Some Stats

All right. It seems that blog viewers have been visiting my blog to see what is going on over the last couple of months or longer in droves as expressed by the stats:

Pageviews today:                       1,528

Pageviews yesterday:                 1,908

Pageviews last month:               56,416

This is a considerable increase from the days of yore when it took forever to reach 5.000.

I think the increase is due to my joining more sites like Twitter, where I tweet maybe once or twice a month or joining a couple of on-line clubs. I'm also on Pinterest, but it has a low following so far. The biggest thing, I think, is the RSS feed, Feedspot.

In any event, I hope the people viewing the blog find something of interest to keep them coming back.  Thanks!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Bob Boze Bell Event

After a delay, Bob Boze Bell was the main attraction at the luncheon put on by the Lion's Club of Sun City on Saturday, November 1, 2014. It was the annual "Legends of the West" event. For those who may not have heard of Mr. Bell, he and others bought the nationwide magazine True West in 1999 and he is a true Legend of the West. Artist, Illustrator, Author, Publisher, Editor, Mr. Bell has written and illustrated ground-breaking books on Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid and Doc Holliday and his series on Western gunfights, Classic Gunfights. His artistic works include gouache, scratchboard, oil and watercolor of cowboys, Indians, Figures, and horses of the West. His artwork has appeared in Playboy, Wild West, National Lampoon, Arizona Highways and others. He is featured on Encore's Western Channel daily and has appeared on the History Channel, Discovery Channel and the Westerns Channel. Mr. Bell has illustrated for Disney's production of A.K.A. Billy the Kid, and War in Lincoln County by Northport pictures, Discovery Channel's Outlaws and Lawmen, and the PBS production entitled Alias Billy the Kid.

He entertained the audience for about 15-20 minutes after lunch, talking about growing up in Kingman, Arizona, and facts and non-facts of certain biographies of Western legends like Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid. His interest in western history goes back to his younger days of buying True West at the local drugstore and reading and collecting stories of the major outlaws and lawmen of the Old West. He talked about buying the magazine and the early troubles he and his partners had with it, losing thousands of dollars a month until he found someone who actually knew about publishing a national magazine and turning it around to a profit-making deal.

The audience gave him a big hand and a couple of questions were asked before he put out a few books he had brought to sell. They sold quickly and he was out of there before we knew it. He must have been pressed for time.

The bio above came from the program, the cover of which is below.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Mary Hallock Foote, Author, Artist, Illustrator

HAPPY HALLOWEEN just like the Header says, and since it is Halloween, I decided to use my sketch of Mary Hallock Foote's headstone.

Mary Hallock Foote married Arthur deWint Foote in 1876 and followed him around the country on his engineering jobs, e.g., Leadville, CO; Deadwood, SD, and Boise, ID, and finally settling in Grass Valley, CA. She wrote her reminiscences in A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West and other books like Led-Horse Claim: A Romance of a Mining Camp, The Prodigal, Couer d'Alene and many short stories, including one about ghosts (see Ron Scheer's blog post of 10-30-14 at his blog Buddies in the Saddle). In addition to her writing, she was an accomplished Artist and Illustrator. There is an example of her work for sale at, an illustration containing a man and a woman, cost only $75. The Boise Public Library has some of her stuff in their collection and there is the Foote house in Boise.

Mrs. Foote was born in 1848 in New York and died in 1938.

Wikipedia's article on Mrs. Foote has more detail on her life and times and includes a bibliography of her works.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Another First

Friends, Romans, etc., I've been reading a Western-like story set in Ancient Greece. In it something comes up missing, someone threatens to kill, someone falls in love??, and someone greases a goat. It's all about a missing piece of the puzzle that a young man needs to cure himself of a boil on the bum. The youngster with the boil is Tutor Timo and he can't remember the missing item to make his Auntie Aspic's Brilliant Boil Balsam.

It is all contained in a children's book by Ali Aardwolff (pen name of Georgina Titmus), Nugget's Bum Deal. Tutor Timo is going to kill Nugget the Chicken, pet of Colin Plato, who was asked by Timo to talk to his dead Auntie Aspic and find out the last ingredient of the elixir needed for the Boil Balsam. Colin must find the one scroll of Wiseman Hermit Tottle that told how to talk to dead people. But Timo can't wait and wants to use the only other tried and true method to cure a boil - sacrifice a chicken. And so he goes after Nugget with his pop's battle axe.

Colin finds the proper scroll on contacting a person who has died and gets his girlfriend (Iris Tottle) and his young brother (Gifted Doug) to participate in a seance of sorts. It is at Grandfather Yannis' where Colin finds Iris while the Grandpa greases the goat named Frittata.

I will not spoil the ending by discussing it here in case of ruining the story for someone else. I will say that I enjoyed reading this book for children and will recommend it to my great-grandsons. It was funny, inventive, ridiculous, and entertaining, a fine story for the young and young at heart.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Spirits of the Old West, Vol 2, by Kathryn Kaye

This book focuses on ghostly sightings and other unworldly happenings in the West's most famous town - Tombstone, AZ, and has short bios of some of the main characters - The Earp Brothers, Doc Halliday, Ed Schifflein. Most of you have read enough about Tombstone, the Earps, and Doc Halliday, but I found the book interesting having visited Tombstone several times and seen the old buildings and corral mentioned in the book.The author, Kathryn Kaye, did some research to back up what she writes about and includes the references at the end so you can look them up and read them for yourself, if so incliined.

I recommend it for readers who are not familiar with the subject matter and give it four stars. There are some misspelled words and the context at times is not exactly correct, but it was a fun book.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Overlooked Events

I missed posting a couple of events in the last blog, so have included them here:

Oct 18 - Western Auction at the Old Trading Post in Casa Grande sponsored by Jim and Bobbi Jean  Olson. Well, what do you know? This one is over. Sorry I didn't get this one up there.They always have tons of Western stuff on the block. Only wish I could afford it, I'd like to have a .44 Colt to put by my bedside. Maybe I can attend next month's auction just for kicks.

Oct 25: Legend of the West with Bob Boze Bell, editor of True West Mag and lives right near here in Cave Creek. Great artist and illustrator and author of Western books. I am looking forward to this one at the First Presbyterian Church here in Sun City, AZ. That's next Saturday coming up fast.

And, and, and it's time to choose a health plan for next year. You have until December 7, or 15th, or 31st depending on your particular situation. I don't know about you, but there's a big change in the air for us as the company is no longer going to do it like they always have. You have to go look for it, instead of them providing it. I think it's in some way related to the passage of the Affordable Care Act which no one in Congress read before they passed it. I have no intention of reading it either. If Mark Twain and Will Rogers were alive they could have a great time with this one.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Coming Events in Arizona

Here are some exciting events to attend in November:

Nov 1-2: 12th Annual Javelina Jundred 100 Mile Trail Run and Jalloween Party, Fountain Hills. Takes place at the McDowell Mountain Regional Park on the 15.4 mile Pemberton Trail. Aid stations every 5 miles.

Nov 1-2: 6th Annual FearCon Film Festival, Phoenix - FearFarm.  Showcasing the best horror cinema from around the world, presented byTrash City Entertainment. $10.50, none-midnight.

Nov 3-7: 3rd Annual John Wayne's Monument Valley Ride, Monument Valley. Four-day horseback ride in the heart of the Navajo Tribal Park. Includes horses, tack, wranglers, Navajo guide/historian, meals, "Period clothing" recommended, reservations needed.

Nov 7-9: 5th Annual Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-Off, Chandler - Tumbleweed Park. Demonstrates 1880s Old West lifestyle. Teams from across the Western U.S., old fashioned culinary competition.

Nov 7-9: American Cup Championship Arabian Horse Show at Westworld of Scottsdale. A grat horse competition, uh-huh.

Nov 11: Veterans Day. Various celebrations around the State. Get out and salute the vets.

Thanks to Sun Life Magazine.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Trouble at Gunsight by Louis Trimble

Trouble at Gunsight, copyright 1964, is the other half of the Ace Double with Trail Drive.

Louis Trimble, author of many westerns, created a tense plot in this one. Set around the area of Reno, Nevada, at a place called Gunsight, his main character, Cole Pender,  received an offer to buy half of the Tepee Ranch and sets out with a herd of prime graded beef with his two ranch hands, Julio and Nito, a father and son pair of cowboys who would do anything for Pender. It is the area where Cole grew up and he is looking forward to returning to Gunsight Valley and the Tepee. He makes a quick trip to Reno and receives an anonymous note to stay away from the Valley and never return. Of course, he continues on and is ambushed twice as he nears the valley and runs into his childhood acquaintance, Chad Leeman, who warns him to stay away. He and Chad had a knockout fight that Cole remembered and never considered Chad a friend after that. Throw in a newcomer to Gunsight, Raul Horneman, and a couple of gunfighters, Riddell and Parker, and the plot thickens. Add his old girlfriend, Myra Callahan, and her brother, Allie, who has never grown up but is now a deputy sheriff under Sheriff Mullan and it gets thicker and thicker leaving many questions unanswered, like who was behind the ambushes? Who is this feller Horneman, who seems to be a friend of Myra's?

The story continues on and Cole is almost killed in the various melees that take place as he falls in love with Myra, and it races to an end with Cole's questions being answered on the mountainside above the valley in a gun battle to the end.

Don't remember reading other books by Mr.Trimble, but found this one to be just fine and entertaining. Recommended, a four-star novel in my internal grading system.

Friday, October 10, 2014

More Reading

Recently acquired a couple of novels to be added to the TBR file:

1. Dusty Richards' Ambush Valley, A "ride into an unforgettable tale of valiant courage and bloody conflict" it says on the back cover of the Pinnacle paperback. If it's as good as his Texas Blood Feud,
it'll be mighty fine reading.

2. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. This will be the first book by McCarthy that I will be reading and it sounds like a good one. Some of the bloggers have mentioned it as being one of the best, albeit bloodiest, novels that they've read. If it lives up to its billing: "seems to me clearly the major esthetic achievement of any living American writer" so says Harold Bloom of The New York Observer. Heavy praise, indeed, and I will see if it lives up to it in my estimation.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

What Am I Working On?

I was working on a short story, but so many avenues popped up that now it's a long story. It's shaping up to be my ninth novel and I have a title in mind, but it will probably change. What happened was, I began writing this as a follow on to "Welcome to Dry Creek, Reverend" and it seems to have taken on a life of its own. A short story just wouldn't fit with all the things happening to the characters.

Bobby Chase-the-Lord, the Cayuse Indian who was found by Reverend Sweeney and taken into their household, has decided to leave town with a new character called Kid Ferry. Bobby plans to start his own church and make money like the Reverend, but the Kid has other plans for him. The Kid escaped from an orphanage when he was nine years old and has been taking care of himself ever since by learning tricks of the trade, e.g., thieving, lying, cheating at cards, even working in the mines, and he fully intends to pass on what he has learned to Bobby as they take the next stage out of Dry Creek.

They start out in Great Salt Lake and will carry on from their as the story develops. I hope to create something that will have plenty of action, humor, and drama and some suspense as these two "cowboys" live their own style of life. Now, all I have to do is "git" it down on paper, that's all.   

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Willa Cather, Author

Above is my sketch of Willa Cather, early American author, from a public domain photo. Born in 1873 and passing on in April 1947, she graduated from the University of Nebraska and wrote of life on the Plains in some of her novels. I don't know about you, but in high school she was one of the writers we "just had to know about," and O Pioneers! was the main one we were taught about.  But Ms Cather was known for more than just that novel, having written ten or twelve novels, one of which she received the Pulitzer Prize, One of Ours,  set in World War I.We also had to know about My Antonia. She also wrote poetry, short stories and essays which have been published in collections.
She took criticism seriously and maybe even became a little gun shy from it and refused to let her letters be published.

Will Cather has a lasting Monument to her life of writing in Willa Cather Memorial Prairie in Webster County, Nebraska. See the Wikipedia website on Ms.Cather for a picture of this and quite a detailed biography of her life and writings from which this info came.  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Trail Drive by Brian Garfield

Trail Drive is part of an Ace Double, the other being Trouble at Gunsight by Louis Trimble, a paperback printed in the 1960's.

Dan Sweet was asked by Ben Gaultt to take a herd of 4,000 cattle to the railroad and he showed up to do just that.  Sweet is a tough, determined, strong-minded cattleman and he said he was the one in charge of the drive and if anyone objected, they could head for the boonies right now. Of course, some of the boys didn't like his overbearing attitude and he would have to iron out the wrinkles to ensure he had total control. And there was the trouble between Ben Gaultt and a man named Nate Ringabaugh, exactly what the trouble was between them Sweet didn't know. Then there were the Apaches that Sweet figured he would have to fight off to protect the cattle, and what about the crooked men that sold whiskey to them?  And what about Harriet Gaultt, who was in love with Ringabaugh? Sweet thought he just might fall for her himself and what was her brother, Russ Gaultt up to, taking off every night?

He had a lot of ironing to do to get things straightened out and the herd to the railroad, including interference by Emmett, young Pete Santell and Owen Mingo, but Hank Flood was on his side and would fight to help him out. All the characters are well drawn and fill out the script nicely. They run into the Apaches as they enter the final drive up the mountain to the railroad and snow begins to fall. If it doesn't stop the cattle will never get through the pass.  

Everything should come out fine in the end, but getting there is not only half the battle, it's all the battle as Sweet struggles to control the men, the cattle, and the Apaches. Oh, yes, and Harriet, too.

A fine novel from Edgar Award winner, Brian Garfield, who has written more than 70 books..

Thursday, September 25, 2014

E-Book, Prisoner of Gun Hill

This is the first book that I have read by Paul Lederer (writing as Owen G.Irons), Prisoner of Gun Hill, and I can't say that it will be my last. This story starts off with a man, Luke Walsh, running away across the desert from Tucson to put some distance between him and the law. He reaches the point where his horse finally dies from the heat and lack of water and Luke is about on his last legs, too. He collapses and is lying on the desert floor thinking about dying when he feels someone trying to pick him up and offer some water. He is loaded into a wagon and wakes up at the place called Gun Hill. How did he get here, he thinks, and remembers why he left Tucson. He had shot a man at the request of his old female friend, Dee Dee Carlson, a local girl who works in a bordello.. The man he killed was supposed to be the outlaw named Virgil Sly, mean and tough, who Dee Dee was trying to get free of she said, but it was Marshal Stoddard that was shot.

He finds himself in a tough predicament, being a prisoner of  Boston Sears, Frank Rafferty, Billy Rafferty, Susan Rafferty, and an older woman who we later find out is Boston Sears' mother. Boston turns out to be a member of the Red Butte outfit, Virgil Sly's gang of thieves. They took his revolver and rifle and he doesn't know where they are. All he has to do is get away, but how? They put him to work with Billy from sunup to sunset digging a shaft. It grows uglier as two more outlaws show up and Virgil Sly and Dee Dee appear. A young man called Tick Tock is brought in by wagon having lost his mule on his way to Crater. There are rumors of other men dying or being killed while working in the mine, which was originally the property of Frank Rafferty and Chris Gunn. Gunn ends up dead and leaves a map for his pardner, Frank, to dig another shaft and find the gold vein which had run out.

Luke is falling for the young blonde girl Susan to add to the mess he's in and she returns the favor, he thinks, but Dee Dee has messed that up. Will he make an escape and get away clean or will he join with Billy and Tick Tock and get away and end up with Susan in his arms? And what happens to Dee Dee who owes Luke for setting up the wrong man for death? Which gal will he choose if he gets a chance?

This is what kept me glued to the page, to find out if Luke gets away and how he manages to do it with all the odds against him. A fine story, not too long, but tightly written and keeps the suspense going to the end. I would recommend Prisoner of Gun Hill to anyone who reads Westerns..

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Missionaries to the Pawnees

In 1834, the two Presbyterian missionaries, Samuel Allis and John Dunbar showed up at Bellevue, Nebraska, to aid the Pawnee people as best they could and also assist the Government in handing out aid to the Indians. In The Pawnee People, there is much praise for these two missionaries for their actions with the Pawnees, helping them at every turn, it seemed, during the hard years of resettlement on the Loup River.

But Mister Dunbar, according to the reports of the Indian Agent, got in trouble with the Government for selling alcohol to the Indians and was banished from the reservation for a while, a fact not mentioned in the Pawnee book. And I can understand why with all the assistance Mister Dunbar gave to them. Both missionaries were not happy with the Agents assigned by the Government, either, since the Agents were not fulfilling the promises to the Pawnee. It doesn't seem too likely to me that a missionary would be furnishing alcohol, but in any event Mister Dunbar was banned from the res for some reason and maybe the Agent just used that excuse to do it. There was considerable confusion and disruption at this time among the Pawnees, who were suffering from hunger and small pox and the argument of the Government against the annual hunts. And most of the employees of the Government were fired at this time, too.

I have on my shelf a book entitled Presbyterian Missionary Attitudes toward American Indians, 1837-1893 by Michael C. Coleman and it doesn't mention Allis or Dunbar or even the Pawnees in it at all. It concentrated mostly on the Choctaws of Oklahoma and the Nez Perces of Idaho and Oregon. I guess the Board of Foreign Missions of the church didn't think the Pawnees were important enough to be included or maybe they had other reasons.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Pawnee People by Carl N. Tyson

This book, The Pawnee People, covers the history of the four different groups that make up the Pawnee Tribe starting with the earliest times and taking you right u to the modern day. It is one of the Indian Tribal Series published here in Phoenix with a 1976 Copyright. This volume is autographed by the Tribal Chief Thomas Chapman, Jr., "Big Eagle."

I procured the book in order to see what the Pawnee said about the early 1800's, about 1835-47, to be exact and learn about their history during that time period. I have read the reports of the Indian Agents during this time because my great-great-grandfather, James Case, and his two sons lived with the Pawnee and Oto as the Indian Agency's farmer on the Loup River and further north with the Otoes during that time-frame.

The Pawnees (Pani) were already a fairly peaceful, agricultural people, settled in Nebraska and Kansas (three branches in Kansas and one in Nebraska (the Skidi). But as time passed the Government and the four branches agreed to move the tribe to the reservation on the Loup. This reservation wasn't set aside until 1857; however, it was called a reservation by the Indian Agent earlier while my great-grandfather was the Agency farmer. According to The Pawnee People, a tract of land 15 miles wide and thirty miles long was designated the Reservation in 1857.

According to the reports I read on microfilm, the period 1835-47 was fairly peaceful with a couple of attacks by the Pawnee on other tribes and one large upset on the reservation where the Pawnee "revolted" against the Government's ruling over the Pawnees and the Indians ruined their crops and danced around the farmer's house with torches and a lot of yelling and screaming. No one was killed in this uprising, but it had the effect of ending the cooperation of the Indian Agency for a while.

The Pawnee People indicates about the same, except that the Pawnee at first didn't like the Loup setting because of raids by the Dakota Sioux, but they came around and finally settled there. But they would not give up their hunts in the summer and making raids on other tribes. They had a hard time settling down to an agricultural life. And the new Indian Agent was no help, rather, he was not liked by the Indians and got into a struggle with the Chief and he and his son were killed. In 1846, the Pawnee had gone on their summer hunt and the Oto burned their village. In June, the Dakota raided the mission (John Dunbar, the Presbyterian missionary) and drove off all the horses. (Note: I think this is the incident the Agent was talking about above.) And the bad times continued until the Mormons came along and gave the Indians supplies in 1847. And my great-grandfather joined up with Brigham Young and came on to Utah with him.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

And Then There Are Horses

One of the favorite sports for a discerning few is watching horses swim. Not unusual in itself, but when they swim across a channel, they become a tourist attraction. The Aug/Sep edition of Country magazine published an article by Pat and Chuck Blackley with pictures covering the annual swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague, Virginia, on the last Wednesday in July. There are a couple of theories about how the horses ended up on Assateague Island, but they have been there since the 1700's or earlier according to the article. In 1925 they started the channel swim which before that they were hauled over in boats. I had heard about this when I was on a ship out of Norfolk, Virginia, but never thought about making a sojourn to watch horses swim. They didn't have the Kiptopeake Bridge then either which takes you right to the tail end of the peninsula and you can drive right up to the eastern shore of Maryland. Chincoteague is just below the Maryland border.

Anyway, the purpose of the swim is to auction off the foals and others to keep the herd to about 150, a manageable amount for the island. The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company manages the herd and auctions off the horses to make money to keep it going. The swim lasts about thirty minutes and is accomplished between the changing of the tides when there is no current, the article says. A couple days later the remaining horses are herded back into the water for the return to Assateague.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Upcoming Arizona Events

It's turning Fall-ish again and time to get out and celebrate Life:

Sep 11-14: Mohave County Fair in Kingman, the Andy Burnett town.

Sep 13-Jan 20: 2015 Grand Canyon Celebration of Art, at the Grand Canyon, of course.

Sep 20-21: My-Oh-My Apple Pie Weekend and Country Craft Fair in Willcox. The best apple pies            you'll ever taste!

Oct 2-5 63rd Annual Rex Allen Days also in Willcox. Rodeo, parade., and concerts.

Oct 10-12: Tucson Meet Yourself in Tucson. Artisans, home cookers, dancers, and musicians from   
           Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico.       .

Oct 18-19: Arizona Taco Festival in Scottsdale. Fill up on creative tacos from various restaurants.

Oct 31: Route 66 Cruizers Halloween Bash in Kingman. Trick or treat in historic downtown                            Kingman.

(Reference and thanks to AAA Magazine, Highroads.)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

John Wesley Powell

The header sketch is my rendition of John Wesley Powell, the explorer of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. Born March 24, 1834, died September 23, 1902.

He was the one-armed cliff-climber who clambered up and down the cliffs along the Green and Colorado Rivers while making the first exploration of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon in 1869.

 In 1861 he enlisted in the Union Army at age 27 and fought in several battles, losing his arm in the battle of Shiloh, and later he was in the battles of Champion Hill, Big Black River Bridge, and the siege of Vicksburg. He was elected to Sergeant-Major of the regiment after joining the 20th Illinois and was soon promoted to lieutenant and earned his way up the ladder to brevet lieutenant-colonel, but was always called "Major".

In May, 1869, he left Green River, Wyoming, and traveled to the conjunction of the Colorado and on down through the Grand Canyon. One man quit the expedition early and three more later on in the trip. These three were killed by the Indians in a case of mistaken identity it is believed. Of the travels through the Utah portion, he said: ..."wonderful features-- carved walls, royal arches, glens, alcove gulches, mounds and monuments. From which of these features shall we select a name? We decided to call it Glen Canyon."

After this, he was appointed second director of the U. S. Geographical survey and he was also the director of the Bureau of Ethnology of the Smithsonian until his death.

Reference: Wikipedia and Wikipedia Commons. An interesting man and an interesting write-up.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Part II of Californy

So we climbed aboard the ferry at 6 PM and headed back to Long Beach and the Queen Mary, arriving there a little after seven. The tour members were now on their own until 11 AM Sunday. We took a break in the room and proceeded to the Chowder House on the Promenade Deck where we ate another sumptuous meal although the Wife was disappointed in her shrimp scampi. She said it should have been called shrimp scamper due to lack of shrimp. My dinner was fine.

We slept late Sunday Morn, getting up about 6:30 and headed for the free buffet breakfast again. (Included in the tour fee.) Some of the group took the self-guided tour of the ship, but we looked into a couple of shops and bought inexpensive souvenirs for the family and killed time until it was time to board the bus again. Instead of heading home we were transported to the inland waterways of Naples which actually make up a channel to the ocean and are small channels around the small islands. Included in out tour was a gondola ride through these waterways with expensive houses and boats lining the banks. The gondolas were rowed by two young men each and one on our gondola was from Italy. He serenaded us and related some of the transactions of the housing market as he rowed along. They were in the millions of dollars per house, even the small ones ran around three million simoleons. This little side trip took about two hours with the loading and unloading and we headed for an In-n-Out Burger place in the area and ate lunch or took lunch with us on the bus. The gondolas were fun and everyone seemed to enjoy the ride.

Heading out of town and home, we ran into the first pinch on the road. I-10 was shut down due to a fatal accident near Quartzite and the traffic was backed up to just west of Blythe, miles, in other words. The highway was re-opened about 6:30 or 7 and we were delayed about three hours, inching along the freeway. The bus made a stop at Chiriaco Summit before we ran into this mess, thank the Lord. We finally made it into Buckeye where the second pinch arose. All this traffic had to squeeze into one lane due to construction in the area and we arrived at the stop in Buckeye about 10 or 10:30 PM. Oh, yes, we didn't get to stop at the Naked Man Bookstore in Quartzite.

Other than that, a fine time was had by all, and we reached home about midnight, which was way beyond our bedtime.

Now that we're rested, we're ready for another tour.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Out of Town Further West

The Wife and I took a bus tour over the weekend to Californy, Long Beach to be exact, for two nights on the Queen Mary. The trip there was uneventful and if it wasn't for the tour guide, boring. David, the guide, kept us entertained with questions and historical facts about the desert and mountains along I-10. I would guess the average age of the old people on the bus was somewhere in the 70's, and they were a pretty lively old bunch.

Prior to checking into the Queen Mary, there was a stop to visit the Long Beach Aquarium and stretch our laigs, and ankles, and hips. We got rid of some of the kinks and wandered around looking at the sea life - amazing, it was. We went on to the Queen and found our rooms, which weren't bad for a ship, lotsa wood and old equipment all over and you still had your choice of water, salt or fresh, in the shower. The salt water was shut off, of course, which was a good thing in my mind. I hadn't found anything therapeutic in the salt water showers on the Navy ships and couldn't believe they used to advertise salt water as being healthy and great for the skin and body. We hit the sack after partaking of a sumptuous meal in the Promenade Cafe. I didn't know that a hamburger could cost $15, but there it was and the other menu items equally as pricey. The guide had already told us that the Sir Winston was fairly exclusive, requiring dressing up, which was out of the question with the clothes we brought. We also received a brochure about the ship with a diagram of the layout in case you should get dis-oriented, and there would be free time to explore the ship on Sunday morning.

Saturday came too soon, and the party headed for Catalina Island for the day on the Catalina Express, which made the 26 miles in about an hour and arrived there about 9 AM. Tour-wise the only things scheduled were a trip on a glass-bottom boat at 11and a bus tour of the city of Avalon and part of the island at 2 PM. I enjoyed both, never seen so many damned fish up close or so much damned kelp, either. The two-man crew was very helpful and caring, helping us old-timers on and off. The Captain was almost an old friend. He said his father had a tattoo like mine and served on the aircraft carrier ESSEX during the Korean War, so we were practically family, except I was never on a carrier, let alone the ESSEX. Anyway, as sea stories go, he was pretty good at it.

The bus tour, after a nice, slow lunch of a garden salad with chicken for me and shrimp salad for the better half, was even more interesting. Hell, I never had an inkling there had been cowboys on Catalina and there wasn't, as far as I had been told. But, by golly, there was the Zane Grey Hotel on the hillside. The Great Western Writer, Zane Grey, had been there to film The Vanishing American and had brought along fourteen buffaloes to use in the film. And the story goes after the filming was over, only seven were shipped back to the mainland. They couldn't find the others and pretty soon they had to do something to get rid of some of them. It seems that Catalina was just fine for over-producing buffaloes. Some of you already knew this, didn't ya? So, Mr.Grey liked it so much  that he built this big house on the hillside which was later turned into a hotel. But the folks who stayed there had to be careful since there wasn't any room numbers (and still that way). The rooms are named after his book titles.

Out of town on the bus was a few tight curves and narrow roads and the Catalina Island Fox, which we heard plenty about since it was near extinction before the Conservationists took it under control and began producing more. Two Harbors on the other side of the isle is where all the action takes place, the Yacht Club being there. You have to be a member to get in there, though. Back to town, we went by Marilyn Monroe's house where she grew up, a small place stuck in between larger houses.

As far as books and bookstores, we didn't see anything but the library.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hybrid Author

Your attention is respectfully directed to the Terry Burns Post at From the Heart blog in the column on the right. Terry defines and discusses the "Hybrid" author. I gather from it that authors who go the traditional route and self-publishing, and write articles for various magazines and papers, would fit the description. I recommend you read the article and decide for yourself. Who knows? Maybe you are one!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Note About the Memoirs of John R. Young, Mormon Pioneer

I found the journal of John R. Young to be interesting in that he as a young boy writes about the Mormons being blasted out of their hometown of Nauvoo, Illinois, by the people who thought the Mormons were evil and demonic for building a beautiful little town out of nothing near the Mississippi River. And some of the people also believed the Mormons were devils and had horns on their heads. They killed their leader, Joseph Smith, in cold blood as he rested in a jail where the people of Illinois had put him for daring to start a new religion that didn't agree exactly with the way the people thought it should.

Anyway, Mr. Young relates the trials and tribulations from his perspective as the Mormons travel West in 1846-47. After finally reaching the area of the Great Salt Lake, they begin to build houses and another town, and Brigham Young, John R.'s uncle, sends his adherents on missions to other places in Utah to help settle the Territory and bring more people into the fold. John R. Young, at the tender age of sixteen, is called upon to go on a mission to the Sandwich Islands.  Under the guidance of the mission President, he and others are sent to the various islands to preach and proselytize. He doesn't know a single word of the Kanaka language, but within two weeks of landing on Maui, he has practically mastered it just from conversing with the natives. He describes in detail the times he spent preaching and talking to the people in Hawaii and the troubles he had from certain individuals. He returns to Utah, happy in his soul that he did everything within his power to enlarge the church.

He goes on to tell abut his marriages and his mission to England and Wales, the people he met there and the money he earned working to send a number of converts to Utah and his return. His problems with polygamy later on are described in detail, the narrow escapes, and his sojourn in Mexico. He had a total of four wives, one marriage only lasting about a year due to the death of that wife in childbirth. He loved deeply all of them and their kids and the wives loved each other, too. They lived for a while in Orderville, a town that was set up by Brigham Young as an experiment in Communism in the 1870's, where everyone was treated as equals in wages and everything else in the social order. After Brigham died, the town returned to the "normal" way of life.

Jacob Hamblin, the Missionary to the Indians, was sent to end the practice of the Utes of choosing a bride for a tribal member. They no longer fight over who is going to get the girl like they had become accustomed. Mr. Young was witness to one of these fights where an Indian selected a young girl to be his bride, but another Indian also wanted her - ergo the fight. One of them was bigger and stronger than the other, so more men were selected by the Chief to fight on one or the other's side, with about twenty on each side when the fight began. Some of the Indians fell into a creek along with the girl who was seen only by her long, black hair on the surface of the water and she was pulled out by a white man. This resulted in a fight between the first Indian who wanted the girl and the white man with the white man winning and dragging the girl to the other Indian. And they all started fighting again with the girl between the two main participants. Her brother saw that she was in terrible pain and suffering, so he jumped up and stabbed her in the chest and killed her. The brother took a stance and said that if anyone wanted to kill him, to go ahead, he wasn't afraid of dying. This ended that fight and the girl was given a funeral.

Mr. Young wrote fine tributes to three of his wives and was very poetic, writing poems as the urge hit him throughout his life, several of which are in his journal.  The end of his Memoirs, Chapters 36 and 37, consist of poems reflecting on his life, Brigham Young, and Utah, among other subjects.

Being reared as a Mormon, I found the Memoirs of John R. Young, to be interesting and educational, especially on the early years in the history of the Mormons.This book is available for free at Project Gutenberg.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mister St. John by Loren D. Estleman

A crusty old man is hired by Pinkerton to round up the Buckner gang, who have been robbing banks and trains instead of doing honest work. This crusty old man, Irons St. John, was a famous lawman in the Oklahoma Indian Territory who for years had been rounding up the bad hombres and putting them before Judge Parker to receive justice. Mister St. John quit being a Peace Officer and ran for Congress and got trounced by his opponent. Enter the Pinkerton Agent Rawlings, who offered him the job of going after the Buckner gang for $20,000 and expenses.

St. John decides to take on the job and sets out hiring a couple of crusty old men, not necessarily friends, George American Horse, who was a Crow Indian, and Bill Edwards, a sharpshooter who was beginning to lose his eyesight and wore glasses now. These two men wee working in a Wild West Show when St. John contacted them. And then their was the Preacher that St. John thought he needed because of his pistol work, Midian Pierce, called Testament, who read the Bible most of the time and molested young girls when he thought he could get away with it. He was a blood-thirsty killer. St. John hired the Menendez brothers to go along on the ride. They were neither brothers or named Menendez, but cross-border thieves and killers.

A crusty and dirty bunch of lawmen, it was, that went looking for the Buckners, Merle, the cousin of Race, the other Buckner and outlaw, thievin' train and bank robber. And long with them was the crusty Killer and Thief, Jim Shirley, who fought in the war with Cuba and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions that lost both his hands. He buys an Indian woman, Woman Walking, who helps him recover from his loss of hands, and they devise a way for Shirley to shoot a gun with straps and a trigger device. He becomes well versed in the use of his pistol and becomes a permanent member of the gang along with the Indian.

The hunt is on and goes to Colorado to Wyoming and further down the road. St. John's men almost catch 'em, but they manage to get away again. And that's the way it goes down to the very last page with shoot-outs and long horseback rides in the snow and cold until it finally comes to an end, sort of.  There is a back story on almost everyone that's just as exciting and thrilling as the story going on with people getting killed and shot up and all.

A hard and hearty novel by Loren D. Estleman that keeps you going to the end to find out what's what and who wins out. This was Mr Estleman's seventh western of the many he has written. This edition was published by Fawcett Gold Medal in January 1985.       

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Tad More on the Great Salt Lake

During Fremont's explorations of of 1843, he had the opportunity to see the Great Salt Lake with his very own eyeballs and said a little about it.

"We were upon the waters of the famous lake which forms a salient point among the remarkable geographical features of the country, and around which the vague and superstitious accounts of the trappers had thrown a delightful obscurity . . hitherto  this lake had been seen only by trappers, who were wandering through the country in search of new beaver-streams, caring very little for geography; its islands had never been visited; and none had been found who had entirely made the circuit of the shores; and no instrumental observations or geographical survey of any description had ever been made anywhere in the neighboring region. It was generally supposed that it had no visible outlet; but among the trappers, including those in my own camp were many who believed that somewhere on its surface was a terrible whirlpool through which its waters found their way to the ocean by some subterranean communication . . . And my own mind had become tolerably well filled with their indefinite pictures, and insensibly colored with their romantic descriptions which in the pleasure of excitement, I was well disposed to believe, and half-expected to realize."

And Fremont even gets a little romantic by comparing his first view of the lake with Balboa discovering the Great Western Ocean. And he goes on about landing on an island and making camp, saying in his journal: "We felt pleasure in remembering that we were the first, who in the traditionary annals of the country, had visited the islands, and broken, with the cheerful sound of the human voices, the long solitude of the place."

Of course, they never found the whirlpool, but they did discover the solitude of the place on the island away from all the noise of  the Indians and other men of the party who remained in the main camp on shore.

They would really be amazed if they could see it a hundred and sixty years years later with all the mining operations on the south shore and the noise of the beachfront entertainment sites like Saltair and Blackrock and not far away the city of Salt Lake with its bustling trains and traffic sounds. 

Ref: The Founding of Utah by Levi Edgar Young and Memoirs of My Life by John Charles Fremont.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Tid-Bit of Utah History - Number Four

It was a tough competition, all right, and the competitors didn't even know they were competing. Which brings me to the question or brings the question to me, who was the first person to discover the Great Salt Lake? I thought it was someone else and maybe it was after all the dust finally settled back to the earth. Of course, not to be considered in this race are the Pag-uampes and other Indian tribes who would have already been there and done that and turned away with a shrug, "Ugh, too much salty."

Was it that dern French beaver-skinner and mountain-climber, Etienne Provost?

Was it that dern American beaver-skinner and mountain-clinber, and fort builder, Jim Bridger?

Or, was it that other dern Spanish beaver-skinner and mountain-climber and explorer, Father Escalante?

Or, maybe it was that dern beaver-skinner and mountain climbing rock-hound, exploring and fur party-leading  Captain Ashley?

Except for the Pag-uampes and the devout Father Escalante, the competitors were all in the same party of that Captain Ashley. One set out this way, one the other way, and one didn't. Jedediah Smith was along, too, but he wasn't named as being the first white man to gaze upon the Lake. According to Robert Campbell, who was in the party, the discoverer of the Great Salt Lake was none other than that early western mountain-climber, Jim Bridger. It appears that Bridger went down the Weber River to its mouth and found the Lake.

But Etienne Provost left the main party with a group of men and struck a tributary (Pumbar's Creek) of the Weber and at its mouth was the Lake. A man named Dale writes in his Ashley-Smith Explorations " that if Provost reached the Great Salt Lake before winter set in, he must be credited with its discovery."

So, I guess either one of the same party could have claimed victory. But what if someone else could have also claimed to have discovered it? How about Baron LaHontan? This LaHontan shows up in a comment by Captain Stansbury in 1852 that this Baron LaHontan as early as 1689 wrote of discoveries in this region, which was published in English in 1735. He wrote that "150 leagues from the place he then was, their principal river empties itself into a salt lake of 300 leagues in circumference." He never said how he determined the size, though, and how could he see it from that far away?

If true, this takes away the gun fodder of Bridger or Provost or Smith or other explorers having found the Lake first.

Shucks, you just never know.

Ref: The Founding of Utah Levi Edgar Young and Exploration of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake by Howard Stansbury.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

FLASH - Free Book

News Flash - Hold the Presses - Grand Announcement........

O'Shaughnessy's New Deputy will be Free this weekend starting the eighth of Aug and ending the eleventh. Put your order in at for this exciting novel by none other than Yours Truly ooly duly.

Tom Anderson returns from a mission and gets mixed up in a bank robbery in the fictional town of Hillside, Utah Territory, and he sets off in the posse to capture the robbers. Returning unsuccessfully,  Sheriff O'Shaughnessy gets wind of where the thieves might be. He makes Tom a Deputy Sheriff and tells him to hunt the bank robbers down with the help of two men assigned by the church to retrieve the bank's money, since most of it belongs to the church. And the chase is on.

Tell your friends and enemies and other people about this chance to get a FREE copy of O'Shaughnessy's New Deputy. And please write a short blurb on Amazon about your like/dislike of the book, etc. And THANKS TO YOU-ALL.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Will Rogers, The Oklahoma Cowboy

The header sketch this time is supposed to be Will Rogers from a photo on Wikipedia Commons.

I don't think very many school kids of today ever heard of Will Rogers, but when I was growing up we looked forward to the day when one of his movies would be shown at the church house because we knew that it would be full of down-home, common-sense humor, and everyone would laugh and carry on and go home and repeat his jokes later. At the time, he was downright funny with his horse and rope tricks and his political jokes.

He wrote several books and articles like He Chews To Run, There's Not a Bathing Suit in Russia, and Illiterate Digest. He wrote a weekly newspaper column for The New York Times for several years. He starred in silent movies and sound movies and was a popular actor, playing in the Ziegfield Follies and many other vaudeville acts and nightclubs.

Monuments to him stretch from Oklahoma to California and Texas and points East. He was famous for his one-liners like A fool and his money are soon elected,  Our foreign policy is an open book, a checkbook, When the Okies left Oklahoma and moved to California, they raised the average intelligence level in both states, and one more of his many, The Income tax has made more liars out of Americans than golf. Okay, here's another one, Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.

Rogers even ran a mock campaign in Life magazine for the Presidency. He was the "bunkless candidate" for the Anti-Bunk Party. His only campaign promise was that if he won, he would resign.

Will Rogers like to fly and supported Billy Mitchell, who advocated a military air force. He died with his friend, Wiley Post, in 1935 in a plane crash in Alaska.

Ref: Wikipedia/Will Rogers Bio

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Tid-bit of Utah History - Number Three

Yes, brethren and sistern, uh-huh, who was the first white man to explore the mountains and canyons and rivers of Utah before it was a Territory? It was the Catholic, Father Escalante,  who in 1776 a memorable year) explored the Utah Valley and the Utah Lake and called the Jordan River the "Rio de Santa Ana," and the local Indians were called the Timpanogatzi, who had friendly relations with the Paguampe, who were scattered near the Great Salt Lake. These Paguampes spoke the Comanche language says Father Escalante and, like I just said, were friendly to the Timpagonotzis until someone killed one of them and since has not been so friendly. A killing has that effect on some people, take the Palestinians and the Israelis, for instance.

Ahem, now who was the first American to write about the mountains, rivers, and valleys, and lakes of Utah? It was not another Catholic or even that Great Explorer, the Pathfinder, John C.Fremont. It was another man who most always had his Bible handy and was ready to preach to anyone at the drop of a hat or a moccasin, that Methodist Bible-totin'  feller, that Jedediah Smith, no less. It was in the year 1825 that Mr. Smith descended on the Rocky Mountains with the party of Ashley and his men. But, he didn't stay long, leaving in August 1826 for California and returning via the Sierras and the great desert to the land of the Great Salt Lake, passing through the lands of the Pa-ulches (Paiutes) who had not clothing except rabbit skins and lived off grasshoppers and seeds. Jedediah said he was compelled to eat most of his horses and mules to survive due to the lack of any edible material in the desert. And this famous beaver-killing mountain man, explorer, frontiersman, and mountain climber was friendly to the Indians and read to them from his Bible and shared some of his equipage with them. In the year 1830 his company sold out to that other old mountain man, beaver killer, frontiersman, and mountain climber, Jim Bridger, and Smith and company hit the trail for St. Louis with his precious packs of beaver skins and a lot of dust. Unfortunately, most of Smith's writings and papers and maps and red tape were demolished in a fire there in St.Louie, Louie.

Ref: The Founding of Utah by Levi Edgar Young  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tid-bit of Utah History, Number Two

This is my version of this bit of history.

In the years back then, before the beginning and just after Man descended onto the Western landscape, there was a river discovered running through it. Yes, the Colorado River ran through it, cutting out of the desert and mountains a great gorge with very high cliffs in places that no man had ever been, not counting the thousands of Indians that lived on or near it for thousands of years. But even the Indians had not been in some of the places, being warned by the Great Spirit of the danger to be encountered by anyone venturing into these places.

And so it came to pass that a man named Powell and his eight brave men took off on the Green River from a sacred place called Wyoming to make the first trip through these cataracts and bring forth their reports of the exact nature of the River and the country. Verily, it was in the years of 1869 and '70 and this Green River ran smack dab into the Colorado River and it further came to pass that three of his men became disgusted with all the fol-de-rol and not to mention hunger and near drownings of the exploratory party and made their escape by climbing out of the deep gorge up the sides of the cliffs to level ground high above and looked down into the chasm and laughed and waved goodby.

And it further came to pass that these same three men found an Indian Village up there and hal-looed and yelled and wandered closer, scaring the pee-wadden out of the residents. And the residents did see them and did welcome them into their midst and did promptly pounce upon them and beat them severely around the head, neck, shoulders, torso, legs, and feet of the strangest of strangers until they were all three mortally killed. And the Indians danced and sang around their bonfires at night and consulted the Great Spirit in an effort to find out who these strangest of strangers could be. And nobody, not even the highest of the high, like the likes of Brigham Young and his  high Counsellors, ever heard of these three brave men again. That is, not until another year had passed and everyone had aged more in their complete selves, and it further came to pass further, that this one-armed cliff-climber, this Major Powell, ran into an Indian Chief and became a hear-say witness to the fate of his three men.

It happened and came to pass that these three men had found a Shi-wits Indian camp, and after a couple of moons, or I should say nights, they were massacred. Jacob Hamblin was the interpreter as the Major learned about this travesty. Yes, it was the Jacob Hamblin who also went down into Arizona Territory and encamped with his followers and started a town down there out of nothing, but that's another story.

Ref: Levi Edgar Young's The Founding of Utah and John Wesley Powell's Exploration  of the Colorado River and its Canyons

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Tid-bit of Utah History

News Flash:

St. George, Utah. The Black Hawk War is raging in the Territory in the year 1866 when Captain James Andrus received the call to mount an expedition for the purpose of scouting out the Indians from Hell and Back. Oh, no, he was to take his party across the Territory betwixt there and the junction of the Grand and Green Rivers  and pinpoint the camps of the Indians, if any, and report the findings to his superiors. The weather was fine, nice and sunny in the summertime and the Indians were raising havoc in the southern towns. They killed some settlers, stole their cattle, and burned their towns, absolutely terrible conduct. Captain Andrus rendevoused with his company of militia some miles east of St. George and set out on the expedition, traveling east to Pipe Springs, Arizona Territory, and north through Kanab, Utah Territory, and east again, taking notes of the Indian trails  for his report. They traveled over a hundred miles before they made camp and Lieutenant Joseph Fish showed up with his company from the town of Parowan.

Lt. Fish had an encounter with the Indians on his trek when he sent some men back to Parowan. They were set upon by Indians and Elijah Averett was killed and several of the men wounded in the battle. Twenty-five men were sent after them, but the Indians escaped into the mountains. Captain Andrus left and made his way back to St. George in September before the snows came and submitted a report describing the Indian trails and the country from top to bottom of that remote area, which is still practically vacant from bottom to top and is still just as remote.

Captain Andrus was the oldest of 57 kids in his family and he ended up with two wives and 20-odd children of his own. And I'm sure I went to school with a couple of his descendants.

Reference: The Founding of Utah by Levi Edgar Young. Scribners, 1923, 1924

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wowee! Another Award?

I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Patsy Collins and must tell everyone seven things about me they don't already know and pass on the nomination to FIFTEEN other bloggers.
So, all right, here's the seven things you can't possible know:

1. I used to have a cat named Guinevere.
2. I keep my fingernails short.
3. I, I, I, never tell a lie.
4. My nose has been broken at least once.
5. I've never seen the Aswan Dam, except in photos.
6. I don't plan to see the Aswan Dam.
7. I don't like fish, but I like to fish.

Here are the next nominees and they don't have to accept if they are disinclined to:

Neil Waring
Albie the Good
Ron Scheer
Houston A.W. Knight
Richard Prosch
Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin
Matthew Pizzolato
If you double this list and add one there'll be 15, but that's my nominees.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Finally, It's Out

Trouble at Sagrado Ranch is available to order from on the Kindle or in print and I am glad to finally get this offering done. It is the story of the Hawkins family in New Mexico Territory after the Civil War as seen through the eyes of Thaddeus Hawkins. Here is the back of the book:

As for pricing, I used Amazon's calculator and it came out with a price of $8.49 for the pocket book and the Kindle edition at $2.99.

The paperback is currently priced at $7.64.

Get your order in quick before they are all sold out.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Proof is in the Pudding

But the pudding isn't in the proof, at least the one I received a couple days ago. The layout of the book is fine, but wouldn't you know, as I read through it, I found some more errors that will have to be changed, so the release of the novel will be delayed, and I'm still reading it. Anyway, here is a pic of the cover:

This is a photo of one of Junior and Norita Tidwell's Black Angus bulls "bellerin'" about something, maybe me taking the picture of him. I thought it might make a fairly decent cover picture. This ranch is located in the outskirts of Altonah, Utah, which is in the northeast corner of the State and nowhere near New Mexico, where the story takes place.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ye Olde Proverbs

Here are some olde horse proverbs for your consideration:

1. It is a good horse that never stumbles.

2. Mettle is dangerous in a blind horse.

3. A horse is neither better nor worse for his trappings.

4. One may take a horse to the water but you can't make him drink.

5. Get upon a high horse.

6. Putting money on the wrong horse.

7. Flogging a dead horse.

8. One must not look a gift horse in the mouth.

9. Putting the cart before the horse.

10. While the grass is growing the steed is starving.

11. A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.

12. An two men ride on a horse, one must ride behind.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Go West, Young Man

This month's header sketch is Horace Greeley who received fame for saying "Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country" as he urged people to make the trek west. Greeley was a politician, editor, founder of the New York Tribune, a Liberal Republican, among other things. He ran for President of the U.S. but died before the votes were counted. He lost, anyway, poor fellow. Two of his correspondents on the Tribune were Karl Marx and Fred Engels, the bad guys of Communism and Socialism. He also launched the New Yorker journal and a Whig weekly the Log Cabin.

Mr. Greeley was born in Amherst, New Hampshire, on Feb 3. 1811 and died in Pleasantville, New York, in 1871 on Nov 29.

(Info from Wikipedia whee you may go to find a more lengthy short bio with photos of Greeley.)

To everyone: Have a happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Yup, I Finished It

I set aside everything else, including digging trenches and blogging, but not babysitting or eating, in order to complete Trouble at Sagrado Ranch, and I just ordered a proof copy to review. If I find everything in good finish, it will be available for purchase in two or three weeks in Kindle and paperback editions at a reasonable cost.

This novel will complete the eight books I have written in the last six, eight, or ten years and I have nothing more planned at present. I will probably do a Kindle edition of some short stories and maybe start another western. I have several ideas floating around in my feeble brain that may make a good story or two. But right now, I will take a break and let the ideas swirl around until they reach a tornado pitch and have to be let out. Writing is a necessary evil that must be dealt with. The only way to deal with it is . . . . WRITE, WRITE, WRITE.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Feud at Single Shot

Luke Short's western, The Feud at Single Shot, is a gritty tale of an attempt to take over a ranch near the small town of Single Shot. Dave Turner, half-owner of the ranch with his sister, and Rosy Rand are finally freed from the Yuma prison and return to Single Shot to pick up where they left off. Mary, the sister, has been working the ranch with the assistance of a couple of no-good cowboys and her slick-garbed husband, Ted Winters, who is more interested in gambling than the ranch. On the way home from the train station, they are ambushed and Dave is shot, but not killed. Dave and Rosy thinks it was set up by a man named Hammond, who began mining below the ridge next to the ranch property, and a fellow named Crowell has offered to buy the ranch.

This story is also a mystery of sorts as Dave and Rosy work to find the person behind the shooting and the ranch offers, believing it is not really Crowell who wants the property. The cliff where the only water supply lies in a lake on the Turner ranch is blown to smithereens and the water runs out over the mine of Hammond on down the gulley to the desert floor. And the plot thickens as they find out Hammond wasn't behind either the shooting or the explosion.

And there are more twists and turns as Dave is kidnapped and tortured and made to sign over his half of the ranch to Crowell. But why does somebody want the ranch so bad? I will leave that answer for the reader to find out as Rosy and Dave and Hammond all work together to catch the unknown villain of the story. This was another of Luke Short's fine stories which took my mind away from the daily grind for a couple of hours.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

What a Sale!

What a Sale, yuk! We traveled all the way to Mesa Friday to sell some books ,at least I thought that was why were going over there. We picked out a nice hotel and made reservations for the night as the event would end at 10 PM and I didn't want to drive back that late. Hell, I'm over 80 years old and don't drive much at night any more nor any other time, either.

We signed in at 4:30 like the notice said, and set up the table and chairs, dug out the books and a sign, and an old battery-operated lantern in case we didn't have enough light. At exactly 6 PM we took our places in the l04 degree heat and waited for customers to inquire about the books. About 6:30 PM, I walked down the street to a Pizza parlor and bought a couple slices of pizza and we ate the pizza and drank a giant drink and waited for customers. I yelled at about everyone that passed the table to take a look, uh-huh, about six people so far. Around 7:30 a nice lady stopped and gazed at the books and chatted for a moment before moving on. The heat was cooling down a bit and there was a nice breeze and about 8:30 we started to pack up. A couple minutes later I dug the books out of the box to show a young lady and her son what I had and KaChing, she bought one. So we sat there a few more minutes with no action and I started putting the books back in the box  and another couple stopped to see what I had. KaChing, another sale! So we waited a few more minutes in the half-light before putting them away again. This time nobody answered our call to take a look, so we packed up and I went and got the car. I was told it was fine to double park to load and unload so there I was laboring away putting the table and chairs in the trunk and a city bus stopped, thinking he couldn't get by. I said to myself, "He'll just have to wait while I finish loading up." Another minute or two and we piled into the car and took off. I turned off that street, heading to the hotel and there was a police car following me. I  stopped for a light and the policeman turned the corner and let out a long sigh of relief.

It was Friday the 13th, what did I expect? We fell far short of meeting expenses, and besides almost having a heat stroke, I managed to enjoy the outing anyway.  Maybe I'll try it again next month.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Coming Along

I'm proofing the manuscript of Trouble at Sagrado Ranch. My editor, my wife, has proofread it and caught a number of typos and a couple of contextual errors. So, I'm going through it and making the changes and re-proofing the text. After this is done, I will read it again and start thinking about a cover for it that I can use at no cost. I have only about $8 in my book account and I don't think I would get much in the way of cover design for that amount. I hope to add some funds tomorrow night in Mesa at the 2nd Friday Night Out event where I will be signing and selling my novels to all the street walkers, er, er, the wonderful people walking by on the sidewalk and participating in the event.

Have a great weekend!.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Modern Cowboy's Unusual Story

Bob Norris was just a rancher in Colorado when one day he received a visit from a fellow named Jackson who wanted to rent six stalls for six elephants. The man was looking to get rid of the baby elephants for $18,000 each.  And that is the basis of this story by Malcolm MacPherson called, The Cowboy and His Elephant. It starts with a discussion of the life and habits of elephants in the wild and when you get through that the author takes up the case of Amy who was the only animal to survive a "cull" in the jungles of Zimbabwe.

Amy ends up on the ranch with Mister Norris and they get acquainted over the next few months, and by this time, they have fallen in love with each other. Bob Norris eventually gets around to teaching Amy a couple of tricks and Amy's world has opened up. She gradually gets acquainted with the rest of the ranch and follows Norris and his horse Big Bob around riding fence and all the other things required of a rancher. And Amy plays with her new friends, a goat and the dogs and is considered well adjusted. Norris was an animal lover of the best type, having had a bear in his young days and always looked out for any animal on the ranch.

As time goes by, Amy gets bigger and bigger and could hurt someone without meaning to, she is so powerful in her natural movements and curiosity. Norris had been taking her to various schools to entertain the kids and teach them about elephants. Amy was just getting too big to continue doing this and he stops and has thoughts about selling her to a zoo or a circus to ensure she gets the continued proper treatment.

I have a first edition of the book printed by St. Martin's Press, an imprint of Thomas Dunne Books of New York. It contains a few pictures of Bob and Amy and others and the signature of Bob Norris but not the Author MacPherson.

Anyway, I'll leave the ending out of this blurb, not wanting to disclose it and maybe ruin it for other readers. And there is also a surprise, at least it was to me, about Mister Norris which I will leave for other readers to discover, too. After I had read the opening discourse on elephants, the story moved rather fast and ended all too soon. I really enjoyed this book.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hamlin Garland, Writer

This month's sketch is a resemblance of HAMLIN GARLAND, Author.

Garland wrote the "Border" books, A Son of the Middle Border, A Daughter of the Middle Border,  Trail-Makers of the Middle Border, and Back-Trailers of the Middle Border among others. Born September 14, 1860, in Wisconsin, he passed on March 4, 1940, in Hollywood, California, at the ripe old age of 79. He began his writing career in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1884.

He traveled to the Yukon in 1898 to witness the Klondike Gold Rush and wrote a novel, The Trail of the Gold Seekers in 1899. He lived in Iowa for a while which inspired many of his writings. He wrote about fifty books, including several that had Prairie in the title and  others that had Trail in the title. Garland won a Pulitzer Prize for biography for A Daughter of the Middle Border it says in, where this info is coming from and the sketch is from a photo there. While he was in Hollywood he investigated psychic phenomena and wrote in 1936, Forty Years of  Psychic Research and The Mystery of the Buried Crosses in 1939.

I read a couple of the Border books and found them to be interesting and not exactly what I would call traditional western, but they were personal reminiscences of his travels in the midwest and are literary in my world. If time permits, I will certainly read his gold book and Boy Life on the Prairie to see what they are like. He also wrote a biography of Ulysses S. Grant, Ulysses S. Grant, His Life and Character, which I may find time to read if I can find a copy.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Hard Time Bunch

The Hard Time Bunch is a Doubleday Western by Clifton Adams published in 1973. I just read James Reasoner's post yesterday with his review of The Colonel's Lady by Adams and agree with what he had to say about Mr. Adams being a gritty writer of the hard-boiled variety. In The Hard Time Bunch Adams has another fine western with grit and humor. Frank Beeler is out of a job having quit as a Deputy Marshal in the Indian Territory and is half-looking for something else that would support him and his on-again, off-again romance with his old true love, Elizabeth Stans. He found it as a hunting guide for two dude Easterners who wanted to go hunting in the Indian Territory. Although the two decimated a flock of wild turkeys just to continue on with their deadly games, that wasn't exactly what they were looking for as they moved further into the Territory.

The Hard Time Bunch was just a few farm boys who were in hard times and took up robbing trains to feather their nests. However, they weren't very good at it and after a failed attempt, a bounty was put on their heads. Known as the Brannon Bunch, the gang was made up of two Brannon brothers, another farmer named Rafe Jackson and an Indian named Johnny Coyotesong. And when the hunting party runs into these outlaws, the story gets interesting and more complex. The two dudes, Warren Conmy and Ben Sutter, and their hired help Duane Keating and Humphrey O'Toole, were not exactly "dudes", all being dead shots and expert in the use of firearms. Along with them was Conmy's pretty wife Verna, adding a bit of mystery and romance to the plot. The "dudes" game now becomes one of who can kill the Brannon bunch. Frank Beeler sees what's coming and wants out and joins the Brannons and becomes an object for the killers to hunt down, too, in their little game.

As the story winds down to its bitter end, they all get caught up in a Creek funeral as one of the Creeks agrees to help his old friend, Beeler, hide out with the Brannons in their camp while the funeral goes on and on and on to its unexpected conclusion.

This novel was only 161 pages long and read easy and fast and I liked it (as I do about all of them).

Enjoy Memorial Day and drive carefully if you're leaving town on the road!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Some Arizona Events

This event runs through June 1, 2014, at the Desert Caballeros Museum in Wickenburg, AZ, and complements the "Cowgirl Up" Artist exhibition. It is the third annual "Cowgirls with a Camera" exhibit featuring the photos of talented women photographers in the Western genre, from mustangs to working horses, ranch life to rodeo, and the stunning landscapes of the American West.

Running through May 31 is "Ghost Towns of Arizona", photography of Kurt Wenner at the Pueblo Grande Museum in Phoenix. More than 40 photos of Arizona ghost towns taken between 1996 and 2006.

May 31: Blue Ribbon Horse Show at the Phoenix-Horse Lovers Park. Halter, English and Western pleasure, trail and more.  Mount up and take a ride to this exhibit.

June 8: 34th Annual Territorial Days Arts and Crafts - Courthouse Plaza, Prescott, across the street from the famed Whiskey Row.

June 13th: 2nd Friday Night's Out in Mesa, AZ, Sci-Fi Friday, on the sidewalk on Main Street. I will be selling my books here. Don't miss this one.

(Thanks to Sun Life Magazine for the events listed, except for the last one.).

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Wild Cow Tales

This book of short stories, Wild Cow Tales, by Ben K. Green, was interesting and funny, even hilarious in places. Mr. Green's tales were written in a straight-forward style as he relates some of the wildest cow chases I've read about. As an independent rancher near Weatherford, Texas, he was hired by fellow ranchers and others to round up some of the wildest cattle to be found anywhere. In one of the tales, he tells his troubles rounding up a herd of cows in the Rocky Mountains for a bank that was taking over the herd because the Scottish owner owed the bank some money on a loan. The Scot didn't exactly want "that skinny little excuse for a cowboy" to push his cattle off his ranch and Ben had to battle him, too, on top of the ornery steers.

In another one, Ben was hired to round up a small herd of the meanest and wildest long horns in an out of the way town in southwestern Texas. Though only eight or ten of 'em, he had one of the toughest jobs he'd ever had catching and keeping these animals out of the brush and thickets where they usually could find peace and quiet in their daily routine. This was one of the best instances that rope is a cowboy's best friend and the long, sharp horns are one of the worst . He was horned on a leg, cutting a gash that caused Ben do to some quaint doctoring of the wound and wasn't anything I'd heard of before.

And there's a story about a young boy that helped him out with a small herd of the critters, and at the end of the book thee are some real short episodes he relates while herding and handling cattle, one about some cows reading a morning paper, and another tyring to head off a wild calf that ran into a schoolhouse. All very funny and exciting. Mr. Green is a writer that rode the trail and enjoyed his work. A real cattle man doing what he liked to do and his writing isn't so bad either.

This book was published by the University of Nebraska Press