COWBOYS AND … WELL, JUST COWBOYS!
No matter how you look at it, cowboys have always been popular. You can barely count the number of western movies that have been produced over the last 50 years, the biggest share of them in the 1950’s and 60’s. Lately, remakes of famous old standards like TRUE GRIT and 3:10 TO YUMA, have done well. Then there are the famous “big screen” favorites like DANCES WITH WOLVES and HOW THE WEST WAS WON – and of course there are the unforgettable Clint Eastwood “shooters.” My favorites are THE GUNS OF JOSIE WALES, PALE RIDER and TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARAH. Then there is the name known world wide for his western films – John Wayne. Actually, my favorite John Wayne movie is THE SHOOTIST – his very last film. It’s so touching to know that was the last movie he made before he died from cancer, when in the movie he was an old gunfighter – also dying from cancer. In the movie he went out of this life in the way only an old gunfighter should go – he “went down shooting.” I, of course, cried my eyes out.
TV got into the act during the popularity of the mini-series with LONESOME DOVE and CENTENNIAL. And of course few people are unfamiliar with the numerous TV half-hour and hour-long westerns like HAVE GUN/WILL TRAVEL and GUNSMOKE, the most famous of them all. I sure hated to read about the passing of James Arness, but he will live on forever in the form of Marshal Matt Dillon.
As far as books, few authors helped keep the genre alive like Will Henry and Louis L’Amour did. Dee Brown did a fabulous job of enlightening readers to the truth about the gradual demise of the American Indian way of life in his book BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE.
There is something about the American western frontier that fascinates, something about those pioneers that makes us proud and makes us want to keep the “right to bear arms.” We are even fascinated and in a strange way “proud” of our infamous outlaws, like Jesse James and Butch Cassidy. Even more fascinating is that there was a very fine line back then between outlaw and lawman. There were those who couldn’t say which Wyatt Earp and his brothers were … good? Or bad? How many books have you read, or movies have you watched, in which the “bad guy” was really good at heart?
Ah, yes, the American cowboy … restless, wild, roving, hard-drinking, ready for a fist fight, quick with a gun, tough, brave, rough looking yet handsome – even those who weren’t all that good looking were handsome in their own way when they wore those great hats and smoked that cheroot and stood their ground. I think the western hero has remained popular because we all identify with some part of their personality … perhaps we all daydream that we could be that rugged, that brave, that quick with a gun, that much in charge of our lives and ultimately that “free” to be whoever we want to be … that much “in control” of our own destinies and “unchained” from rules and responsibilities.
I truly believe there is a little bit of “cowboy” in all of us … and so I will keep writing books about men like that and the equally brave and tough women it took to keep up with them … or tame them … whichever they were brave enough to try. I love the American West, the American cowboy, and the American dreams they represented. It was an era when there were still frontiers to conquer, still places where man had never stepped, still gold and silver and oil to be found, still free land as long as you were willing to homestead that land, still endless horizons with no skyscrapers or smokestacks to mar the landscape. It’s the “cowboy” in Americans that makes them dare to try new ventures, dare to leave the familiar and take a new job or start their own business or move to a completely new area of the country. There is a little bit of “cowboy” in our armed forces, in that devil-may-care attitude of our veterans who fought world wars, in those who dared travel into space, in a boxer, a football player, a race car driver, even a reckless investor who risks it all on a hunch. It’s the American spirit, and a whole lot of that spirit can be identified as the “cowboy” in us.
If you have a dream, if there is something you want to try but have put it off, if you want to stand up for yourself but are afraid to, if you have a good idea but haven’t put it out there into the real world, you need to “cowboy up!” Think like a cowboy, and you might be surprised where it can take you! Cowboys have always been a favorite of mine, and they are still a reader favorite. I’ll be writing plenty more western romances to satisfy those readers!
Blurb for Paradise Valley:
Twenty-year-old Maggie Tucker's life is forever altered when outlaws murder her husband and attack Maggie, leaving her alone and lost in the wilds of 1800's Wyoming. A strong woman who refuses to bend to shame or fear, Maggie buries her husband and vows to find the men who stole nearly all her belongings and tried to destroy her spirit. Sage Lightfoot, the owner of a ranch called Paradise Valley, is hunting for three men who murdered his best ranch hand. When he comes across a young woman collapsed beside an open grave, he stays to help her. From that moment on a life-changing journey begins for Maggie and Sage, two people from different worlds who are drawn together in the common cause of justice. Their search brings them together in unexpected ways; but a secret Maggie carries, and a woman from Sage's past, could destroy the love they find as they overcome incredible danger and life-threatening adventure along Wyoming's famed Outlaw Trail.
Paradise Valley is available at Amazon: http://amzn.com/1402280971
Coloma [Michigan] author ROSANNE BITTNER has penned 57 published novels since 1983, stories about America's 1800's Old West and Native Americans. She has won numerous writing awards and is published in Russia, Taiwan, Norway, Germany, Italy and France, where she is extremely popular. Rosanne is a member of Women Writing the West, Western Writers of America, the Nebraska, Oklahoma and North Berrien (Michigan) Historical Societies, Romance Writers of America, and a Board member of the Coloma Lioness Club, a local charitable organization.
Rosanne and her husband of 48 years, Larry, have two grown sons and three grandsons. They live in Southwest Michigan but travel the West extensively for research for Rosanne’s books. You can learn much more about Rosanne through her web site at www.rosannebittner.com and her blog at www.rosannebittner.blogspot.com. Be sure to visit Rosanne on Facebook and Twitter also!