As a kid growing up in the late 60’s through the 70’s I used to hurry home from school to watch all of the western TV shows I could watch. Seemed to always be a show on, with the good guys vs the bandits. Bonanza, The Big Valley, The High Chaparral, Gunsmoke and my personal favorite, The Virginian! Before these came to be, you had The Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, Rawhide, Cheyenne and Maverick.
That is a lot of westerns in a time that was simpler. You idolized the stars of the TV shows because they did everything they could to do the right thing. Were there people shot? Yes. Were there fights? Yes. But you always knew that at the end of the show, the good guy was going to win. As kids we went outside and played cowboys and indians, or cowboys and bandits, and no one thought twice about it. You had side kicks like Tonto, Gabby Hayes, and Festus, who were always there to help out when needed, even when outnumbered.
That was a long time ago, but it has always stuck in my mind. It always taught me that there was a right way and a wrong way and if you were a bandit, you were going to get caught.
Nowadays, kids have no westerns, no heroes to look up to. They are either watching the Kardashians, Jersey Shore or some other moralless show that allows the public to watch people who do not care that kids watch, and have no regard for decency.
Now there are a few movies out there that uphold the rules for a good western, with my personal favorite being Tombstone which is based on a true story. Again, the good guys come out on top and the criminals are either arrested or shot. Yeah it was a rough time in those days, but that is how it had to be. Another favorite, is Pure Country where there were no guns, a little fighting, but had a moral to the story. In my haste to remember all of the great western movies, I would be remiss to not mention Tom Selleck as being one of the best for bringing authenticity to a movie. In the movie Monte Walsh William Devane had a great moment explaining what being a cowboy really meant:
Western movies are few and far apart these days, but there are a few that worth watching.
Because we as a culture have lost our way, forgot our past (except when convenient for political reasons) we tend to not talk about or teach our kids how history shapes things. The many movies made about The Alamo are all my favorites as well, as it told the way that we as Americans fought for what we believed in, even outnumbered by 6000. Heroes of the day, Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and all those at the Alamo fought along side of 200 others against the Mexican Army of over 6000 and held them off for 13 days.
Those are the real heroes, those who fought against all odds!
It would be nice to come home at night and once again be able to sit down with our family and cheer for the cowboy to beat the bad guys once again.
This is one of the reasons I have decided to try and build my dream around an old west town, and ranch. Because I think that not only will it be fun, but also bring back the heroes from the old west.
Maybe just maybe the simple life will come back!
Via Con Dios, My friend!