Author, Writer, Speaker
Saluting a Friend of the Western
But should they ever really desire to create something fresh, new, and exceptional, as a Western author, I could certainly recommend some books that I believe would make for good additions to the genre on television or the big screen.
Having said all that, I thoroughly enjoyed the recent reboots of True Grit, The Lone Ranger, and The Magnificent Seven.
Yes, I said “The Lone Ranger.”
If you didn’t truly enjoy that film, you either have no sense
of humor, you place too much value on the arrogant opinions
of the critics, and/or you need to remove the cactus thorns
from the seat of your blue jeans.
In fact, I think we are often much too critical of current remakes of legendary Westerns, because we think these newer productions are somehow unworthy of the name or something of an insult to the legendary stars of these iconic productions of the past. And although I think it is simply fear and laziness which contribute to producers only risking their reputations in remaking those great films of the past, I can certainly understand their desire to only invest their time and money in revisiting franchises that have been successful before.
As a Western author, I am a proud and active supporter of anything and anyone who is good for the promotion of the Western, in print, on television, or upon the big screen.
I will clearly not disagree with anyone who considers Johnny Depp an unusually strange individual, but his portrayal of Tonto did nothing to profane the lore and traditions of the Lone Ranger franchise. It just was simply two solid hours of fun and entertainment.
And when it comes to fresh and new creations of the Western genre on television, I have to praise Hell on Wheels, Longmire, and Justified, which I wholeheartedly believe have done much to create a new resurgence of the Western in Hollywood.
Moreover, the History Channel’s recent
productions of the Hatfields & McCoys
and Texas Rising were also solid additions
to reestablishing the Western in the minds
of the American viewing public.
And starring in both of those productions
was the same actor, Bill Paxton, who
played both the feuding Hatfield’s
Randall McCoy and Rising’s Gen. Sam Houston.
And I am truly sad to report that, as a result of complications from his surgery, Bill Paxton, 61, passed away this weekend. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who were closest to him.
His untimely passing will not only be a great loss to his friends and loved ones; it will also be a significant loss to film viewers who enjoyed Paxton’s great performances in Westerns or his other screen roles.
In the 1993 film, Tombstone, Bill Paxton played
Morgan Earp, who walked down Freemont
Street into Western immortality, alongside Kurt
Russell’s Wyatt Earp, Sam Elliott’s Virgil Earp,
and Val Kilmer as a sickly dentist named
His appearance in that one film alone would
firmly solidly establish Bill Paxton’s place near
the top of the heap in the Western genre.
Bill Paxton was a fine actor, who also appeared in the films Apollo 13 and Twister.
But it will always be the Westerns for which I remember this proud Texas actor, whose own tragic passing came much too soon.
As I stated at the beginning of this piece, I am a proud and active supporter of anyone who is good for the promotion of the Western.
And if the phrase could be used about anyone in Hollywood, it was
certainly true about him.
Bill Paxton was a friend of the Western. And that one quality forever
made him a friend of mine.
R.I.P., Bill Paxton! You will be missed.
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