Minnesota Musing: Westerns - A View into the Grit that Held the West Together
Up until recently, my view of Western movies was a little skewed. I didn't even bother to give them the time of day, choosing to watch a sunset rather than leave the television on. But, lately, since my hubby is an avid fan of Westerns, and, a recent bout with the flu, left us laying around, mindless and aching for entertainment, we watched Western after Western.
After a steady infusion of older stories, I'm starting to get a little color back in my cheeks, I don't feel quite so achy and my headache is starting to go away.
Westerns - An Analogy
In a typical Western, there is a small town located out in the middle of nowhere and there is usually a bar where all the men get together.
There are basic needs met at the bar. There's the shot of whiskey, the woman ready to take you upstairs, the poker game, the piano player and the ever present stress of a gunfight breaking out.
The women that are portrayed in the Westerns are robust, busty, charming, strong and independent, but ready to take you in, for a dollar or two.
Depending on the age of the Western, they are usually depicted wearing a long dress with a low cut bodice, so you are definitely expecting what they are offering by the time they get you upstairs. The women who wear the jeans and the vests usually don't end up in the bar, or upstairs. They are usually the ones that own the ranches and have babies.
Granted, the women portrayed usually are stuck on someone like John Wayne or Sam Elliot, but while they wait out their next opportunity with them, they have their way with the rest of the men folks.
The men are generally tough, usually wearing a suit with vest. Since the weather must be somewhat warm, the attire is generally vest, shirt, bandanna and jeans and leather boots.
They all strap on a holster with some sort of a pistol and many have access to a rifle of some sort that holds a couple shells.
Not all of them know how to fire a gun with accuracy. They are all willing to drink Whiskey at the bar.
While on the subject of whiskey, I have many questions. So, the train brings these bar owners bottles of whiskey, supposedly. So, the west has progressed to the point where they don't have moonshine, like they do out in the east.
Why is that?
To what purpose does the whiskey serve? So, the west was full of men who were drinking, probably hostile, not thinking clearly and armed.
Clearly a kudos moment for the NRA.
I know that it's not a good situation to mix beer and alcohol with guns during, say, deer hunting. Or, beer, alcohol and guns at a gun rally.
Actually, at the end of this flu, I had some congestion that was balling up in my lungs and it was making me cough on a fairly regular basis. I touched all my bases and had a little baking soda for my ph balance, a little mouthwash to settle any germs that were living in my mouth, a good drink of water to hydrate the system and finally, I took a mouthful of whiskey and swallowed it down.
The flavor wasn't a bad one. Like sweet corn. The burn in my throat was intense for a few seconds, but I noticed that the need to cough subsided. I could breathe without a lot of gurgling. I was able to fall asleep and when I woke up later, I decided that the process should be repeated.
My point, about Westerns, is not that they should not be praised. My film requirements, up until now, was more of a Hallmark channel mentality. I needed the boy to chance meet the girl, go through the motions of confusion and finally, admit to a glimmer of spark towards the other person.
I love romance.
Well. There is a lot of romance in these westerns. It's the old fashioned teenage awkward toe kicking maybe we ought to get to know one another type of romance and many times leads to more, as the credits roll by.
As I look in my collection of Westerns, I see that they come in multi packs. Another words, when you buy one, you are getting discs of multiple movies. One such pack has 50 different movies. The other has 8 different movies.
Plenty to keep a person entertained once there is nothing on television once again, although perhaps by the time we watch all there is to offer on programming, we'll find that the movie collection we have are all movies we have previously watched.
According to what I have been told, there was a genre of movies called spaghetti westerns that were not created in the United States, but were created overseas in Italy. These are also quite entertaining.