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Watching a Western, while broke

Updated on November 11, 2010

Deserts come in various forms


No money, and a humid afternoon some years ago. The old Western cranked itself up as I sat irritated in a chair. I’d never succeeded in watching a Western all the way through before, even when I was a kid.

The main character had a few facilitative lines which dragged the plot line along like a mule. The female lead, wearing what looked like a 40s-50s hairstyle appeared and had a series of relationship problems with the main character.

I have no idea who the lead is, and I’m already wondering if he does.

Have to do something about that electricity bill….

The hero had a row with the patriarchal sheriff, who reluctantly forms a posse, and chases after him. The heroine meets him out in the desert, and they have yet another row.

He goes one way, she goes another.

I wonder if he’s an alcoholic. That’s what usually happened to Western stars. He’s expressionless.

She looks like she’s been through a die cutter. It’s quite impossible to relate her character to anyone or anything.

Maybe that’s the idea- Total lack of engagement, no risk movie making. After all, how many Westerns were made, and how many Western actors ever became famous?

She, lost in the desert, is found by the posse.

The writer must have had a pretty persuasive carrot in front of him. Of course one person can easily be found in an area of a few hundred square miles.

He roams through practically every Western terrain I’ve ever seen. That’s all that happens, for quite some time, with brief cuts to the other characters.

Food… muesli again… This is the second or third month…?

The American West definitely isn’t ever dull to look at, but as travel brochures go, complete with expressionless hero, entertainment levels are low.

There’s a difference between this guy’s face and the desert… I think. I wonder what it is.

The hero loses his horse, and finds another, which he tames. More riding through the inventory of Western terrain by the hero and the posse.

The scenes are two dimensional. I’m looking on in a sort of professional horror until the hero finds a ranch full of sick Mexicans.

Yep, that’s what I need to see, sick people.

The hero, whose facial expression hasn’t changed for ages, decides to leave until persuaded otherwise by the spectacularly unappealing Mexican character.

There’s something about looking at sick people that’s like catching a cold. Not as sick as the script, though.

In a sort of barren haze, the hero rides off again, to do something for the sick Mexicans. Dust rises sullenly, like the dialog.

More riding off across the endless scenery. If there’s a soundtrack, it’s pretty insipid. The posse has apparently dropped off the storyboard at this point.

I’ve got a few thousand books. Why aren’t I reading them?

By this time I’m feeling better. I didn’t write that script. The TV goes off, and a good book comes out.

To this day I haven’t watched a Western all the way through, to my knowledge.


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    • Paul Wallis profile image

      Paul Wallis 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Have to admit that Outlaw Josey Wales and Judge Roy Bean, which I almost did watch all the way through, were good, but I really don't think I've even managed to get through a whole TV Western.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      A splendid hub and I hope life became better in the meantime. Some Western I liked watching because they wey were well done and great actors played in it. Thank for the pleasure of reading your hub.