Let's Write: An Epic Western Short Story
Growing up in an era where westerns dominated the screens (both movies and television) its only natural to become fascinated in writing one. Always do your research to add as much authenticity as possible. Keeping in mind how the cowboys dressed, acted and the environment is extremely important.
Here's an example of Writing the Epic Western!
Shane Calhoun is "The Loner"
The Year: Late 1870's
The Place: Dodge City, Kansas
Shane Calhoun aka The Loner has lived for the past few years out of a saddle with a Colt 45 tucked close to his side. He never uses it or the well hidden Derringer .41 cal unless pushed to the limit. Then there is a well placed bullet either between the eyes to permanently end the dispute or in the “gun arm” just to put the loud-mouth temporarily out of commission.
There are no Wanted Posters or Warrants out on this Loner (except maybe from the various women he’s left behind.) Shane always manages to stay on the “sunny-side” of the Law.
Although Shane stands six-feet four in his stocking feet with thick curly jet-black hair that’s made for a woman to bury her hands deep into its curly, silky mass—he is very much a loner.
Shane sometimes wears his black leather dusting coat with matching Stetson hat like a man on a dangerous mission. His blue jeans fit him like they were tailored for a god. They gently grab his narrow hips; massage his muscular thighs and taper off into a pair of custom-made Italian boots—spit shine! His bright paisley vest is a shocking contrast as is his scarlet red bandanna. A 24 karat gold pocket watch completes the ensemble.
The most remarkable thing about Shane Calhoun is his eyes. They draw and hold your attention. The brightest blue you’ve ever seen; like looking into the blue of a crystal-clear day. Because of his beautiful deep sun-tanned skin you can’t help but notice those baby-blues!
Therefore it is a stark contradiction that Shane is alone. It’s not that he desires the solitary life … no he wants to settle down and have a bunch of kids with that house and white picket fence. It just seems that every time he meets someone, she is always into playing games and love seems to be a small world where he is not allowed. That is until he meets Brim. Whoa, I’m getting ahead of myself … let me backup and commence again!
Pulling Into Dodge City
It is about sun down when Shane pulls into Dodge City. It has been a long and dusty trip. Shane has been eating dust every leg of his journey. He has traveled up the Chisholm Trail from Texas to Dodge City. Once again he is in need of a temporary quick fix for his shatter heart. This time it takes him into Dodge.
Shane’s visit to Dodge is by invitation of a good friend … Wyatt Earp the assistant city marshal. Tales of Wyatt’s exploits have even stretched to both the Southern and Eastern United States. The lure of the Wild, Wild West has also brought many a young man not only to Dodge City but also to permanent residency in Boot Hill. It is said that the rich are laid to rest at Fort Dodge but the destitute make their final home on the Hill. This changes when Wyatt comes on the scene.
At any rate, Shane is tired when he ties his stallion, Bleu (pronounced blue) to the hitching post in front of Wyatt’s office. Wyatt’s frame is leaning against the door post and he is grinning. This is something not everyone is privileged to witness as another friend Bat Masterson will attest.
“Bout time you pulled into Dodge City, boy! I thought I was going to have to send a posse after you!” Wyatt chuckles softly while lazily chewing on a long straw.
“I had me some business to take care of Wyatt.” Shane replies a catch in his voice.
“Oh … I’m sorry about Melody. I know how you cared for her.” Wyatt says with sympathy in his voice.
“Yeah, Wyatt I cared for her until I caught her with James Stacy. Then … well I kinda lost interest.” Shane says reminiscing that day.
“You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.” Wyatt offers.
“You’re one of my closest friends, Wyatt. I need to get this off my chest.” Shane answers.
“Ok, Loner … let me just check on things here. Make sure my deputy can take care of our one prisoner and we’ll mosey on down to the Longhorn Saloon and discuss it over a couple of Whiskey Sours.” Wyatt states as he rises from his leaning post.
“How about a barrel of Whiskey Sours my amigo? Then I can just dive in head first.” Shane responds.
“This is serious! I’ll be right with you!” Wyatt says and disappears into his office.
Shane stands outside of Wyatt’s office looking around. It was a week ago Saturday that he discovered the two of them. Shane has just refused the advances of a very friendly saloon girl when he notices one of his drinking buddies—James Stacy quietly sliding out the back exit. Curious, Shane decides to follow. He is astounded that James is walking toward Melody’s house at the northern end of town. Melody lives with her minister father and semi-invalid mother. James walks around to the back window where Melody’s room is located. A pair of welcoming arms ushers him into her bedroom.
Shane’s attention is momentarily averted when a beautiful woman comes into view. Her hips sway gently as she crosses the street over in his direction.
Lightning Does Strike Twice ...
The woman looks to be in her early thirties, with beautiful long blonde hair and a pair of legs that a man would kill to possess. As she makes her sultry approach Shane notices her ruby red lips and welcoming smile. She is almost as tall as he and her creamy breast seem to tug impatiently at the fabric as if ready for the right man to perform his magic. When she gets about arm’s length she speaks.
“You must be Shane Calhoun, Wyatt told me you were coming. My name is Chastity Blaylock; I own the Longhorn Saloon. Welcome to Dodge City.” She says admiring the very good looking man with the brooding expression.
As Chastity offers her finely manicured hand to Shane, Wyatt reappears.
“My friend is just here for a few days. He’s nursing a broken heart and I don’t want you toying with him.” Wyatt says firmly.
“Gee, thanks Wyatt … why don’t you just publish my personal business in The Kansas Daily Commonwealth.” Shane’s handsome features are now in a grimace.
“I didn't mean any harm, pardner’ … just looking out for your interests. Mattie’s cousin can be a bit ornery.” Wyatt says feeling as if he’d betrayed his friend’s trust.
“He looks like he’s capable of handling himself to me.” Chastity throws at her cousin’s fiancée then turns back to Shane. “Let me escort you gentlemen to the Longhorn.”
Chastity slides a very feminine arm into each of the men’s and struts proudly in the direction of her establishment. Two shadowy figures watch the three as they advance toward the Longhorn. One steps out into the light. It is James Stacy.
“Loner … I didn’t like the way things ended back there in El Paso. You insulted Melody and almost broke my jaw.” James snarls at Shane.
Shane turns to face James. It’s obvious that James is outclassed so Wyatt intercedes.
“I don’t want any trouble in my town mister. You need to turn around and high-tail it back to El Paso. I think my friend has suffered enough.” Wyatt says menacingly while disengaging himself from Chastity.
“So, you have to hide behind a lawman? You’re not so tough now? What happened, you …” But before James can finish his sentence Shane whips out his Colt and plugs James in his gun arm. James cries out in pain.
“Now mosey on back to Melody and good luck! And … watch your back because that window opens both ways.” And with that James returns to the shadows, embarrassed but thankful that he is able to walk away.
“That is some powerful good shooting, Loner!” Chastity says in admiration.
“If that coyote didn't deserve that I’d have to arrest you, buddy!” Wyatt laughs as he reclaims Chastity’s arm and the three of them continue toward the Longhorn.
The second shadowed figure watches in half-admiration as the three disappear into the famed saloon.
It isn’t long before Shane finds himself once again in the clutches of a manipulating female. It feels good being in a relationship however the price he pays far outweighs the benefits.
Chastity’s reputation is more than just rumored. Chastity, unlike her cousin Mattie, is the owner of both the saloon and one of the few top notched brothel houses in town. She is constantly subjected to all types of characters eager to taste the wares of a certain blonde proprietor. Shane finds it disheartening.
“You need to find yourself another woman, Shane.” Wyatt begins.
“It’s just part of her business, Wyatt. Chastity’s going to retire and things will be different.” Shane defends.
“Just listen to yourself, man. That woman is never going to change. She’ll just end up breaking your heart.” Wyatt says then backs away from the subject.
Disappointed but following Wyatt’s sage advice Shane reluctantly ends the relationship.
A "Brim" on the Horizon ...
It is, however his good fortune to run into a young lady purchasing dry goods at the general mercantile. The brim of her hat is so large that you can barely tell that there is indeed a woman underneath. However, her voice is like honey even though her chaps and other western gear belie that fact.
“That’ll be an even $26 Brim.” The shopkeeper Roger Murdock tells his niece. Madison is her name but Brim is what all the locals call her. You rarely see her without that hat.
“Put it on dad’s tab, Uncle Roger.” Brim tells him as she turns to leave with her supplies dragging behind her. It is a personal joke; Roger Murdock would never charge his brother.
“Brim … now that’s an unusual name.” Shane replies looking directly at her.
“That’s because I’m an unusual woman.” Brim throws at Shane and walks out the door. There is no escaping Brim’s walk.
“May I help you, ma’am?” Shane asks following her before she reaches the wagon.
“Thank you kindly but I believe I can manage.” Brim smiles under her hat, tilting it to show perfectly white teeth and mocha brown eyes.
After watching Brim’s retreating figure for moments, Shane walks back into the General Mercantile.
“A few of the local cuties could take lessons on that walk!” Shane chuckles to himself. “Even in chaps that’s one helluva woman.”
“What can I do for you, Loner?” Roger says. Word has traveled fast about the show-down with Matt Grady and his bunch. It is common knowledge how Shane picked off five of his men before getting grazed in the left shoulder. Wyatt finished the rest of the gang, nine men in all.
“Tell me about Brim?” Shane questions.
“My niece is the twin daughter of Norman Murdock, guess I don’t have to tell you who he is?” Roger grins.
“Only the biggest cattle rancher this side of the Pecos, no you don’t have to tell me.” Shane grins back.
“Well, she never took to the fancy dolling up her Ma Emily tries to instill in her. She’s just a natural born cow-hand like her brother Monroe. But pretty as a picture that girl is.” Roger says beaming.
“You’d never tell by looking at her.” Shane adds.
“No you wouldn’t. I reckon that she’s about the prettiest little thing that graced the Murdock family … or maybe I’m just prejudiced.” Roger smiles. “Would you like to meet her?”
“Yes, I would like to meet her, thanks Roger.” Shane says.
“No problem … I know that you’ve got yourself a reputation as a ladies’ man but then you ain’t met Brim.” Roger chuckles, “I’ll give you directions and meet you out there about 7:30 pm. This will give me time to finish up at the store. Wyatt and Mattie will probably be there also.”
“I will see you then, Roger. And, again thanks for your hospitality.” Shane says as he picks up his packages and heads to the hotel. Shane thinks this is really going to be an interesting evening and decides to reserve a hot bath.
The evening is a complete success with Shane entertaining the men with some of his less than admirable antics. While the men enjoy cigars in the parlor the women move onto the front porch. There is a gentle breeze as Mattie and Brim occupy the swing with Emily and Roger’s wife Sophie finding comfort and big white wicker chairs. All seating arrangements are armed with oversized pillows of various colors.
“Well … what do you think of Wyatt’s friend?” Mattie starts the conversation.
“I observed him on the first night he arrived in Dodge. I had some last minute shopping to do and I happen to see him get called out.” Brim says.
“Wyatt told me about that.” Mattie recalls.
“He handles himself well.” Brim states, “and he’s extremely pleasant on the eyes.”
All women shake their heads in agreement and laugh.
The next day and the following days Brim and Shane get a chance to really get to know each other. It isn’t long before wedding bells are ringing for the Loner and Brim. A separate house is erected for the new couple and they spend many nights watching the sunset lazily in the West.
“The Loner is now going to be a part of a trio!” laughs Brims.