I was nodding in my “Comfy Chair” with the widescreen set to one of my favorite channels, the “Western Channel!” I regressed in time mentally to when I was 10 years old.
My Dad was a western fan and would watch all of the tv westerns. Back in the day, there were many tv westerns; “Bonanza”, “Gunsmoke”, “Cheyenne”, “Have Gun Will Travel”, “Laramie”, “Tombstone”, :Wanted Dead Or Alive”, “Maverick”, “Wagon Train”, “Rawhide”, “The Rifleman”, :The Virginian”, “Bat Masterson”, “The Life & Legend Of Wyatt Earp”, “The Big Valley”, “The High Chaparral”, “The adventures of Jim Bowie”, “The Lone Ranger” ( My Dad played a bad guy on a few radio broadcasts out of the Fisher Building in Detroit) “The Cisco Kid”, “Davy Crockett”, “Daniel Boone”, “Death Valley Days”, “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman”, “Longmire”, “F Troop”, “Fury”, the list goes on.
Western Movies also led the way for tv shows. The first western movie was “The Great Train Robbery!” The first western tv show is the Hopalong Cassidy series. The first one-hour tv show was “Cheyenne!”
Having grown up in a family that loved westerns, I began to wonder what draws many people to watch westerns, new and old. I enjoy good black & white westerns, but I do not like some older ones with poor sound, fuzzy camera shots, and flickering lighting.
I love westerns that have a lot of footage of the scenery of the west. Movies like “The Big Country,” “Cimmaron,” “Dances with Wolves,” “Open Range,” “Shane,” and the list goes on. Watching a western for me growing up in Royal Oak, Michigan, was an escape to another part of the country that seemed like another world.
One of the attractions for many people about the earlier western movies and shows, was that it was often effortless to know who the good and bad guys were. In some early movies, the good guys wore white, and the bad guys wore black.
Many western plots were variations of a theme. There would often be a damsel in a bad situation not of her doing; and the good guy would somehow make a connection with her on a stagecoach or a chance meeting. Soon the bad guys would enter the script. The good guys would help the lady out of a bad situation, which often ended with a gunfight, and the bad guy would die. The good guy and his new gal would live happily ever after, or the good guy would ride off into the sunset at the show’s end.
The escapism and simplicity of the good guy vs. the bad guy. The positive outcome in many westerns is that the good guy wins, everyone is happy, and life in the west continues. I have too many personal favorites to list them all. Most John Wayne movies, Conagher, and many of the movies and shows named earlier.
I find my westerns on antenna tv shows, Grit and Me TV, western streaming channels, and premium movie channels. There is just something about the good guy winning that makes me smile. I have spent a bit of time around horses, feeding, watering, and mucking out stalls. I have taken a few vacations out west, but Michigan will always be home!
“Remember, every day is a gift! Some are just a little more fun to open than others. – © Joel M. Vernier 01/15/2023 Author of: “The Guinea Pig In The Freezer.” firstname.lastname@example.org