The Reel Cowboy
Essays on the Myth in Movies and Literature
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About the Book
Movies and books have romanticized the life of the cowboy. To most, the heroes of countless Westerns fall into one of three categories: the strong, silent, asexual deliverer of damsels in distress; the slick and gaudy guitar-strummer; and the virile, violent drifter. In truth, real cowboys had little in common with the fictionalized characters of literature and the silver screen.
The “reel” cowboys of yesteryear are recalled in Part One of this work. The make-believe West of Gene Autry, Buck Jones, Harry Carey, and many others is contrasted with the real American West. Part Two discusses the many movies based on the writings of Western writers. The works of Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour, Max Brand, Luke Short, Ernest Haycox and many others have been transformed to the silver screen, often with great success. Next examined are the movies based upon three writers of the great Northwest: James Oliver Curwood, Jack London and Rex Beach. A concluding section looks at cinema cowboys on the so-called “sawdust trail.” Will Rogers, Tom Mix, Jack Hoxie were among those reel cowboys who performed in circuses and Wild West shows.
About the Author(s)
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, filmographies, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2014 
Table of Contents
Part I. The Reel Cowboy 1
1. The Reel Cowboy’s Drift from Realism 2
Part II. Western Literature as Hollywood Filmed It 37
2. Zane Grey 38
3. Other Writers of the West 69
Part III. Cinematic Trails of the Snow Country 169
4. James Oliver Curwood 170
5. Jack London 220
6. Rex Beach 239
Part IV. Cowboys Under the Big Top 259
7. Cinema Cowboys Hit the Sawdust Trail 260
Book Reviews & Awards
“illuminating and very interesting comparisons…much interesting information”—Past Times; “lively, easily-readable, and humorous”—Christian Library Journal; “an intriguing character study…written intelligently, and with a real appreciation for the genre”—Suite101.com; “a much needed history of our cowboy heroes”—Western Clippings.