A Deep Dive into Classic Western Movies: Jeremiah Johnson

Jeremiah Johnson

 

For those of you who have been reading my blog for some time you know this movie holds a special place in my heart.

Not only is it the BEST Mountain Man movie ever made IMO, it is an amazing story BASED on a REAL LIFE Character that went by the name of “Liver Eating Johnson.”

The book “Crow Killer: The Saga of Liver Eating Johnson” by Raymond W. Thorpe Jr. is a worthwhile read.

 

 

Surviving Winter: A Mountain Man Pictorial Tribute

Surviving Winter

 

As a writer I very often rely on True West Magazine to supply me with both information and inspiration for my short stories and novels.

This pictorial tribute of Surviving Winter went a long way in helping me get started on a follow up to my “Red Tail” Jack Patterson Mountain Man series.

You can read the first installment of this series titled “Medicine Gun” HERE.

 

 

Bustamonte, I Hate You

Bustamonte, I Hate You

 

I can remember as a kid reading through my dad’s stack of Shooting Magazine and always looking forward to Skeeter Skelton’s articles.

Those articles were like western short stories…stories that briefly transported you to a simpler, honest and more rugged time.

Enjoy the ride, I know I did.

 

 

¿Quien es, Pete?

¿Quien es, Pete?

 

As far as Old West History goes, no other person or story had a more profound impact on me as a writer than Billy the Kid.

When I was fifteen years old, my parents took me on a three-week summer RV trip to New Mexico, Colorado and Utah.

While in New Mexico we spent three days touring Fort Sumner and Lincoln to include the Lincoln County Courthouse and Jail from which Billy broke out of in 1881 (the bullet hole from where he shot Deputy J.W. Bell is still in the wall).

I think the jail scene from Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) nails it:

 

 

I have read over half a dozen books about Billy the Kid and his demise at the hands of Pat Garrett, his long time friend and although it is fanciful to entertain the notion that Pat allowed Billy to escape that night (as proffered in the recent western Old Henry) the historical record is clear: Billy the Kid was shot down like a dog in the middle of the night by a man he loved and trusted.

If you have not seen Old Henry yet, check it out and read my review HERE. 

 

Old West Advice…Lessons Learned from Wyatt Earp

OLD WEST ADVICE…LESSONS LEARNED FROM WYATT EARP

 

1. “No wise man ever took a handgun to a gunfight.”

Earp obviously knew the advantage of weapon superiority. If you know your opponent is armed with a handgun, bring a shotgun, or rifle. Give yourself every advantage possible. You don’t want to fight fair. You fight to win. Something to think about for home defense.

2. “The most important lesson I ever learned was the winner of a gunplay usually was the one who took his time. The second was if I hoped to live on the frontier, I would shun flashy trick-shooting, grandstand play, as I would poison. In all my life as a frontier peace officer, I did not know a really proficient gunfighter who had anything but contempt for the gun fanner, or man who literally shot from the hip.”

The saying “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” applies here. Also, a fast miss never neutralized anyone. Guns have sights on them for a reason. Use them! Pick up your front sight during combat shooting. As Gunsite, famous fighting school preaches, “front sight, press” is the key to winning armed confrontations.

3. “Fast is Fine, But Accuracy is Everything…”

Again, a fast miss never helped anyone.

Take the time to use your front sight for making solid hits. The spray and pray mentality is useless with today’s high-capacity semi-autos.

4. “The most important lesson I learned was the winner of a gunplay usually was the one who took his time.”
This is related to #3. Take your time, but do it quickly, ensuring a smooth draw. Pick your front sight up and press your trigger smoothly, not jerking your shot, missing your adversary.

5. “Shooting at a man who is returning the compliment means going into action with the greatest speed of which a man’s muscles are capable, but mentally unflustered by an urge to hurry, or the need for complicated nervous and muscular actions which trick shooting involves.”

All this means is don’t lose your head. Easier said than done, but a cool head will prevail. Focus on the mechanics of a smooth draw and calculated shot. Fast shooting is useless in the “spray and pray” fashion. Remember your training. We all revert to training under stress … which emphasizes how vital proper training is.

If you’re not formally trained, do it. Training is the most important accessory you can buy, more than any gun, or ammo.