Saturday, 25 July 2009


Sorry everyone but I cannot manage this blog on my own so I'm quitting.
But.....I'm not going away.
In the words of the Terminator - I'll be back!
Thanks for following me.

Monday, 6 July 2009


Wimbledon is not my scene. No way. But yesterday's final was something else.
On the one hand there was the Swiss tennis player, Roger Federer, looking to make his 15th grand slam and beat a record set by Pete Sampras.
On the other was an American, Andy Roddick, all out to prove something to himself.
Strangely, I found myself rooting for Andy Roddick. I don't know why because he had dumped Andy Murray out of the finals.
From the start it looked good when Andy Roddick broke Roger Federer's serve in the first set and it looked like he was going to make it two in a row until Andy Roddick stuttered a bit in the tie-break.
Roger Federer won the next two sets on a tie break but Andy Roddick didn't play like it was all over. No he broke Roger Federer's serve in the fourth set and took the match into a fifth and final set.
This was the showdown and there was no give in either player. This could have gone either way.
Roger Federer had failed to break Andy Roddick's serve but Andy had broken Federer's twice.
If the odds favoured anyone then it had to be Andy Roddick.
The fifth set at Wimbledon does not have a tie-break so this match went into epic mode. This was edge of the seat stuff. Both men had to be both physically and mentally exhausted but they fought on. As Roger Federer had served first his score would always be in front. In the 30th game of the set Roger Federer finally got that vital break of serve that had him lift the trophy.
Final score:
Roger Federer 5 7 7 3 16
Andy Roddick 7 6 6 6 14
To me the match might have been epic and Roger Federer may have broken records to become Wimbledon Champion. But Andy Roddick made him fight for it. Every match has to have winners and losers but yesterday's final in my mind - both men were winners.

Sunday, 28 June 2009


Hi I'm going out on a limb here.
This is the opening chapter of a book that I'm writing. I would appreciate some constructive criticism please. Good or bad - OK?

Peter Averillo

The sun was a huge orange ball that was, slowly, sinking into the distant horizon. Diffused light painted the town purple with stretched black pools of shadow.
Against the sun both the stationary horse and rider were a black silhouette that cast a long deep shadow down the hard packed, purple rutted, sun reddened earth that formed the main street.
The rider sat still, moving only to pull a roll of paper from a black leather boot. With a flick of the wrist the poster unfurled enough for the rider to study the artist’s impression of the wanted man. Another wrist movement allowed the paper to curl back again before it was replaced.
Shaded eyes looked down the street where some shopkeepers, unaware of the rider’s presence, commenced shutting down their stores. Blinds were pulled shutting away the day before some retired to their backrooms to count their takings.
None of which was of interest to the rider who gently nudged the horse into a slow trot down the street towards the town’s only saloon. Here the rider dismounted and tied the reins to the hitch rail before climbing the two steps to the boardwalk. There was no hesitation as the rider swung through the batwing doors and stepped up to the bar.
The saloon was like any other. The bar ran the length of the saloon; the floor was covered in sawdust and circular tables were scattered around a potbelly stove. A couple of men sat at one table, their beers forgotten, as they played a game of chequers. In the far corner were four men playing poker – a couple of cowboys, a salesman and Aaron Park. Park’s was the face that adorned the poster that had interested the rider.
“Hey, feller,” a painted, buxom lady greeted as she approached the stranger. “Name’s Marie. Buy me a drink and maybe – just maybe, I’ll show you a good time.”
A pair of ice-cold green eyes swung in her direction and froze the smile to her face.
“I don’t -,” Marie spluttered, backing away.
“Nor do I,” the stranger replied, the voice soft and husky.
Marie gave the stranger a good looking over.
The stranger couldn’t be more than five foot five nor weigh much more than one hundred and thirty pounds – if that – with a slim, compact figure. Dressed in a black denim waist length jacket that matched the black jeans tucked into knee high black leather boots.
Around the waist was a black leather gun belt with a silver eagle buckle and rigged for a left-handed draw. Close to the butt of the pistol rested a black leather gloved hand; the moleskin leather stretched tight like a second layer of skin.
The only change to the colour scheme was the grey shirt unbuttoned to mid chest and exposed a smooth expanse of lightly tanned skin.
The face beneath the wide brimmed, low crowned black hat and framed by a mane of black hair, was triangular in shape – but it was the eyes, shaded by the hat brim, above high cheekbones that held Marie’s attention.
“Park winning or losing?” The stranger asked of Marie.
“Winnin’,” Marie replied with a smirk, finding it amusing that this kid was hunting a known killer of men. “Then he always does.”
“Has to lose sometime,” the stranger shrugged with eyes watching Park as he scooped a fistful of dollars from the pot and stacked them in front of him.
“Kid,” Marie advised, earnestly. “You ain’t gonna fool him. You look the part but he’ll be wise to you. He’ll cut you down while uppin’ the ante with them.”
A slight smile touched the stranger’s lips.
“Touched by your concern, Marie,” the stranger said, genuinely, eyes swinging towards the intended target. “But I guess he’s made his last bid.”
“Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Marie sighed with resignation. “Aaron Park’s planted too many kids like you. Still, you look like your minds made up; so don’t know why I’m botherin’. You’re funeral, kid.”
“Wrong,” the soft voice was as cold as those green eyes. “It’s his.”
The stranger bent down to slide the poster from the boot before striding across the room to where Park was dealing a fresh hand.
“Let’s up the ante,” Park suggested, thumbing his grubby, grey felt hat, further back to reveal a balding pate. “Five dollars?”
“Five hundred sounds better,” the soft voice interrupted, as the stranger tossed the wanted poster onto Park’s stake. “Either way I win.”
Park unrolled the poster, then grinned: “Dead or alive, now, huh?”
“Which way’s it going to be?” the stranger asked, the eyes watchful.
“Neither,” Park sighed as he looked up at the stranger. “And this is one bet you’re going to lose.”
The other three card players were quick to scrape back their chairs and get clear of this sudden arena. The stranger did not bat an eye but did step back a pace or two in anticipation. Nor was that move made too soon for Park upended the table scattering cards, money and beer glasses across the floor. At the same time he went for his gun, only to stand there open mouthed as the gun in the black-leathered hand erupted twice. Two bullets, one to the chest and the other to the head slammed him back into the wall. For a moment or two the body leaned there before sliding down, leaving twin trails of blood, to slump in a sitting position. With his head lolling to one side and his unfired gun resting in his lap it looked as though Aaron Park had fallen asleep.
The stranger whirled around but there was no threat from the other card players for they all had flung their hands in the air the moment the gun barrel arced in their direction.
“Anyone else want to play?” they were asked.
All three shook their heads.
“Then best you take your money back,” the stranger suggested – head nodding to indicate the dead man. “Feller, there, was dealing from the bottom of the pack. Guess tonight he was the one got fleeced.”
“Man,” the salesman gasped, as he rushed over to crouch down and help himself to a wad of cash. “Never seen anything like that. Been in many places but never seen a fast draw – not like that.”
This as the batwings crashed open and the law and its deputy rushed in.
“What was all that shootin’ about?” the law demanded, as his deputy raked the room with his rifle held at waist level.
“That kid just took down Aaron Park,” Marie offered, pointing towards the stranger.
The law glanced at the stranger and burst out laughing: “You gotta be kiddin’ me. That kid?” then looked towards the dead man. “Get up Park you ain’t foolin’ no one.”
The law stomped over to where Park lay and studied the blood trail before beginning to believe that he was staring at a corpse. While he was taking this all in the stranger rolled a cigarette and had just lit it when the law looked up.
“What you have to go and do this for?” the law demanded.
“The money,” came the soft, disinterested voice. “What other reason could there be?”
“The money?” the law repeated, as his eyes located the poster.
“Five hundred dollars,” the stranger pointed out through a haze of smoke. “Just like it says there.”
The law climbed to his feet and looked over to the deputy.
“Joe, go get the ‘Taker,” he suggested, before turning back to the stranger. “You’d best foller me. But I’ll say this you’d better spend that money quick. Park had a few friends and they’re goin’ to come lookin’ for you.”
“And I’ll be waiting,” the stranger assured him.
“Not here you won’t,” the law replied, grimly. “You take your money and git.”
“Don’t intend hanging around,” the stranger shrugged. “Just tell anyone who’s looking that I’ll be in a little town called Clementine.”
“And who should they look for?” the law wondered out loud.
“The name’s Darke,” the stranger supplied, with an impish grin. “Morgana Darke.”

Copyright: Chantel Foster 2009

Saturday, 27 June 2009


A Black Horse Western published by Robert Hale Ltd of London.
June 2009
Sam Bowden is one spoilt brat and his dad, Clem Bowden, is always bailing him out of one bit of bother after another. Now he's gone that step to far and killed a saloon girl something where a fine or a night in the cells can't solve.
Sheriff Cole Masters has no choice but to see Sam Bowden stand trial for his crime.
But Clem Bowden is not a man to stand aside and watch his son hang or rot in prison. Oh, no he has a plan to set his son free and frame the lawman for the killing.
Knowing that he has the town in the palm of his hand Clem knows that no one will be idiot enough to stand with the lawman so Cole Masters has no choice but to handle things on his own.
And with Masters' fiance and best friend held hostage there is not much that he can do.
So Cole loses his badge and his self respect. There is only one thing that he can do and that is get to the Judge before anyone else does and explain everything.
Sam Bowden, who his father has made sheriff heads a posse that is joined by two professional guns Boyd and Quill. I loved the interplay between these characters and Sam Bowden who really throws a tantrum as he's supposed to be the one in charge and, therefore, thinks he knows better.
This book is full of real people that I could relate to. As a straight western this is a good read.
I got something more for there is another level in this book and this comes to the surface when Jessie, the schoolteacher fiance of Cole Masters, tackles Clem Bowden head on and discovers the man's weakness and the reader is left in no doubt that he knows that he is in the wrong but he loves his son and must do whatever it takes to protect him. It's a magic moment.
I like writers who can take modern issues and take them back in time. It goes to show that some problems are not as new as people imagine.
This one goes on my list for the new proposed western section at the school library (proving that the Wild West Monday idea can work).

Friday, 26 June 2009


After the success of Red Dead Revolver the makers of Grand Theft Auto are due to release another western themed computer console game. Red Dead Redemption has notorious outlaw, John Marston, hired by 'The Bureau' to police the untamed wild west.
I enjoyed the first in the series and it is a great way to introduce people to westerns.
Another new game coming out is Star Ocean: The Last Hope. I thought that you might find the main hero's name amusing. It is Edge Maverick. Is this a game created by a western fan, I wonder?
Sorry for the lack of new posts but I'm taking time off in Wales. Went to the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff but couldn't find Captain Jack. I'm a great fan of Torchwood and it was fun to stand where some of the scenes are shot.
A new series of Torchwood starts on Monday 6th July on BBC 1. Five episodes will be shown on consecutive nights. A few nights in then.

Friday, 19 June 2009

FURY by Jim Austin

The moment John Fury spots a wagon train at a standstill in Pawnee country he knows that something is wrong. What has happened is that the wagonmaster, Leander Crofton, has been unseated from his horse that had been spooked by a rattler. Not only had he been stomped on by his own horse but run over by the oxen of the lead wagon.
Fury promises the dying man to lead the wagon train to Colorado Territory.
The scout for the train is a negro freedman called Joe Brackett. Through references to the difference between freedmen and runaway slaves the author manages to convey that the story is set before the American Civil War.
The book is full of characters like the veteren Amos Duggan who senses that age is overtaking him that he has decided that it is time to settle. And the level headed Doctor Gerald Lonigan who is the voice of reason when things get a bit tense.
Against these are Carson Thorn who is a gambler out for his own gain and backed by the shady Kreeg. Always feigning innocence when accused of cheating.
The character that I liked was the Polish tailor, Leo Sidowky, who had left New York to build a new life. He was driving the lead wagon that had run over the wagonmaster. It was a great piece of story telling that tells of this man's growth in character.
And there is love interest with the schoolteacher, Bess Jackson, who seems to be playing Fury against the foreman of the hands driving a bunch of cattle behind the wagon train.
For me life on a wagon train was an eye opener as I did not know that that a wagon train barely made a dozen miles a day, if that.
While there is danger from attack by the Pawnees the biggest problems that these people face come from nature itself.
An really marvellous book and I am looking for more by this writer.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


GCSEs done and just the results to come.
No more school. Education's done.
Taking time out
To get about.

Not really sure what to do next. Most off my life so far has been stuck behind a school desk and college doesn't appeal right now. Maybe, I'll take a gap year and find my own level and try a few things out.
I have to admire my mum, though, she's off to Uni in Wales to study law.
She said she couldn't do it. Not at her age.
A couple of days later Granddad gave her the train fare and told her to meet some chap at the Royal Courts of Justice. Three months later she passed an exam and got a certificate. Now she's going to Uni.

As for me. He just says give it time. Let's see what results you get.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

COYOTE DEADLY by Lance Howard

Brint, Marcus and Billy Chullo are brothers who ride into a small town called Thanody. The people there have sworn off violence which means that they will do nothing to stop the Chullo brothers from doing whatever they want.
They are welcomed by a well meaning townsman who Marcus beats up and the tone of the first part of the book is set. Knowing that the townspeople will do nothing to stop them the brothers do what they like during which a girl is raped, killed and hung from the branch of a tree.
Meanwhile, Josh Dellin, a friend of the lawman in Dark Springs is asked a favour which is to bring in the three Chullo brothers for the rape and murder of another woman in another town.
He is warned that there could be a problem with the father Miguel Chullo who is a powerful landowner with friends in high places.
Josh then heads to Thanody but the people are close lipped about what happened there. Except for Melissa who saw everything and volunteers to go with Josh. The town elder is not happy about this and tells her to go home as she has not been given permission to speak. If she does not the elder threatens to punish her. Josh gives Melissa a bit of support and though he does not want her tagging along she leaves town with him.
In this book the author, Lance Howard, returns to the similar theme of the effects of child abuse that lay behind his previous book 'The Devil's Rider' but does not tread over old ground. Instead he tackles the issue from another angle. Because of the abuse dished out by Miguel Chullo on his sons they think that they can do the same to others. Just the same as the way they saw their mother treated so they, in turn, treat women the same way. Just so long as they don't do it in Coyote Creek which is Miguel's home turf.
And then there is the so called God fearing Mr Herridge the elder in Thanody who is not much better than a bully who rules by fear.
Of course, this is fiction and everything is tied up neatly but not always the case in real life. In this book and the previous book 'The Devil's Rider' Lance Howard has tackled and brought real life issues to the front and should be read by people of all ages.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

D-DAY: 6th June 1944

65 years ago the British, Canadians and Americans landed on the French Coast at Normandy.
They landed on Gold, Sword, Juno, Utah and Omaha beaches against harsh German defences.
The men pictured above all played their part. My great granddad in the RAF uniform to the right seated. His brothers Eddie and Alan were in the Army and Peter Thompson in the Navy.
They survived World War 2 but I never knew them as by the time I was born they had died.
What I do know is that because of men like them who lived and died fighting for what they believed in that I live the life that I do now.

Friday, 5 June 2009


This 1971 movie was directed by Mario Gariazzo who also wrote the screenplay with Ferndinando Poggi.
Run time: 94 mins
Lincoln Tate as Acquasanta Joe
Ty Hardin as Colonel Donovan
Richard Harrison as Charlie Bennett
Silvia Monelli as Estella
The American Civil War has just ended when Confederate Colonel Donovan and his gang capture a cannon and take up bank robbery.
Acquasanta Joe is a bounty hunter who has managed to earn $50,000 plus interest all of which he has put in a bank. A bank that Donovan robs and Joe goes off to get his money back.
Of course, the Army want their cannon back and put an end to Donovan and his gang.
So all the makings of a good film we thought.
For some unexplained reason Acquasanta Joe is hired by Donovan to bring in Charlie Bennett who ran off with the proceeds of the bank robbery. After some water torture Bennett admits that the money was buried in his mother's grave. The grave is empty though as Acquasanta Joe has taken the money and made a deal with the army to trap the outlaws. And we found ourselves wondering how this piece of the storyline worked as Joe couldn't have got the money from the coffin without Bennett knowing.
Anyway to cut a long story short Donovan and his gang find an empty coffin, ambush the cavalry who are about to hang Bennett who hangs anyway. The gang fall out and Acquasanta Joe teams up with Donovan to dispose of the rest of the gang. Joe takes on a cannon with a bow and arrow. Donovan escapes and Joe finishes up with the girl.
And the cavalry never turn up in the nick of time.
Most of the actors are a bit cardboardy and wooden and only Ty Hardin looked as though he was enjoying himself.
Some of the scenes go on for too long as though the actors are waiting to find out what they have to do next.
The film is also irritating for bad voice synch.
Marcello Giombini's music doesn't help either.
Not the best advert for spaghetti westerns but it only cost a £1 from a charity shop.
Not on our recommended list.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


Written and directed by Joel Hershman this 2000 movie stars:
Clive Owen as Colin Briggs
Helen Mirren as Georgina Woodhouse
David Kelly as Fergus Wilks
Warren Clarke as Governor Hodge
Danny Dyer as Tony
Adam Fogarty as Raw
Paterson Joseph as Jimmy
Natasha Little as Primrose Woodhouse
Okay so it's not a western but a film about gardening. Not kidding this film is about plants and gardening.
It is based on the real story about the inmates of Her Majesty's Prison Leyhill.
Colin Briggs is sent to a minimum security prison to finish his sentence for murder and be put up for parole. He shares a cell with the elderly but wise Fergus Wilks who is in for killing three of his wives but knows that he will never leave prison as he has cancer.
For Christmas Fergus gives Colin a packet of Viola seeds that Colin plants close to the football pitch. Come the spring they have grown and the Governor is so impressed because plants like that have never grown in the prison grounds before.
As a result the prisoners become gardeners and their garden comes to the notice of the prominent garden expert Georgina Woodhouse. She employs the prisoners as a gardening team for one of her own projects.
Colin is given parole but breaks it so that he can get back into prison to lead a team that enters a display at the Hampton Court Garden Show. Their entry wins them an audience with the Queen because she thought that 'they had been robbed.'
This is really a wonderful film and should be better known. Clive Owen who we knew from 'Sin City' and 'Shoot 'Em Up' shows another side to his acting and impressed.
None of us could believe that we could enjoy a film so much about gardening but we did. It was shown on BBC One last night but I've had to order the dvd as I want it in my collection.
In the following years the prison did exhibit again winning silver and gold medals before winning the prestigious Tudor Rose Award.

Monday, 1 June 2009


I hold my hands up and admit that I have never read a Jack Giles book.
Until the other day that is.
When it's revision time it's not that easy to take out time to read but by the end of half-term I thought that I should take a break.
'Poseidon Smith:Vengeance Is Mine' was Jack Giles first book published in 1984 by Robert Hale.
The first few chapters follows three violent men who are released from prison after a ten year prison sentence. I got to know these three so well that I disliked them. All they want to do is kill the man who ran off with the proceeds of a robbery and left them to rot in the prison.
The book moves from them to the quiet town of Ruskin, Texas and the happy event that is taking place. The preacher's sister, Andromeda, is about to get engaged to the local rancher - except that the rancher is not all that he makes out to be.
The Sunday School children are to be given a treat and are being shown how a big ranch works.
All arranged by the preacher, Poseidon Smith, who manages to bring people around to doing things that he suggests by making them think that they thought of the idea in the first place.
And Poseidon Smith talks like a preacher and, I think, is what attracted me to this character.
The mood of the book changes and it disturbed me.
The outlaws arrive and a shoot out comes about as they try to escape and caught in the middle are the Sunday School children. There are casualties on all sides and that included the children. I didn't expect that and I don't know if anyone has done that before.
Stung by the tragedy Poseidon Smith struggles with his faith and blames himself. Armed with an ancient pepper pot pistol he hunts the killers down but he does not know until the end just who he is going to face.
The book reads like a film and I could 'see' it all happening.
I asked the author why he included the scene that disturbed me.
"Reality. Back at the time when when Texas was fighting to be free of Mexican rule there was an incident in Missouri. The Mormons had populated an area called Haun's Mill and most people resented the presence of these 'Chosen People' so they took matters into their own hands. They didn't care who they killed in that massacre - men, women and children were fair game. In 'Poseidon Smith' the attitude of the outlaws is 'if it moves kill it' and, in real life, as you see on the news children are the casualties of war.
I don't know what was in my mind when I wrote the book but I would guess that I was thinking something like that at the time. Couple that with this thought - what would have broken Poseidon Smith's faith?"
Despite it all I found this book to be, well, things stick in my mind. That has to be a good thing.

Sunday, 31 May 2009


Wild West Monday is here and I have my Maths GCSE later this morning and I can't sleep.
Well, that's teenage life for you but to the point. We asked Jack Giles why the western genre is so important to him.

"It would be easy to say that the western takes me back to my younger years but that is what it does.
What westerns do is take the reader back to a time that was while, at the same time, it is a world that can be escaped into. There are a number of things that are happening in the world today that are reflected in what people are reading bookwise.
The western covers a period of time that stretches from the end of the American Civil War to about the turn of the century - the 20th century. It was a hard time with people trying to recover from the war and cope with the peace. Many had to uproot themselves or were uprooted by change and build a new life in a hostile and violent country.
It was also a time when myths and legends were born with figures like Billy The Kid and Wyatt Earp.
All this against a background of cattle drives, farmers fighting to make a living and the rise of the bounty hunter. A harsh time when survival was the biggest prize.
All these elements play their part in the fictional west.
You can go to a movie and come out feeling like John Wayne but a book can take you to places you've never been. Books give you characters that you can relate to in a way that movies cannot. Unlike movies the heroes in books are not larger than life they are more human and find themselves caught up in situations that seem to be against them.
It doesn't matter whether you read Black Horse Westerns or the latest in Jon Sharpe's 'The Trailsman' series it is all good escapism.
Many books are available at local libraries or on Ebay. More importantly books should be available in bookstores and supermarkets - but when will the paperback publishers realise that.
Surely by now they should be realising that in the time of a credit crunch no one wants to read the latest adventure of a Shopaholic. Or that they are publishing books that just sit on the shelves.
Time to bring back westerns and with the growing interest in them it makes sense to put books out into the hands of the reading public."

Thank you, Jack Giles.
Later today I will be putting up a review of a book I read during half-term.

Saturday, 30 May 2009


Written and Directed by Burt Kennedy
Raquel Welch as Hannie Caulder
Robert Culp as Thomas Luther Price
Ernest Borgnine as Emmett Clemens
Jack Elam as Frank Clemens
Strother Martin as Rufus Clemens
Christopher Lee as Bailey
This is a good revenge movie for the girls.
Boys will like it too even if it to just watch Hannie Caulder do her stuff in nothing more than a poncho and tight fitting jeans.
The Clemens brothers are not very bright and bungle a bank robbery after which they are chased over the border by Mexican soldiers. They lose one of their horses and try to steal another from the way station run by Hannie Caulder and her husband. They kill the husband and gang rape Hannie before setting fire to the house with her inside.
The gang ride off and Hannie escapes to fall in with a bounty hunter called Thomas Luther Price who she tries to get to teach her how to use a gun.
At first he refuses but he gives in and takes her to see an English gunsmith called Bailey who makes her a special gun.
They arrive in town and meet up with the Clemens brothers and it gets pretty violent.
This is a violent film and it is good to see a woman in the gunfighter role. The film is shot in a style similar to that of the Italian westerns but this is a British movie with American actors and an appearance of the iconic film actress Diana Dors as a brothel madame.
We enjoyed 'Hannie Caulder' but I think that we watched it for different reasons.

THE TAINTED ARCHIVE has a petition

The Tainted Archive has a link to an on-line petition that will be sent to publishers to encourage them to put western books in shops and supermarkets. Please sign the petition.

Saturday, 23 May 2009


The Bravados (1958)
Run time: 93 mins
Screenplay by Philip Yordan based on the book by Frank O'Rourke.
Directed by Henry King
Gregory Peck as Jim Douglass
Joan Collins as Josefa Valverde
Stephen Boyd as Bill Zachary
Albert Salmi as Ed Taylor
Henry Silva as Lujan
Lee Van Cleef as Alfonso Parral
Jim Douglass rides into the town of Rio Arriba just to see four men hang. After taking a look at the men who he doesn't really know he meets up with an old flame, Josefina, and they have a meal together. She is looking after her father's ranch but as soon as Jim tells her he has a daughter Josefina seems to lose interest. Later, though, she gets the whole story and she gets interested again.
Enter the hangman who joins Jim for a drink and they while away their time together. When it gets dark and everyone has gone to church the hangman goes into action. He stabs the lawman who shoots him dead but the four men get the keys and escape.
Jim Douglass becomes a part of the posse because he wants the four men dead for the rape and murder of his wife.
One by one he catches up with them and disposes of them until only Lujan is left. But when Jim catches up with him he finds out that everything is not as it had seemed to Jim.
This film has a plodding start but was worth staying with once the men escaped from jail. Most of the revenge killings are hinted at rather than shown. Each time he meets up with an outlaw he shows them a photo of his wife but he doesn't get the message that they have no idea of who she is.
This film may not appeal to everybody but worth, at least, a look.

Sunday, 17 May 2009


O.K. so the next Wild West Monday is just two weeks away and publishers are ignoring us.
So, we would like it if there was some support out there for Gary Dobbs and his idea at The Tainted Archive.
We would like our younger readers of our blog to e-mail or write to publishers to show that the younger generation are interested in westerns.
In America there is a company called Bantam books and it's owned by Transworld Publishers and they publish Corgi books here in the UK. Once upon a time Corgi published the likes of Louis L'Amour, J. T. Edson and series like 'Herne The Hunter'.
Another publisher is Penguin Books who also publish westerns in America but not here.
Just a couple of suggestions.
And another thought. If those westerns are only published in America what about those American authors? I mean if their books aren't sold in the UK then they are losing out on royalties - aren't they? Maybe, they should be asking their publishers why as well.

One last thing and this is for the younger generation. It's nice to know that our blog is 'cool' but leave comments sometime even if it's anonymous just so that others know that we are not alone.

Saturday, 16 May 2009


The Professionals (1966)
Written and directed by Richard Brooks
based on the book by Frank O'Rourke
Burt Lancaster as Bill Dolworth
Lee Marvin as Rico Farden
Robert Ryan as Hans Ehrengard
Woody Strode as Jake Sharp
Jack Palance as Jesus Raza
Claudia Cardinale as Maria
Ralph Bellamy as Mr Grant
Mr Grant is a self made man (so he keeps telling everyone at the beginning of the movie) who's wife Maria has been kidnapped by a gang of Mexican bandits led by Jesus Raza. He hires a bunch of men to go and get her back. Each of the men hired are experts in their own field. Dollworth is an explosives man, Farden is a tactitian, Ehrengard a horse wrangler and Sharp is a tracker and has indian skills like the bow.
As the story develops it is discovered that Dollworth and Farden had fought alongside the bandit leader, Raza, and with Pancho Villa in the Mexican revolution but will kill Raza if they have to as a contract is a contract.
Once they cross the border they come across Raza's gang attacking a train so they follow along and recapture the train before going into Raza's camp. Under cover of diversionary fire Farden gets into Raza's house and leaves with Maria. But when they return to the train they find the Mexicans there.
They manage to escape and the Mexican's take up the chase and the odds get less and less until the four men manage to wound and capture Raza who they take along with them.
This was quite a tense and exciting film and the ending wasn't how we imagined it to be. There is good dialogue and banter between the characters and the last lines of the film made us chuckle.
Mr Grant: You bastard.
Farden: Yes, sir. In my case an accident of birth. But you sir are a self made man.
Excellent stuff and we would like to thank Joanne Walpole for recommending this film to us.
Joanne has her own blog and is also the writer Terry James who's book 'Long Shadows' is published at the end of this month.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

LAWMAN on dvd

LAWMAN (1971)
Burt Lancaster as Jared Maddox
Robert Ryan as Cotton Ryan
Lee J. Cobb as Vincent Bronson
Robert Duvall as Vern Adams
Sheree North as Laura Shelby
Joseph Wiseman as Lucas

Directed by Michael Winner

A bunch of drunken cowboys shoot up the town of Bannock and an old man is killed.
The lawman of Bannock, Jared Maddox, is after the killers but he has to go to the town of Sabbath to get the five men on his list.
He does all the right things by giving the list to the Marshal of Sabbath, Cotton Ryan, and asks him to bring them in. Cotton Ryan was good in his day but has settled into a quiet life and doesn't want to do it. Ryan has become a 'yes man' to the local cattle baron Vince Bronson who thinks that all he has to do for the matter to be forgotten is to pay off the dead man's family and give Maddox a 'little something' for his trouble.
Maddox can't be bought. The law's the law and justice has to be seen to be done even if that means that the five men get a slap on the wrist for the accidental killing. Without any help Jared Maddox has to do the job himself.
Bronson's foreman, Harvey Stenbaugh (Albert Salmi) has a better idea and that is to kill Maddox. An idea that two of the wanted men, Choctaw and Dekker, agree with. Stenbaugh confronts Maddox and, probably, wished that he didn't.
Eventually, Maddox catches up with Vern Adams who he wounds and while taking him back to town the lawman stops off at Laura Shelby's farm for the night. Laura is a former romantic interest of Maddox and it is not long before they are getting together again. Before long she is promising to make a go of it if Maddox can hang up his guns.
Maddox takes Adams in and tells Ryan that he is done and that he's leaving.
Unfortunately, there are others who want a different ending.
This is a real wow of a movie.
Burt Lancaster made us believe in his character as did all the other actors. What did surprise us was that there are no real bad guys in this and the plotlines were predictable and unpredictable at the same time.

Friday, 8 May 2009

THE ALAMO at The Tainted Archive

We have contributed a guest blog at The Tainted Archive about the two The Alamo films and we have to say thank you to Gary for this.
Just to add a bit more the silent 1911 film was called 'The Immortal Alamo' and starred Francis Ford who was the older brother of the film director John Ford.
We discovered this when we looked up the battle of The Alamo to find out which of the two modern films was the most accurate.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

LONG SHADOWS by Terry James

Ros West limps into town with blistered feet and a horse that has lost a shoe.
All she wants to do is find a place to clean up and get some sleep. Her progress is halted by a fight going on down an alley where Jake Rudd is being beaten up. Ros interupts the fight and when the three men get nasty with her Ros shows that she's not a woman to be messed with as she lets loose with a spray of bullets.
Although she wounds two of the men, the third gets behind her but not for long as Jake comes to her rescue. They escape to his hotel room where, in the lamplight, he recognises Ros. Just one problem she doesn't know him and she is wary as she draws her gun and holds it on him.
The problem is that she has no memory and with trouble following her Ros has no reason to trust Jake. But when friends and family are threatened by a power hungry businessman the long shadows of the past come full circle as Ros and Jake join forces.
I am looking forward to the rest of the book for Ros West does not strike me as the type of simpering heroine that waits for the hulking male to rescue her. A bit like the opposite I imagine. Also a reminder that women in the west were a lot tougher. They had to be to survive.
LONG SHADOWS by Terry James is a Black Horse Western that will be on sale on the 29th May 2009.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009


Okay so we e-mailed some publishers like Corgi and Penguin and so far not had a reply. I think that this is very rude. Don't they want young people to buy books or be interested in westerns?
I know that authors do want us to be interested but it seems that we are getting ignored by the publishers.
Magazines spend a lot of money getting us interested in fashion and make up and give us advice about boyfriends because they see us as the market for the future. But when it comes down to other things like the books that we read it is a different matter.
What we read now is what we would buy in the future. I've grown past 'Tracey Beaker' and 'Harry Potter' and I WANT to read something different. So wake up publishers and give us what WE want.

In the meantime please forgive the lack of posts on this site as I am revising for my GCSEs. Exams scare me enough but I think I'll get through.

Monday, 20 April 2009

HAWK no 1 - THE SUDDEN GUNS by William S Brady

Jared Hawk is hired by Philip Garrett to take him and his neice Sarah to Los Angeles, California. Seems simple enough but Hawk has to deal with a bunch of people that do not want the party to make it.
The story opens with Jared Hawk collecting the bounty on two wanted men and, in fairness, gives them the opportunity to give themselves up. Unfortunately, they elect to be the dead part on the Wanted poster.
It is a scene that sets Jared Hawk's character.
Wrapped around the main story are two other stories that relate to Hawk's past. There is the one about growing up with an abusive father who, when Hawk tries to fight back, plunges a pitchfork through his left hand. This explains why Hawk wears a black leather glove on that hand.
Eventually, he gets his revenge.
The other flashback story involves his relationship working with a lawman John T McLain and how he came by the sawn down Meteor shotgun that he carries on his left hip.
When violence occurs it is descriptive and bloody as other books written at this time.
According to the back of the book cover Hawk has a simple code and that is to stay alive to deliver the goods and collect the dues and don't step aside for any man. All of which he does but there is more to this character than that and I hope that the series continues to develop his character for there is more to Hawk than meets the eye.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


I just thought that I would mention that it is 20 years since football's worst disaster when 96 Liverpool fans were killed.
The FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest was just two and a half minutes old when police opened a gate that created a surge of fans. In those days and because of hooliganism fans were fenced in. So when the surge began there was no where else for the fans at the front to go. They tried to climb the fence but police tried to beat them back.
The face of football changed after this disaster. The fences went and hooliganism faded away and it is a different game today.
I'm just sad that it took the lives of 96 people to acheive that.
In memory of the 96.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

EDGE #61 THE RIFLE by George G Gilman

Is this the most expensive western ever?
It does make me wonder as there is a copy on Ebay which has reached £74 with a few more days to go and I know that in the past it has reached as much as £120. Whoever pays that much must be either a dedicated fan or something. Probably the 'or something'.
As far as I know there were not that many of these books printed although it was the one that finished the series.
The story itself concerns a Colt Hartford rifle that Edge believes has been stolen from Adam Steele (another George G Gilman creation). These two had met up in three previous books. What surprised me was that despite the coldness of Edge's character that he actually cared enough to find Adam Steele and return his rifle to him.
And how much did this book cost me? 10p in a charity shop. And no I'm not parting with it.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Childhood Education

Obviously I blame my parents for my childhood.
We lived in a house that was loaded with books, cassettes and videos. Later, of course, the cassettes and videos were replaced by CDs and DVDs.
As my dad said books are for reading not ornaments. So, when we were old enough, we were free to borrow books, listen to music or slide off into my bedroom and watch a film. Not the horrors but we had a choice of war, western, epic movies. All that was expected of us was that we returned what we borrowed in the same condition to the place that we took it from.
I remember once going to a boot fair and they had a load of comics like Spiderman, Incredible Hulk and Batman and when my younger brother and I couldn't make up our minds which ones we wanted Dad scooped up the lot. We went home with this black sack of comics and when we got home we counted them. We had about 150 of them with Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman and loads more.
Dad showed us lots of things as well. How to fish, how to track and tell a badger's print from a fox but these were things that he had learned when he was in the Boy Scouts.
At school we learned the normal things like Maths, English and Science - dad taught us about the other things. Unlike school there was no pressure. If we read a book or watched a film then it was our choice to do that. Being able to have that choice meant that we able to form an opinion.
And, once in a while, when I take my young boys to bed I will read them a western story or make one up in my head for them.
Just like dad did for my older sisters, my younger brother and me.

Thursday, 9 April 2009


The Tainted Archive blog is urging people to write to or e-mail publishers urging them to take on more escapist fiction - preferably westerns. To my way of thinking is that if publishers like Penguin books can publish westerns in America then there is no reason why they shouldn't publish them worldwide.
So look out Penguin the kids are going to get on your case.
Support The Tainted Archive - and support Wild West Monday (the first Monday in June).

Talking of Remakes

Due for release this summer is 'The Taking Of Pelham 123' with John Travolta taking on the role played by Robert Shaw. The original was made in 1974 but I have never seen this film.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009


Reading around the blogs there seems to be some debate about remakes of certain films.
Is it a good thing or is it bad?
The first thing that occurs to me is about the audience that the remake is aimed at. I guess that with a western it would be for all generations.
The two westerns up for remakes are 'True Grit' and 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid'. They are films of their time and have a following.
A 'True Grit' filmed from 14 year old Mattie's side would attract a younger audience - but I'm not sure that the Coen Brothers are the right people to do it.
I never liked the Butch Cassidy film as it just felt like a couple of filmstars having a lot of fun which took away some of the excitement. Travolta and Cruise have the ability to bring out the fact that Cassidy and Sundance were outlaws and not heroes. In reality I expect more of the same.
I am in fact dead against remakes for the simple reason that a) it has been done and b) remakes rarely work.
Howard Hawks remade 'Rio Bravo' twice as 'El Dorado' and 'Rio Lobo'. Why? Neither of the remakes were as good as the first one.
I really enjoyed '3.10 To Yuma' with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale - until the final few minutes. I could not believe that Ben Wade would gun down his gang and then surrender. Why would he do that?
Someone lost the plot there.
Recently there was 'Death Race' which was pretty good. It was claimed that this was a remake of 'Death Race 2000'. I don't see the connection as they seem to be two different films.
Now Stephen Norrington who brought 'Blade' and 'The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen' to the screen has bought the rights to James O'Barr's 'The Crow' and plans a remake of that. The original was made in 1994 with the late Brandon Lee.
And this is the point where I understand more about where the older generations are coming from. 'The Crow' is one of my generations' classics and there is no need for a remake.
As has been said before there is a lot of new material out there that could be filmed.
Though on the other hand would there be classics like 'The Magnificent Seven' and 'A Fistful Of Dollars' if they had not been remakes of two Japanese classics?
Like I say most remakes do not work. But some do. And those few have the right team behind them and have a fresh angle to them.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

THE SAINT on dvd

I've read a few stories by Leslie Charteris featuring his hero Simon Templar alias The Saint. But being a little on the young side had never seen the Roger Moore tv series.
Now, thanks to a new part work video series I can.
The first two episodes 'The Talented Husband' and 'The Latin Touch' are available for £2.99.
This series was screened in the 1960s with the final episode shown in 1969.
Roger Moore went on to play James Bond and the first episode features the Bond girl Shirley Eaton (she's the one that ended up painted gold in 'Goldfinger'). She plays an insurance investigator who teams up with The Saint to prevent a rubbish theatre producer from killing off his third wife.
Great fun and well worth watching.
Also, I had a bit of fun buying this dvd set because it means that I've got to start watching 'The Bill'. I managed to walk on to the set of an episode that they were filming outside my local newsagent - just as 'the robber' was running out of the shop.

Friday, 3 April 2009


Last Train From Gun Hill opens pleasant enough but within minutes it descends into off screen violence as two wandering cowboys rape and kill an Indian woman. Only this is not just one of your ordinary Indian woman because she is the wife of the Town Marshall, Matt Morgan (played by Kirk Douglas).
Morgan is determined to bring the killer to justice but this turns a little complicated as it turns out that the killer is Rick Belden (played by Earl Holliman) the son of one of the big cattlemen Craig Belden (played by Anthony Quinn).
As the story goes along it is revealed that Craig Belden had once saved Morgan's life and from then on had become firm friends. While Morgan battles with friendship and a need for justice Belden shows that blood is thicker than friendship.There is no way that Belden is going to let Morgan take his son in.
Morgan gets his man and they have to hide up in town while they wait for the 9:00 pm train from Gun Hill.
Craig Belden does not give up but rides into town intent on rescuing his son. As far as Belden is concerned no one will be catching that Last Train From Gun Hill.
Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn work so well together that you can feel them battling with their own emotions.
Although the ending is tense and inevitable I felt a little let down as it was a similar ending to '3:10 To Yuma'.
Still the director John Sturges (who went on to direct 'The Magnificent Seven') did a good job with the material and kept the tension up helped by the music of Dmitri Tiomkin.
Still, it might be an old film but it is one of the good ones.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009


John J. McLaglen was one of a group of western writers known as The Piccadilly Cowboys.
Jedediah Herne, who was once upon a time known as Herne The Hunter a bounty hunter and hired killer, has retired and got married to his wife, Louise, who is a lot younger than he is. Herne is in his late thirties and she was just sixteen when they got married.
The story opens pleasent enough with the daughter of their next door neighbour, Becky Yates, drawing pictures on a steamed up window while Louise cooks up a meal as she is expecting her husband home anytime. He's gone into town to get supplies.
But he's been delayed because there's been a heavy snowfall which has brought everything to a halt.
Even the train on the nearby railtrack has been forced to stop.
Aboard the train are seven men who have got drunk and have got bored with sitting around and doing nothing. Seeing the lights from the distant farmhouse they decide to go and see it they can have some 'fun'.
What passes as fun is the continual rape of Louise Herne - Becky manages to get away and hide.
Jedediah Herne comes home to find his wife traumatised, Becky missing and her mother dead.
Slowly, Jedediah draws the story out of his wife and he comforts her the best he can. But it is to much for Louise and in the morning Herne finds his wife hanging in the barn.
Jedediah Herne straps on his guns and goes looking for revenge only it's not that simple. He has doubts about abilities that were once second nature and it is this that makes Jedediah Herne human. Also, he is 'helped' by his neighbour Bill Yates who is not the nice, caring husband and father that I thought he was at first.
When it comes to killing Herne is quite cold but he is a thinking man who is well aware of his weaknesses.
I've read a few Edge books but I like Herne The Hunter better.
This series looks good and I am now reading the second book called: River Of Blood.

Monday, 30 March 2009


'The Great Escape' is a great movie but 'Escape From Sobibor' is something else.
Sobibor was a concentration camp and a death camp in Poland during World War 2. In 1943 there was an escape from another of these camps at Treblinka and the commander in charge of Sobibor said that no escapes would be made from his camp. If anyone attempted an escape then the Germans would kill an equal number of prisoners. Knowing this the inmates begin to plan an escape but it is not until some Russian soldiers come to the camp that the plans go ahead. They all know that whether they try to escape or not they will die.
They do not build a tunnel. Instead they turn on their guards and the officers killing some and escaping right through the gates.
This film was directed by Jack Gold for TV and based on a true story.
It is very emotional, compelling and should not been missed. Some of the scenes are quite harrowing like the killing of a trustee as the prisoners become as brutal as their captors.
Over 300 prisoners escaped and many were recaptured and killed - but some got away and survived the war.
The film stars Alan Arkin, Joanna Pacula and Rutger Hauer and runs for 2hrs 25 mins.


The Pet Shop Boys are Neil Tennant on vocals and Chris Lowe on keyboards. They met in an electronics shop in the Kings Road, Chelsea and discovered that they had music interests in common and that was how the group began.
DISCOGRAPHY contains all their singles from 1985 to 1991 and opens with their first number one 'West End Girls' and has their other number ones: "It's A Sin", "Always On My Mind" and "Heart".
Their music is described as electropop and electronic dance music.
Well worth checking out.

Sunday, 29 March 2009


Now I've only just started reading this book but so much has happened within the first 28 pages.
A stranger has ridden into town and slaked his thirst with a couple of ice cold beers and got instructions how to get to the Flatbush ranch. Already on their way is Morgan Fetterman and his foreman the former armed with a faked up deed that says that he owns the ranch. As far as they know there's just a female cook and an old hand there that they can run off. What they don't know is that the 'cook' is the neice of the recently deceased owner. Into the fray steps Luke Horn, a gunfighter hired by Fetterman to take care of one or two problems. Only Luke Horn doesn't like what he sees and throws the rancher's money back in his face.
I have always liked this writer's style. It's like listening to him telling the tale that is so vivid that it can be seen like a movie.
Looking at his website I see that he had some great contacts with writers like C.S.Forester and had dinner bought for him by Louis L'Amour.
Sadly, though, Walt Masterson died last year and there are only the six western books to his name:
All these books are A Black Horse Western that is published by Robert Hale Ltd

The First Word

All I aim to do is write things about the books I read; the films I watch and the music I listen to.