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.