Thursday, February 15, 2018




Okay, he’s not the King yet, but maybe the Kaiser of the Cowboys? The body-building champ, movie star and former Governor of California, whose only previous Western was Hal Needham’s 1979 comedy THE VILLAIN -- in which he played Handsome Stranger to Ann-Margaret’s Charming Jones, and Kirk Douglas’s Cactus Jack -- will be heading to the Amazon West, to star in the series OUTRIDER, for Producer Mace Neufield, who previously produced GODS AND GENERALS.

Set in the late 1800s, when Oklahoma was still Indian Territory, the story centers on a deputy assigned to capture a famous outlaw, with the help of a ruthless Federal Marshal (Schwarzenegger). As the tale progresses, alliances will shift, and the demarcation between hero and villain will be obscured.  The show will be co-written and exec-produced by Trey Callaway and Mark Montgomery.


As Superbowl fans learned last Sunday, WESTWORLD will be starting its second season, on HBO, on April 22nd. The teaser trailer, seen below, doesn’t give too much story away, but it does confirm that it will be a western WESTWORLD, not the eastern Samurai variation last season’s ending hinted at (Whew!). As with season one, HBO remains tight-lipped. So fasten your seatbelts!


As part of the Autry’s long-running ‘What is a Western?’ film series, they will be screening John Ford’s classic Western courtroom mystery, 1960’s SERGEANT RUTLEDGE. Tremendously daring for its subject matter even today, and one of the high points of Woody Strode’s career. He star as a Buffalo Soldier on trial for the rape and murder of a white child. The film also stars Constance Towers and Jeffrey Hunter.  I wrote an article on RUTLEDGE, and other Buffalo Soldier films, for True West Magazine, and had the privilege of speaking to both Ms. Towers, and Olympic Decathlon Gold Medalist Rafer Johnson, who played a Buffalo Soldier in the film. To read ‘Ford Set The Bar High’, click HERE.  The film will be introduced by Jared MoshĂ©, director of the current Western THE BALLAD OF LEFTY BROWN. The program in the Wells Fargo Theatre begins at 1:30 pm, and admission is free with your museum admission. 


In two weeks the L. A. Italia Festival, the 13th annual celebration of Italian culture and especially Italian cinema, will begin on Sunday, February 25th, at the Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood, and run for a week, through Saturday, March 3rd, Oscar eve. This year’s festival will be dedicated to legendary Italian directors Franco Zeffirelli and Lina Wertmuller.  There are screenings of dozens of Italian movies, both new and classics, all free, on a first come, first seated basis. There are also special programs that require reservations, and the red carpet is often packed with stars. The schedule of films was announced last night, and there is just one Italian Western on the bill. On Saturday, at 4:50 pm, TWO BROTHERS IN A PLACE CALLED TRINITY, starring Richard Harrison, will be screened. The program notes, “Harrison wrote, produced and directed the film, and understandably, it is his personal favorite among the Italian westerns he appeared in.” It doesn’t say whether or not Harrison will attend; I’ll try to find out. To find out about all of the films being screened, and their times, go HERE.


I was surprised to find this shot of me and Shirley
Jones on the Red Carpet at the TCM site!

The annual TCM Classic Movie Festival returns to the Chinese Theatre Complex and elsewhere around Hollywood, starting April 26th, and running through the 29th. This year’s theme will be that all-too-often ignored aspect of movies, the written word. According to TCM, “From original screenplays to unique adaptations to portrayals of writers real and imagined, we will celebrate the foundation of great film: the written word.”  The Fest will open with a screening at the Chinese IMAX of THE PRODUCERS, with writer/director Mel Brooks attending. Other guests already announced include writer/director Robert Benton, and actress Marsha Hunt.  

Dick Cavett introducing a film

Last year, although the number of Westerns featured was small, what there was, was choice. DAWSON CITY – FROZEN TIME is a fascinating documentary by Bill Morrison. A boomtown in the heart of the Yukon Gold Rush that started in1898, Dawson’s movie theatres were not only the hub of entertainment, they were the end of the line for movie prints that had made their way around the world. In 1978, a construction crew bulldozed an old sports club, and found hundreds of reels of film buried, some of them preserved, in the permafrost, most of them films thought to be lost forever. And that’s only the beginning of the story. The film is available from Kino-Lorber.

A frame from POLLY OF THE CIRCUS (1917)
partly decomposed, from DAWSON CITY

1952’s THOSE REDHEADS FROM SEATTLE was re-premiered at the Fest, not just restored, but seen in 3-D for the first time since its release. This lively movie from Paramount’s famous ‘Dollar Bills’, Bill Pine and Bill Thomas, was the first 3-D musical. It stars Gene Barry, Rhonda Fleming, Agnes Moorhead, and a bevy of singers and dancers, including the Bell Sisters, one of whom, to the audience’s delight, attended. It tells the story of a family of women that head to -- you guessed it -- Dawson City during the Gold Rush to be entertainers. This one is also available from Kino-Lorber. With their story overlap, I’m surprised REDHEADS and DAWSON aren’t offered as a set. 

Paramount Studio Head Archivist Andrea Kalas presented a talk, and clips from dozens of Republic Pictures in all imaginable genres. Paramount has acquired the entire Republic Library (minus, I assume, Gene Autry’s films, as he acquired all of them), and have for seven years been restoring them at the rate of 100 a year. Needless to say, this left all the Western fans in attendance salivating, but at the moment, no definite plans for releasing the films has been announced.

Peter Bogdonovich and Illeana Douglas

And speaking of things not yet announced, thus far only eighteen films have been announced for this year’s Fest, and there’s not a Western in the bunch. But last year they showed 83 films, so there’s plenty of space to squeeze in some oaters. Stand by for updates as we get closer to the event.


Kent McCray with High Chaparral stuntwoman
Jackie Fuller

On Saturday, March 17th, Kent McCray, who produced or production-managed BONANZA, THE HIGH CHAPARRAL, and THE LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, will be au the Autry, speaking about his career, and signing his new autobiography, KENT MCCRAY: THE MAN BEHIND THE MOST BELOVED TELEVISION SHOWS. A Q&A will be hosted by Dean Butler, who played Almanzo Wilder on LITTLE HOUSE, and other guests from McCray shows are expected. In addition to his extensive Western work, McCray spent years managing Bob Hope’s travels to entertain our troops around the globe. His friendship with Michael Landon, developed on the BONANZA set, led to a producing partnership on LITTLE HOUSE and HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN.
My next Round-up will feature an interview with McCray. And HERE is a link to the current True West Magazine, about McCray’s recent celebration of HIGH CHAPARRAL’s 50th Anniversary.


A Book Review by Henry C. Parke

It’s not so surprising that a young man’s early association with Western actor William S. Hart would inspire him to become a real-life western lawman. It’s not the first time a man changed his name in tribute to his idol – magician Eric Weiss dubbed himself Harry Houdini after French illusionist Robert-Houdin. The stunner is the name that he changed: lawman and prohibition agent Richard ‘Two-Gun’ Hart had been Christened in Sicily as Vicenzo Capone, and his brother, Al Capone, would make quite a name for himself on the other side of the law!

Jeff McArthur tells a fascinating, and entirely fresh, story of a man who reinvented himself totally, yet could never totally escape his family’s influence. Hart was a remarkable complex man, and his successes and struggles throughout the Great Depression are, by turns, inspiring and infuriating.

As a teenager, I was obsessed with Depression-era gangsters, and I devoured every word I could find on Al Capone. There is more information on the life of Scarface Al, and insight into his character and personality here, than I have ever seen before, and with a good reason. For the first time, the Capone family has opened up to an author, and granted unprecedented access to MacArthur.

Whether your interest is in lawmen, criminals, or simply humanity, you will be astonished. TWO-GUN HART is published by Bandwagon Books.               


Tom Tyler had a few standout sympathetic roles, as Captain Marvel in the Republic serial, and as Stony Brooke in some of the THREE MESQUITEERS entries. But most of his other outstanding, and best remembered roles were villains: Luke Plummer, the man who killed John Wayne’s brother in 1939’s STAGECOACH; King Evans in William Wyler’s THE WESTERNER (1940); and as the seemingly soulless gunman in POWDERSMOKE RANGE (1935). Likable, strong-jawed Kermit Maynard was as good an actor, and handsomer, than his superstar brother Ken Maynard, but no one else could do what Ken could with a horse. Kermit played countless drovers and henchmen and stagecoach drivers.  But once in a blue moon, these supporting players got a chance to shine, and in a new double-bill from Alpha Video, each man proves that he could carry a movie on their own.

In RIDIN’ THRU (1934), Tom Tyler and sidekick Ben Corbett come to the aid of a rancher-turned-dude-rancher friend whose horses are being rustled, and determine they’re being led away by a mysterious white stallion. In FIGHTING TROOPER (1934) Kermit Maynard stars as a Mountie sergeant whose superior, and personal antagonist, is murdered. While undercover, investigating a likely suspect, fur trapper LeFarge (LeRoy Mason), he grows to suspect LeFarge is being framed.

Also from Alpha is the long-thought-lost B Western DESERT MESA (1935), starring Wally West, a stuntman-turned-actor who pretty quickly turned back to stuntman. It's a story about two men, West and an old rancher (William McCall), whose paths cross as both seek the same man, who ruined their lives by killing West’s father and McCall’s wife. Not a great movie, but a surprisingly good print, it’s curious to note that as late as 1935, some poverty row Westerns felt almost like silents, between the stilted performances and West’s mascara. One of the more natural performances, as an unbilled sidekick named Art, is the film’s producer and director Art Mix, real name Victor Adamson, who was sued by Tom Mix to stop borrowing his last name.  It’s double billed with THE TEXAS TORNADO, aka RANCH DYNAMITE, from 1932, starring Lane Chandler as a Texas Ranger who takes on the identity of a Chicago gangster to infiltrate a gang. Master stuntman Yakima Canutt plays a henchman, and does stunt doubling in the spirited fights. It’s written and directed by Oliver Drake, who decades later would co-author Canutt’s excellent autobiography, STUNTMAN.

…and that’s a wrap! 

For your amusement, here are a few not quite 2” by 3” Swedish gum cards. My favorite is the one that identifies our most decorated soldier of World War II, and a fine Western actor, as Audrey Murphy. Things get lost in translation.

In the next Round-up, I’ll have my interview with Kent McCray, and a look at two upcoming Spaghetti Westerns from the folks who brought you 6 BULLETS TO HELL! And I’ll be updating this Round-up as titles become available for the TCM Classic Movie Festival.

Happy Trails!


All Original Contents Copyright February 2018 by Henry C. Parke – All Rights Reserved

Sunday, January 7, 2018


Christian Bale

HOSTILES – A Film Review 

A decade ago, Christian Bale played the reluctant temporary deputy escorting outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crow) to a train in the remake of Elmore Leonard’s 3:10 TO YUMA. In HOSTILES, he’s more than reluctant; he’s defiant. A heroic, much-honored veteran of both the Civil War and Indian Wars, Cap. Joseph J. Blocker (Bale), is ordered to escort captive Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) back to his homeland in Montana, presumably to die. Having lost many friends at the hands of Yellow Hawk and his men, Blocker refuses, and it is only the threat of court martial, and loss of his pension, by Col. Briggs (Stephen Lang), that induces Blocker to transport Yellow Hawk and his family through deadly territory.

Jonathan Majors & Wes Studi

The movie becomes, in a sense, a ‘road picture’, with Blocker and Yellow Hawk gradually coming to grips with their intersecting pasts and their terrible memories. There are chance encounters along the way. En route they meet up with Rosalie Quaid (Rosamund Pike, Oscar-nominated for GONE GIRL), a settler whose husband and three daughters have been piteously butchered by Comanches. Her mind shattered by her pain, she is brought along, and begins healing along the way. Soldiers and Cheyenne must do battle with Comanches, enemies of both. They’re also asked to transport a soldier to a court for trial and presumably a hanging – Sgt. Charles Wills (Ben Foster) hacked a family to pieces with an axe. Wills has a history with Blocker – they soldiered together – and Wills is eager to convince Blocker that his crimes are no worse than Blocker committed, and that they’re a pair of angels next to Yellow Hawk. Interestingly, Foster, who all but walked away with last year’s HELL OR HIGH WATER, as the bank-robbing brother with no off-switch, has a history with Bale, as he played Crow’s obsessively-loyal right-hand in 3:10 TO YUMA. Come to think of it, he all but walked off with that movie as well.

Rosamund Pike

HOSTILES, written and directed by Scott Cooper, based on a manuscript by the late Donald E. Stewart, an Oscar-winner for 1983’s MISSING, is a deeply felt story, peopled by soldiers, Indians and civilians who express their feelings with utmost caution.  Despite the familiar premise, the flow of the story, and the people who populate it, are happily unfamiliar. The cavalry soldiers assisting Blocker include a young Frenchman (Timothee Chalamet – currently starring in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME), a sergeant recently treated for melancholy (Rory Cochrane), and a loyal black corporal (Jonathan Majors) ironically in charge of chaining the Indians. It’s full of both quiet passages, and jarring, unflinching violence – in some ways it’s the SAVING PRIVATE RYAN of Westerns.  

Christian Bale & Adam Beach

Scott Cooper made CRAZY HEART with Jeff Bridges, but his Western credentials go back further, to his acting career, in GODS AND GENERALS, with Stephen Lang, and the excellent miniseries BROKEN TRAIL. Cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi, who also shot Cooper’s BLACK MASS, makes full, beautiful use of the New Mexico and Arizona locations, and at times effectively thrusts the viewer deeper into the action than we want to go. There is also frequently a classical look to the images – his doorway compositions are not merely an homage to John Ford, but a jumping-off point.
My one disappointment is that the excellent Adam Beach, who plays Yellow Hawk’s son, has virtually nothing to do. But with a performance by Bale that runs from barely contained fury to understated grace, and a story that is frequently grim, but never without hope, HOSTILES is one of the finest Westerns in several years. From Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, it opens in theatres on January 19th.

TOMBSTONE – RASHOMON – Alex Cox at the O.K. Corral!

There is probably no more polarizing incident in the Old West than the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral or, as those involved demurely referred to it, ‘the difficulties.’ 132 years after the Earp and Cowboy factions faced each other, all that can be agreed upon is that 30 seconds after it started, Billy Clanton, and Frank and Tom McLaury were dead.  There is no consensus as to whether or not it was avoidable, and who was at fault.    

“I was a kid at grammar school in England, and in the school library was a copy of Stuart N. Lake’s book, WYATT EARP -- FRONTIER MARSHALL,” remembers wildly-independent filmmaker Alex Cox – whose previous Westerns include 1986’s punk neo-Spaghetti STRAIGHT TO HELL and ‘87’s classical WALKER. “I read that, and of course it’s a total hierography of Earp. But it was well-written, entertaining, and it got me interested in the subject.” His favorite of the films on the subject is John Ford’s 1946 MY DARLING CLEMENTINE. “It’s so beautiful. It doesn’t have a lot to do with the events; it’s a made-up story, for the purpose of entertaining and myth-making.” He also liked 1971’s DOC, “the anti-Earp version. And I kinda like TOMBSTONE – it’s a bit long, but it tells a bigger version of the story, so you know who Johnny Behan is, and Curly Bill Brocious, and all these guys who don’t normally make it into the story.”

Christine Doidge as Kate, Eric Schumacher as Doc 

To tell his own version, Cox took inspiration from Akira Kurosawa’s RASHOMON, 1951’s Best Foreign Film Oscar-winner. The story of a crime is told repeatedly from several different perspectives, and it’s up to the viewer to decide what to believe. RASHOMON, whose title refers to the gate of a walled city, was remade as a Western, THE OUTRAGE, in 1964, starring Paul Newman in the Toshiro Mifune role.

The premise is explained in the film’s opening title: “On 27 October, 1881, a time-travelling video crew arrived in Tombstone, Arizona, to film the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Realizing they were a day late, they started interviewing the survivors.”

Adam Newberry as Wyatt

Cox’s research is as journalistic as his premise is whimsical. The various tellings come directly from Judge Spicer’s hearings, and the coroner’s report. Those who testify include Wyatt Earp, Ike Clanton, Johnny Behan, and saloon-owner Roderick Hafford. Cox also uses newspaper interviews with Doc Holliday, and a letter ‘Big Nose Kate’ Haroney wrote to her niece. Talking-head interviews lead to filmed versions of each participant’s memories, which overlap, and oppose each other. Among events leading up to the shootout, Wyatt offered Ike Clanton a reward for turning in three men for stage-robbery and murder. But their versions of the proposed deal, and involvement of Doc Holiday, differ radically.  And when it comes to the walk-down, and Sheriff Johnny Behan’s words, do we believe Wyatt’s version, that Behan said he’d disarmed the Cowboys, or Behan’s version, that he said he was there to disarm them?

The casting-for-resemblance is striking: Adam Newberry as sulky Wyatt, Eric Schumacher as manic Doc, and Benny Lee Kennedy as Ike seem to have emerged from the pages of The Tombstone Epitaph. Kennedy’s Ike is unexpectedly sympathetic, but Christine Doidge, as Kate, walks off with the movie as a character who is by turns hilarious, tragic, savvy and innocent. Doidge recalls, “Alex had given (Kate) a real space to be herself. Which is great, because he could have easily written this film without her, or with her in one scene; I think having Kate’s perspective is important.”

Hafford's - Richard Anderson as Hafford, 
Benny Lee Kennedy as Ike

It wasn’t a film easily put together. After a “disastrous” crowd-funding campaign, Cox spent a month preparing at Old Tucson, accomplishing the impossible. “We shot a five-week movie in a week.” Having recently taught a learn-by-doing film-production class at University of Colorado Boulder, making the feature BILL THE GALACTIC HERO, he hired several ex-students as crew. 

The real Hafford's Saloon

Cinematographer Alana Murphy remembers, “I was an assistant camera for HERO.  I suppose I made an impression. When I graduated in 2015, Alex said, hey, I’ve got a project I might want your help with - very mysterious.” A year later she was cinematographer on her first feature. She loved working with Cox. “He starts with a lot of inspiration; he gave me a lot of homework, a lot of films to watch, that inspired. That’s how I got to know him, through the source material.”  The biggest challenge?  “The heat. We were having technical issues with batteries not lasting very long. And we were working on a bigger scale then I’m used to.”

Production Designer Melissa Erdman marveled at Cox’s ability to pull it off. “Alex really had great planning skills in the way that the film was structured. So we had an ‘A’ unit and a ‘B’ unit operating pretty much the entire shoot: the B unit was doing the interviews, and the A unit was shooting the various reenactments.” Recreating the interior of Roderick Haffords’ Corner Saloon, famous for hundreds of pictures of birds on its walls, required major planning.  “We had a pretty limited team – it was me, and my art director, who helped to construct the inside of Hafford’s. We had two days of load-in, and most of the stuff came pre-painted, and then putting the bar together, and then getting all the birds put up. I had three people cutting out birds for two days.”

Cox, like Kurosawa, has no intention of telling the viewer if any version of the shoot-out is the unvarnished truth, but he gives each speaker, without pre-judging, a chance to state his or her case. While some differences are flagrant, some are surprisingly subtle. Doidge remembers that after the shootout, as Kate remembers it, “When Doc comes back, grazed by a bullet, I’m there, and I’m horrified.  And in Doc’s version he’s just sitting on the bed by himself. I’m not there.”
TOMBSTONE – RASHOMON will be available on video in 2018 – stay tuned for details!


For years The Autry has had their monthly ‘What is a Western?’ screening series – they’re showing STAGECOACH on January 20th -- and every second month they screen a Gene Autry double feature. They’re now adding a new film series, The Silent Treatment, featuring silent Westerns with a live piano accompaniment by Cliff Retallick, starting on January 27th with James Cruze’s epic, THE COVERED WAGON (1923). 

Also at the Autry, on Tuesday, January 16th, Rob Word’s Cowboy Lunch and Word on Western series, Rob will look at the role of women and children in Western films, and Rob always gets terrific guests.


I don’t mean to brag, but like Ralphie’s old man, I just won a Major Award. I won first place in the Western Writers of America’s ‘Tweet Us A Western’ contest, where you were challenged to write a complete Western story in 280 characters or less – the length of a tweet.  My winning entry was as follows:

“Eureka!” shouted the old sourdough, sluicing the last of Columbia River silt from his pan to reveal the glitter of color. He straightened.

'Thwack!' The Indian's arrow pierced his back between the shoulders. For a moment he knew his gold rush was over. Then he knew nothing.


...and my New Years resolution is to get the Round-Up out a lot more frequently in 2018. I've got a huge backlog of stories and interviews, and books and movies to review, and I'll get to them as soon as I can. In the meantime, please check out the February 2018 True West, where we asked readers to help us choose the Most Historically Accurate Westerns. And in my column, I take a look at continuing popularity of  The High Chaparral series. Have a wonderful 2018!

Happy Trails,


All Original Contents Copyright January 2018 by Henry C. Parke - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, November 12, 2017



Status Media & Entertainment, the same folks who brought you 2016’s TRADED, where vengeful father Michael Pere was turning the Old West inside out to find his abducted daughter, have returned with a new Western, based on events in the early career of soon-to-be legendary lawman Wild Bill Hickok, entitled HICKOK, starring Luke Hemsworth in the title role.  Back in the saddle is director Timothy Woodward Jr., cinematographer Pablo Diaz, production designer Christian Ramirez, and costume designer Nikki Pelley. 

I was invited to visit the set on the second day of shooting, at Peter Sherayko’s Caravan West Ranch, and spoke to all of those fine folks – you’ll be reading that article very soon in the Round-up. But I was particularly excited to speak with the legendary actor, singer, songwriter and Rhodes Scholar, Kris Kristofferson, who would be playing the supporting role of Abilene Mayor George Knox. It was a busy day, and Kris was a busy man, but at around 7 p.m. I was invited to the make-up trailer to talk with Kris about both the current movie, and his career in Westerns.

HENRY: I was wondering what attracts you to Westerns? I know your first movie, THE LAST MOVIE, was more or less a Western, this one is, and you’ve done so many in between. What’s special about the genre to you?

KRIS: Well, I grew up in Brownsville Texas, down at the very bottom of Texas, and I had my first horse when I was five years old. And I had horses all the time until I was a teenager, and we moved to California. I’ve always felt comfortable riding a horse.

HENRY: Do you watch a lot of Western movies growing up?

KRIS: Yes, I did. We went to a Western movie every week.

HENRY: What particularly attracted you to this movie?

KRIS: Well, I liked the story, I like the script, and I like the guys that I’m working with, the director, Tim Woodward. And a Western is something we can have some kind of fun with.

Kris with his wife Lisa Meyers

HENRY: Of course, he directed you in TRADED, a very nice film, and you were very good in it.

KRIS: Thank you.

HENRY: You’ve worked with the very best directors – Peckinpah, Dennis Hopper, Martin Scorcese.  
What makes a great director?

KRIS: It’s someone who knows the script, and knows the potential of the story, whatever it is. And never forgets it during the filming; doesn’t get sidetracked.

HENRY: Which is your favorite, of your Westerns?

KRIS: Boy, I don’t know. I loved working with Sam Peckipah, and we did a couple of things together. But there’s another, HEAVEN’S GATE.  I think it was a really beautiful film that got clobbered.

HENRY: Why do you think it got beat up on when it first came out?

KRIS: I think it had to do with our director. It just seemed like that was not an uncommon thing, to get in a film, and all the rivals running it down in the papers and everywhere. And it was so long a production that there was plenty of time to get down on Michael Cimino.

HENRY: You’ve been joined both in music and onscreen with The Highwaymen.

KRIS: They were my heroes. And the notion that they would one day be my friends and working partners – I look back on it as probably the best ten years of my life. Willie (Nelson) and Waylon (Jennings) and John (Johnny Cash).

HENRY: Are you still close with Willie Nelson?

KRIS: (laughs) Oh yes! He’s a hero, and just a plain funny person. He’s probably the best musician I know. He plays the guitar like Segovia. And just a funny man.

HENRY: You all worked together on that 1986 STAGCOACH remake. I heard that it was originally supposed to be a musical – is that correct?

KRIS: I couldn’t tell you; I remember that it had a lot of trouble getting started, and we ended up in the stagecoach for most of it. I look back on those years with The Highwaymen as a real blessed time in my life. With my heroes; and we were really good together.

HENRY: You were wonderful together; I loved the music you produced, and I enjoyed the movies.

KRIS: Yeah, I did too. And everybody, Waylon, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, were perfect all the time. I’m not saying they weren’t all crazy too. We had a wonderful ten years.


1st Prize - Buffalo Mask with intricate beeding

I’m just back from The Autry’s annual American Indian Arts Marketplace where over 200 artists from over forty tribal affiliations are showing and selling their art at the from 10 a.m. ‘til 5 p.m. Sunday, November 12th.  The work is in every medium imaginable – paintings, sculpture, jewelry – wonderful silver work, pottery, beadwork, basketry, photography, paintings, textiles, wooden carvings, from very traditional to very modern. 

There are also family activities, various demonstrations, informative talks – if you are interested in American Indian culture you don’t want to miss this event.  I’ll have a full article in the next Round-up. Be prepared to walk a distance – the Marketplace, and the L.A. Zoo next door, attracted huge crowds today. And bring your appetite – the Indian Fry Bread is excellent as always. 


If you are in the Austin, Texas area, and 18 or over, you might get a gig as an extra in season two of AMC’s terrific Western series, THE SON. It’s the story of Eli McCullough, founder of a Texas cattle and oil empire, seen in two different times in his life: as a young captive of the Comanches, played by Jacob Lofland, and as a grown man and head of the family, played by Pierce Brosnan. They are looking for all ethnic groups.  Here’s a link to the BACKSTAGE casting notice:
Good luck, and please let us know if you get a part!


Just in case you didn’t think you had enough to be thankful for, Bruce Dern, the wonderful actor who made a million enemies (and as many friends) when he killed John Wayne in THE COWBOYS, will be hosting sixteen Westerns on HDNET-Movies during Thanksgiving week, his introductions filmed at the Autry Museum.  It’s a really delightful jambalaya of films – CHATO’S LAND with Charles Bronson, DUEL AT DIABLO with Sidney Poitier and James Garner, all three MAGNIFICENT 7 sequels, two Peckinpahs, DEATH RIDES A HORSE with Lee Van Cleef, HOUR OF THER GUN, COMES A HORSEMAN, THE KENTUCKIAN…  My only disappointment is that they’re only showing one of Bruce’s own, POSSE, with Kirk Douglas.  

They start on Monday, Nov. 20th, and run through Sunday, the 26th.  For the full schedule, go HERE.  And you can read my TRUE WEST article on the making of THE COWBOYS, featuring my interview with Bruce Dern, HERE.


In the 1880s, in the town of La Belle, New Mexico, a mining disaster abruptly wipes out the male population. And when word gets out that the town’s women are fending for themselves, it doesn’t take long for bad men to take notice. This six episode series from writer/director Scott Frank and exec producer Steve Sodergergh, stars Michelle Dockery, Lady Mary Crawley from DOWNTON ABBEY; Jeff Daniels; Sam Waterston; and Kim Coates from SONS OF ANARCHY. Check out the trailer!


Morgan Creek is considering rebooting the YOUNG GUNS franchise as a series and a feature. The original films, 1988’s YOUNG GUNS and 1990’s YOUNG GUNS II rejuvenated interest in the Western movie by focusing on the young Regulators of the Lincoln County War, and made stars of Emilio Estevez as Billy the Kid, Kiefer Sutherland as Doc Scurlock, as well as Charlie Sheen, Loud Diamond Phillips, and Dermot Mulroney.  Although not much is known about Morgan Creek’s plans, Deadline: Hollywood says talks are underway with a streaming service.  Remarkably, a list of 48 episode titles have been released!


On Tuesday, November 21st, at the Wells Fargo Theatre at the Autry Museum, producer, writer, historian and Western crazy Rob Word will host another of his A Word on Westerns events, this time celebrating arguably the greatest of Western TV series, GUNSMOKE!   Among his guest will be actors Bruce Boxleitner, Charles Dierkop, Jacqueline Scott, Tom Reese, Jan Shepard, director Jerry James, and the man who guested more often on GUNSMOKE than any other, Morgan Woodward. 19 episodes, 17 characters, and Matt Dillon killed almost every one of them! 

Admission is free with Museum admission, doors open at 10:30, the program starts at eleven, and the chatter continues afterwards across the courtyard at the Autry’s Crossroads West CafĂ©.


The 2nd annual Tumbleweed Township Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, November 18th and 19th, at 3855 Alamo Street in Simi Valley, California. This is a Wild West living history re-creation run by folks who also run renaissance fairs. You are encouraged, though not required, to come in costume (not that superhero junk, Western costume!) and among the real-life characters you may find yourself interacting with are Laura Ingalls Wilder, Harriet Tubman, Joaquin Murrieta, Annie Oakley, Cole Younger, Calamity Jane, and Nat Love. For more information, visit the official website HERE.  Tickets are $15 a day at the gate, and a buck less online.


When I was growing up, in Brooklyn as it happens, every girl I knew was reading Laura Ingalls’ Little House on the Prairie books.  I was not – I was a boy after all (still am), and those cute Garth Williams illustrations with girls in bonnets holding dolls was too girly for me. I didn’t read one until I was thirty, and then I devoured them – it’s the best series of books about pioneer life that I’ve ever read.  I’ve also grown to appreciate Garth Williams’ illustrations.

At the Old Stone House & Washington Park, location of one of the greatest battles of the American Revolution, at 3rd Street between 4th & 5th Avenues in Park Slope, Brooklyn, author Marta McDowell explores Wilder's deep connection with the natural world, following the wagon trail of the beloved Little House series. She'll discuss Wilder's life and inspirations, pinpoint the Ingalls and Wilder homestead claims on authentic archival maps, and talk about the growing cycle of plants and vegetables featured in the series. You can learn more, and buy $20 tickets, HERE.  


The new True West is out with my article on the Kinder, Gentler Side of Sam Peckinpah – I spoke  with Mariette Hartley, L.Q. Jones, Max Evans, James Drury, about making RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY and BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE.

I spent much of this past week at the American Film Market in Santa Monica, where hundreds of independent producers and distributors and filmmakers from all over the world meet to do business, and I was thrilled to track down about a dozen new Westerns and Western projects that I’ll be writing about soon here, and in True West. Most are American, but not all – one rolled camera this week in Luxembourg! 

P.S. - At the American Indian Arts Marketplace I ran into actor Zahn McClarnon, who was terrific in THE SON, playing Toshaway, mentor to the captive young Eli McCullough (Jacob Lofland). When I told him I thought it was his best role to date, he grinned. "Wait until you see the new season of WESTWORLD." Something more to look forward to!

Happy Veterans Day!

All Original Material Copyright November 2017 by Henry C. Parke – All Rights Reserved