Monday, January 13, 2014



For a few months now, on the third Wednesday of every month, Rob Word has hosted the ‘Cowboy Lunch @ The Autry’, an informal 12:30 gathering of western movie and TV fans to chow down and then listen to “A Word On Westerns”, where Rob and his guests talk about the making of particular western films.  This Wednesday, January 15th, falls in the month that marks the 25th anniversary of the brilliant mini-series adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s finest novel, LONESOME DOVE.  Rob has put the word out to folks involved in that mini-series, its sequels and series spin-offs, and all of us fans will be chomping at the bit to see who shows up.

Rob Word has a strong track-record with this sort of event, and a history in the entertainment business.  He’s produced documentaries on Roy Rogers, was the creator and producer of YOUNG DUKE, a series built around John Wayne’s early films, and co-wrote and produced the film WYATT EARP: RETURN TO TOMBSTONE, which returned Hugh O’Brien to his most famous role, and was actually shot in Tombstone, Arizona, where the events happened.  Back in 1983, Rob, Pat Buttram and others created THE GOLDEN BOOT AWARDS to honor the stars of the genre, and ran them for a quarter of a century, until they ran out of people to salute.  Since they stopped in 2008, the search has been on to find a regular place for western fans and filmmakers to get together. 

Martin Kove, Robert Duvall, Rob Word

“We’ve been having what I call the Algonquin Cowboy Lunches at the Saddle Ranch Chop House for over five years now.  People keep asking when the Golden Boots are coming back, and they’re not.  When we did the first one in 1982, we didn’t even call it the Golden Boot.  It was a tribute to Bob Steele.  We had it at the old Masquers Club, and the fire marshal turned up and said we had too many people there.  We had to turn one hundred people away at the door.

“We did it for twenty-five years, but it kind of limped along at the end, because after Roy and Gene died, within 90 days of each other, and Clayton (Moore) died a year and a half later, it almost ended right there.  I said no, twenty-one years isn’t a good number.  Let’s keep it going until twenty-five, and end it big.  It’s hard to get the studios involved.  It’s hard to get corporate sponsors when you’re dealing with a genre that’s dying.”

After a few months, Bo Hopkins suggested getting together for lunch at the Sportsmen’s Lodge.  Bruce Boxleitner, Martin Kove and James Gammon attended, telling hysterical stories – that’s where the ‘Algonquin’ part of the name came from.  It grewe too large for The Sportsmen’s, moved to the Saddle Ranch Chop House on Sunset.  Wanting to take it to another level, Rob proposed a series of lectures at The Autry.  The Autry was delighted, because during the week what they mostly get is busloads of school-kids. 

The first event, this past September, was a tribute to the WYATT EARP TV show, coinciding with EARP regular Morgan Woodward’s 88th birthday.  The next month was a tribute to THE LONE RANGER series, and Clayton Moore’s daughter Dawn attended.  “Last month was the weapons of TV westerns.  Hugh O’Brien was there talking about the Buntline Special; Johnny Crawford talking about the RIFLEMAN rifle, of course.  John Strong, a producer, brought the pistols that Wayde Preston had, from COLT .45.”    
The event is open to everyone, and don’t get there late, because last month, folks had to be turned away.  Again, the topic will be LONESOME DOVE, and in February it will be the HOW THE WEST WAS WON TV series.  Better start blocking out the third Wednesday of every month on your calendar. 


We have two big winners of the SWEETWATER Blu-Rays!  The names of Devin Sabas of Crystal, Minnesota, and David Moore of Hemet, California, were randomly drawn from my black Stetson full of the names of all the folks who answered all of the questions correctly! 

For those who are curious, or who want to kick themselves for not entering, here, once again, are the questions, but with the answers…

#1.) Lovely January Jones may be best known for MAD MEN, but she is not a stranger to sagebrush.  She’s starred in two previous western films, one made for TV, and the other a modern-day Western.  What are the titles?

Answer: LOVE’S ENDURING PROMISE, a Hallmark movie from the pen of Janette Oke, whose WHERE GOES THE HEART series premiered on the Hallmark Channel last night; and THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA, directed by the excellent actor and director Tommy Lee Jones.  Tommy Lee, incidentally, recently finished directing and starring in the western THE HOMESMAN, co-starring Hillary Swank, Meryl Streep and John Lithgow.  A remake of THE COWBOYS, with Tommy Lee Jones in the John Wayne role, is in development. 

#2.) Ed Harris is also comfortable in the saddle.  Like January Jones, he’s done one western for the big screen, and one for the small.  He also did a film where he jousted on a motorcycle.  Name all three.

Answer: APPALOOSA, RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE, and KNIGHTRIDERS, although one entry also informed me of a movie called WALKER, from 1987, directed by Alex Cox, where Harris plays a 19th century American mercenary who became the President of Nicaragua!  I’ll have to track that one down.

#3.) It’s not Eduardo Noriega’s first rodeo either.  What was his previous western?

Answer: BLACKTHORN, where he co-starred with Sam Shepard, who plays Butch Cassidy, living under another name, and hiding out in Bolivia.

#4.) While villainous Jason Isaacs was never in a western before, he was in two films plotted in North America in the 18th century, one set in Canada and one set in the United States.  Name them both.


#5.) Stephen Root, who plays a very unpleasant character in SWEETWATER, has the longest western career of almost anyone in the movie, starting with a guest shot in a series in 1990.  He had a regular role in a modern-day western series, voiced Teddy Roosevelt once, did a modern western for the Coen brothers, and did two westerns with Johnny Depp.  Name any three of the six.


#6.) Finally, the original story writer, Andrew McKenzie, chose the name of Sweetwater for the town, as an homage to a classic Western movie.  Name it.  (Note: There are actually two legitimate answers to this.  I know which one Andrew intended, but to be fair, I’ll accept either one.)

Answer: ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, directed by Sergio Leone from a screenplay by Sergio Donati and Leone, or THE COMANCHEROS, directed by Michael Curtiz and John Wayne, uncredited, from a screenplay by James Edward Grant and Clair Huffaker. 

In ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, Frank Wolff is the doomed Brett McBain, the visionary who is trying to build the town of Sweetwater out of the desert.  Sergio Donati has been a mentor to Andrew McKenzie, and in recognition, and because of the obvious parallels in the stories, Andrew named his town Sweetwater in tribute. 

Nobody named the second choice, but I include it because, oddly enough, early in THE COMANCHEROS, Guinn ‘Big Boy’ Williams appears as a gun-runner named Ed McBain, who is travelling to the town of Sweetwater. 


If you enjoyed Saturday night’s premiere episode, Lost and Found, I can give you a hint about what’s coming next Saturday.  In Cease and Desist, the widows of Coal Valley, still recovering from the loss of fifty-seven men, mostly husbands, in a mining disaster, have a new and unexpected problem to face.  Their homes are owned by the mining company, and the women and children must move out to make way for new miners.  While some women accept defeat all too gracefully, others want to put up a fight.  Young teacher Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow)  use her expensive and sophisticated education to search for a legal loophole.  Miner’s widow Abigail Stanton (Lori Loughlin) tries negotiating a dangerous deal that will send the windows into the mines.  Will either tactic work?


Joe D’Augustine, who worked in editorial on KILL BILL #1 & #2, DEATH PROOF and INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, and in the extended English-language version of THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, and who previously directed the noir-ish comedy  ONE NIGHT WITH YOU, has been named to recommence the Django saga that stopped when Franco Nero last played the role in DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN in 1987.  As Round-up readers know, the premise of DJANGO LIVES takes the ageing gunfighter to Hollywood circa 1915, where he is working as a technical advisor on Western movies, as lawmen like Wyatt Earp and outlaws like Al Jennings really did, and runs afoul of racketeers.  It’s scripted by Eric Zaldivar and Mike Malloy, the men behind the remarkable SCARLET WORM (read my review HERE  )


THE HATEFUL EIGHT is said to be the title of Quentin’s next sagebrush saga, the title at least presumably an ironic response to the scramble to remake THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.  Deadline: Hollywood further posits that he wants Christoph Waltz and Bruce Dern to star!  They both did well for him in DJANGO UNCHAINED!


Mike Gaglio, me, Joey Dillon on MAN FROM DEATH set

I’m delighted to welcome a new sponsor to Henry’s Western Round-up, OutWest, purveyors of literature, thrilling video, fine music, elegant clothing, and just about everything else that relates to a Western life-style.  You’ll find a link to their on-line store on the top left-hand corner of the Round-up, and you owe it to yourself to take a look, and to visit their store if you’re around Santa Clarita way.  Next week I’ll be sharing my visit to the set of THE MAN FROM DEATH, and reviewing season one of THE RIFLEMAN, which has just been released on DVD.  Have a great week!

Happy Trails,


All Original Contents Copyright January 2014 by Henry C. Parke – All Rights Reserved

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