Favorite Western Movies

Spirit of West Museum.jpg
Inter-active display at the Spirit of the West Museum where a docent takes your photo with your camera.   Visitors usually get positioned better with the horse than we did.

I write westerns.  I adore watching them.  This fondness for movies set in the U.S. West led me on a grand adventure in downtown Scottsdale, AZ. in the arts and culture area.

John Charlie LeSueur, a Western film critic who is a professor of film, was touting a big event about the American West in film and television: John Ford and his Western Movies at the Spirit of the West Museum.

I missed that lecture, “In Search of a Perfect Top Ten Western Film List,”..  but, I was intrigued enough by an advertisement for it to travel miles off my path to see it.

Its exterior took my breath away.  The two-story building is a few years old, has won many awards, and has a rough but giant view.  Even the concrete sidewalk had swirls and patterns.   I couldn’t wait to see the exhibits.  When I did, I thought, “Whoever put these excellent displays of Western artifacts together should receive awards, too?”  Each featured the best of the best, from saddles to guns to clothing.

In the museum the day I visited, I was treated to a collection of Charlie Russell’s art of some of the women he’d painted.  A few years ago, I lived and worked in Great Falls and owned a quaint Victorian white house just up the street on N.  4th Ave. from his home and museum and am very fond of his work.

I was excited.  Being here was going to be as much fun as discovering which films the audience had chosen.

Would the list include The Wild Bunch, The Searchers, Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid?  Had they seen film clips of Rancho Notorious, an unusual western with Marlene Dietrich?

Was James Mitchner’s Centennial TV series mentioned?  I, for one, will never forget the figure of this big German standing in an open prairie shouting to the world, “I know what I’ll do here – I’ll plant potatoes – I’ll be Potatoes Brumbra.”  The series was shot years ago \, the scenery and lighting are faded and are not up to today’s techniques, but the vast feeling of the West and the strength of its expansion from the trappers to the development of a city come through as a brave endeavor.

I am sorry I wasn’t at Charlie’s lecture to see if McCabe and Miss Miller, High Noon, or, one of today’s hits like Missing made the list the crowd chose.   I asked one of hospitable docents if LeSeure had given them such a list – but, he hadn’t. and, I couldn’t find one on his web site.

From beginning to end, the museum was exquisite.   I wish I could live just down the block from it, too, just like I once had the good fortune to live so close to Charlie Russell.




Small Town America

Rosalia Battle Site (2).JPG

Rosalia, Washington:  On this lonely hill U.S. Army troops in l858, led by Col. Steptoe were facing thousands of angry Indians waiting below by the creek to attack.

This quaint little town, forty miles south of bustling Spokane, now puts on Battle Days.  It’s features everything folks like:

A cowboy breakfast by the Scouts, a parade, a huge classic car show, pin up girls, music, vendors, food.  If you like, the town has a small public pool.

We’ve been invited to be at their whimsical library to do our Snowbirds skit taken from my memoir at noon and l p.m.

The library is located in a vintage cottage with a darling big lady bug flying statue overhead.

Bud’s book, Courage Beyond Expectations, is the compilation of what and why these poor soldiers ended up on top this little hill out of ammunition and water on a hot summer day in June l858.

The men finally crept away in the middle of the night, and, still today no one knows for certain why the Indians, who would surely have heard their horses being led by foot, the men and the cannons, allowed them leave without attacking.

It’s going to be a glorious day tomorrow, Saturday, June 2, a little on the cool side at an expected 68 degrees, with much to see, learn and enjoy at this all-American small town.

Town folks will come in costume.  Bud wears an authentic l858 U.S. Army uniform.  You can’t miss him.  I may wear red cowboy boots.  They’re quite comfortable for a day of walking around the darling little town and being at our vendor site talking about our books.

Do watch the Rosalia Battle Days video also posted on this site.

Rosalia Battle Map.jpg


. . . yet did follow.


A Fun Adventure

Red Cowboy Boots
I love cowboys. These red boots of mine are going to a special event this weekend in a pair just like the ones pictured above.

Cowboys of every variety gather at The Spirit of the West festival in a few days.  Music concerts, open mike, kids events, workshops during which they take part happen in the Kittitas Valley in the charming frontier town East of Seattle called  Ellensburg.

   Time: Feb. 17-19.  Place: Ellensburg Fairgrounds.

Winter weather is predicted but folks are bred tough here.  Cowboy Clint Goodwin, a local sheepshearer, seeing that FC (Bud) Budinger will be a featured speaker, wrote to him on Facebook.  “I’ll be shearing in the area and will be coming around to hear you.”

At ll:45 Friday, in Army uniform from the mid-l800’s, Bud portrays Artillery Corporal Hans Schuler.  He’ll be an old soldier fighting with Lt. Col. Steptoe in a contingent of l58 men marching north from Ft. Walla Walla on a peaceful mission under orders to protect Indian lands and to evict White squatters.

Suddenly they find themselves outnumbered, outgunned and surrounded by Indians on top of a little hill in Rosalia.  It’s night.  It’s a hot day.  They’re out of water and ammunition.  Water is available.  But, it’s below them where Indians are dancing around a blazing fire waiting to continue the fight the next morning.

On Saturday at ll:15, Bud returns to explain how Seattle defended itself in January l856.  The little berg is just beginning when hordes of Nisqually and Yakama warriors descend upon them.

Both Bud and his gal in red boots will be available during workshop afternoon sessions.  Here’s what we’ll be doing:

Of course, Bud can share even more information from his book: Courage Beyond Expectations and I’ll take Snowbirds and Rusty Springs, a contemporary Western novel.

Bud  is the Skipper in my book, Snowbirds, a memoir about travel in a cheap little rv.  We’ll both be happy to answer questions and give tips about how to take to the road in a recreational vehicle, an affordable way to seek adventure.

Ellensburg features so many restaurants that surely a few will merit my review as a Senior Advisor on Trip Advisor.  My eyes blaze with excitement as I remember the town and its many exotic historic homes in the college district.

Best of all – the town will be brimming with Cowboys galore!  I wrote a story about a special one.  It’s titled: Casanova Cowboy.  A fun read.  Not in print yet, but coming soon.

(Photo by Photo Pin)