Saturday, January 10, 2009

'Movie Horses'

Blame this post on Chelsi. Her flight of fancy on movie horses fueled a train of thought this morning that could not be derailed.

Back in the day (1994) when we actually had scads of disposable income (imagine that), Mr. Fry and I acquired a limited edition print of a watercolor called 'Movie Horses' by the actor/artist
Buck Taylor. Son of the legendary character actor Dub Taylor, Buck may be best known as Newley on the old 'Gunsmoke' TV show, but he has also acted in many movie westerns, including 'Tombstone' (Val Kilmer, Bill Paxton, Sam Elliott, et al).

'Movie Horses' was painted on the set of our absolute favorite western, 'Conagher' (1991). If you look very closely you can see Buck's penciled title and personalization at the bottom.

This is a plot summary of the movie, not penned by me. It may be from the back of the DVD case (I'm too lazy to look). "He conquered the range. She conquered his heart. From the Louis L'Amour novel. Conn Conagher admires a woman with nerve, and the widow Teale has plenty. But that doesn't mean he's ready to show up at her door clutching posies. Precious little time for that, what with deadly rustlers cutting in on his livelihood. Besides, a fenced-in life with a missus just isn't Conn's way. Not yet, anyways. Conagher is both a hard-riding actioner and a character-driven look at Western life. Katherine Ross plays Evie Teale, widowed after coming West and forced to prove her mettle in many ways. Sam Elliott plays Conagher, a cowhand who, when not tracking rustlers, drifts in and out of Evie's life. Something about that frontier woman keeps drawing him back. But can Evie ever keep from drifting out again?"

I tried for over an hour to find and download the trailer, to no avail, but you can watch it here.

I have had a thing for Sam Elliot since the early 1970s. He is my kinda cowboy (as is Tom Selleck — catch them together in 'The Sacketts'). One of the many things I love about him in this movie is how he talks to and about his horse. He has one of those low, raspy-yet-melodious drawls, and in his solitary drifting, every once in awhile he just starts mumbling to his horse. Most of it is hard to catch, but it's great stuff. At one point, Evie's stepson Laban asks if he should give the horse some grain. Conn says something to the effect that if you gave that horse grain, he'd think you were trying to kill him. Cracks me up.

What is your favorite western movie and what is its appeal for you?


Unknown said...

Hmmm I don't know I don't really have favorite western movie - I liked Open Range, El Dorrado (sp?) w/ John Wayne, Young Guns, Quigley Down Under,the Cowboy Way - I guess I really like them all.

I am bad at waiting for hubby to go to bed on Friday nights then switching to the WSTN channel on our dish and watching old westerns till I fall asleep - I never remember the names of the movies only that I liked them...

Ice Pony Girl said...

Ah...Sam is beautiful! Love western flicks.

Raymonty said...

I like your horses!

Chelsi said...

It is funny because my friend also had a HUGE thing for Sam Elliot in his day. I am going to have to pull up one of his early movies or she tells me he was the best on Yellow Rose of TX. I am not huge on Westerns but I used to love the movie Bad Girls!! LOL

Leah Fry said...

I don't like most of the new western they are making. Way too violent for me. Even westerns that aren't that violent are still violent, so they don't need to add gratuitous violence. I like Silverado, Sacketts, Quigley, and – of course – John Wayne westerns like Maclintock, Rio Bravo.

D.M. McGowan said...

I love all the westerns, even the silly one's from the 30s and 40s. I agree that some of the later westerns are far too dark and completely unnecessary so. Since L'Amour is my favorite author I'm a fan of 'The Sacketts,' 'The Shadow Riders,' 'Catlow' and the best, 'Conagher'. I think the last is the best because it is the closest to the novel.


C-ingspots said...

Sooo many to pick from - here goes a few of mine. Oooh what fun!!
I LOVE Sam Elliot (sigh) and Kate Capshaw in The Quick and the Dead - my absolute favorite!! Lonesome Dove is also right up there at the top. Quigley Down Under is good. And there's one with Robert DuVall, Kevin Costner and Annette Benning that's really good (can't remember the name), really any movie with Robert DuVall as a cowboy is a good movie, in my opinion. Sooo very many good cowboy movies!!

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