Thursday, August 14, 2008


We've seen them, authentic pokes and ropers, with or without trademark hat. Leathery skin in skin tight wranglers, cowboys are a breed all their own.

In South Dakota we passed Deadwood, final resting place of both Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.

That same week, on my new campus, I shared a bench with an old timer, a slow moving, but still uniformed cowboy who was reading a beat old novel with prairie cover art. His friend finally showed up and the two, nearly identical ranchers, walked off without a word. I think that's my favorite part about cowboys–they are silent but very deliberate.

In their spirit, I was just watching Tombstone, the great 1993 film staring Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp and an epic performance by Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday.

What follows is a shoddy transcription of a scene in which Earp smacks down Johnny Tyler, a remarkably portly Billy Bob Thorton.

Earp: "Go ahead go ahead skin it. Skin that smoke wagon and see what happens. I'm gettin of your gass now jerk that pistol and go to work."

Earp Smacks Tyler. Tyler is motionless.

Earp: "I said throw down boy."

Smack again.

Earp: "You gonna do somethin or just stand there and bleed?"

Badass, if not slightly homoerotic. Always pure cowboy.

PS. is it me, or does this picture we took look fake/miniature?

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