Saturday, September 25, 2021

Westerns: Films


Cry Macho (2021)
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writers: Nick Schenk, N. Richard Nash
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Dwight Yoakam
Drama, Thriller, Western | imdb

A one-time rodeo star and washed-up horse breeder takes a job to bring a man's young son home and away from his alcoholic mom. On their journey, the horseman finds redemption through teaching the boy what it means to be a good man.

Godless (2017)
tv series
Director/Writer: Scott Frank
Stars: Jack O'Connell, Michelle Dockery
Drama, Western | imdb

In the 1880s American West, murderous outlaw gang leader Frank Griffin hunts for ex-protege Roy Goode. Frank's chase leads him to La Belle, New Mexico--a town inhabited, after a mining disaster, almost entirely by women.

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (2017)
Original title: Marlina si pembunuh dalam empat babak
Director/Writer: Mouly Surya
Writers: Rama Adi, Garin Nugroho
Stars: Marsha Timothy, Egy Fedly
Drama, Thriller, Western | imdb

Marlina lives quietly in Sumba until one day a man named Markus and his gang try to rob her house and she kills him. Eventually, she is haunted by Markus, and her life turns in 180 degrees.

Westworld (1973)
Director/Writer: Michael Crichton
Stars: Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, James Brolin
Western, Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller | imdb | my rating: 5

A robot malfunction creates havoc and terror for unsuspecting vacationers at a futuristic, adult-themed amusement park.
Westworld (2016)
tv series on HBO: season 1 - the maze
Creators: Lisa Joy, Jonathan Nolan
Based on film by: Michael Crichton
Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris
Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi | imdb | my rating: 5
great job in the development of the original idea from the movie version

A Western-themed futuristic theme park, populated with artificial intelligence, allows high-paying guests to live out their fantasies with no consequences or retaliation from the android hosts, until now.

Westworld (2018)
tv series on HBO: season 2 - the door | my rating: 5
continues to wow me

Westworld (2020)
tv series on HBO: season 3 - the new world | my rating: 5
whew! twists and turns for the better


Power of the Dog (2021)
Director/Writer: Jane Campion
Based on book by: Thomas Savage
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst
Drama, Romance, Western | imdb
Release date US: December 1, 2021

Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.


* image source: Bull Rider

Friday, September 24, 2021

Westerns: Asian


How Much Of These Hills Is Gold
by C. Pam Zhang
Western, Historical, Literary, China | Published: 2020 | Goodreads

An electric debut novel set against the twilight of the American gold rush, two siblings are on the run in an unforgiving landscape--trying not just to survive but to find a home.

Ba dies in the night; Ma is already gone. Newly orphaned children of immigrants, Lucy and Sam are suddenly alone in a land that refutes their existence. Fleeing the threats of their western mining town, they set off to bury their father in the only way that will set them free from their past. Along the way, they encounter giant buffalo bones, tiger paw prints, and the specters of a ravaged landscape as well as family secrets, sibling rivalry, and glimpses of a different kind of future.
The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu
by Tom Lin
Western, Historical | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

Orphaned young, Ming Tsu, the son of Chinese immigrants, is raised by the notorious leader of a California crime syndicate, who trains him to be his deadly enforcer. But when Ming falls in love with Ada, the daughter of a powerful railroad magnate, and the two elope, he seizes the opportunity to escape to a different life. Soon after, in a violent raid, the tycoon’s henchmen kidnap Ada and conscript Ming into service for the Central Pacific Railroad.

Battered, heartbroken, and yet defiant, Ming partners with a blind clairvoyant known only as the prophet. Together the two set out to rescue his wife and to exact revenge on the men who destroyed Ming, aided by a troupe of magic-show performers, some with supernatural powers, whom they meet on the journey. Ming blazes his way across the West, settling old scores with a single-minded devotion that culminates in an explosive and unexpected finale.

* image source: Mustang Round Up

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Westerns: Alt


Annie And The Wolves
by Andromeda Romano-Lax
Western, Historical, SciFi | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

A modern-day historian finds her life intertwined with Annie Oakley’s in an electrifying novel that explores female revenge an the allure of changing one’s past.

Ruth McClintock is obsessed with Annie Oakley. For nearly a decade, she has been studying the legendary sharpshooter, convinced that a scarring childhood event was the impetus for her crusade to arm every American woman. This fruitless search has cost Ruth her doctorate, a book deal, and her fiancé. But Ruth may finally have the evidence she is looking for. She has managed to hunt down what may be a journal of Oakley’s midlife struggles, including secret visits to a psychoanalyst and the desire for vengeance against the “Wolves,” or those who have wronged her.

With the help of Reece, a tech-savvy senior at the local high school, Ruth attempts to establish the journal’s provenance, but she’s begun to have jarring out-of-body episodes that are possibly parallel to Annie’s own lived experiences. As she solves Annie’s mysteries, she also confronts her own, from the reasons behind her teenage sister’s suicide to a tragedy in her Minnesota town that she may be able to prevent.

The Escapement
by Lavie Tidhar
Fantasy, Westerns | Published: September 2021 | Goodreads

Into the Escapement rides the Stranger, a lone gunman on a quest to rescue his son in a strange parallel reality. But it is easy to lose one’s way on an endlessly shifting, unpredictable landscape. Especially in a place full of dangerous mirror-images of a child's beloved things: lawless heroes, giants made of stone, downtrodden clowns, spectacular symbol storms, and an endless war between gods and shadowy beings.

As the Stranger has learned, the Escapement is a dreamscape of deep mysteries, unlikely allies, and unwinnable battles. Yet the flower the he seeks still lies beyond the Mountains of Darkness. Time is running out as the Stranger journeys deeper into the secret heart of an unimaginable world.

The Hated
written by David F. Walker
art by Sean Damien Hill
colors by Mx. Struble
Western, Comic | Published: 2020 | details

It is 1872, and the war between the North and South is over. Neither side won. After years of bloody conflict, both sides entered into a truce, resulting in the formation of two nations, the Union States of America, where blacks are free, and the Confederate States of America, where blacks are still enslaved. Araminta Free is a former slave turned bounty hunter. She specializes in crossing the border into the Confederacy, and liberating slaves. She also tracks down Confederate war criminals, which has made her a woman with a price on her head in the southern nation. When a group of Confederate Raiders illegally ventures deep into the Union to kidnap free blacks and sell them into slavery, the stage is set for a deadly showdown between Araminta and the men who want her dead.

Whiskey When We're Dry
by John Larison
Western, Historical, LGBTQ | Published: 2019 | Goodreads

In the spring of 1885, seventeen-year-old Jessilyn Harney finds herself orphaned and alone on her family's homestead. Desperate to fend off starvation and predatory neighbors, she cuts off her hair, binds her chest, saddles her beloved mare, and sets off across the mountains to find her outlaw brother Noah and bring him home. A talented sharpshooter herself, Jess's quest lands her in the employ of the territory's violent, capricious Governor, whose militia is also hunting Noah—dead or alive.

Wrestling with her brother's outlaw identity, and haunted by questions about her own, Jess must outmaneuver those who underestimate her, ultimately rising to become a hero in her own right.


Pity The Beach
by Robin McLean
Western, Feminist | Published: November 2021 | Bookshop

Millennia ago, Ginny's family ranch was all grass and rock and wild horses. A thousand years hence, it'll all be peacefully underwater. In the matter-of-fact here and now, though, it's a hotbed of lust and resentment, and about to turn ugly, because Ginny's just cheated on her husband Dan with the man who lives next door.

Out on these prairies, word travels fast: everyone seems to know everyone's business. They know what Ginny did, and they know Ginny isn't sorry. She might not be proud of what she's done, but she doesn't regret it either. To be honest, she enjoyed the hell out of it, and as far as Ginny is concerned, that should be the end of the story. Problem is, no one else seems able to let it go. The community can't bear to let a woman like Ginny off the hook. Not with an attitude like hers.


* image source: Red Bandana

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Westerns: Contemporary


In the Distance
by Hernan Diaz
Historical, Western | Published: 2017 | Goodreads

A young Swedish boy finds himself penniless and alone in California. He travels east in search of his brother, moving on foot against the great push to the west. Driven back over and over again on his journey through vast expanses, Håkan meets naturalists, criminals, religious fanatics, Indians, and lawmen, and his exploits turn him into a legend. Díaz defies the conventions of historical fiction and genre (travel narratives, the bildungsroman, nature writing, the Western), offering a probing look at the stereotypes that populate our past and a portrait of radical foreignness.

At first, it was a contest, but in time the beasts understood that, with an embrace and the slightest push, they had to lie down on their side and stay until Håkan got up. He did this each time he thought he spied someone on the circular horizon. Had Håkan and his animals ever been spotted, the distant travelers would have taken the vanishing silhouettes for a mirage. But there were no such travelers—the moving shadows he saw almost every day in the distance were illusions. With the double intention of getting away from the trail and the cold, he had traveled south for days.

by Téa Obrecht
Historical, Western | Published: 2019 | Goodreads

In the lawless, drought-ridden lands of the Arizona Territory in 1893, two extraordinary lives unfold. Nora is an unflinching frontierswoman awaiting the return of the men in her life--her husband, who has gone in search of water for the parched household, and her elder sons, who have vanished after an explosive argument. Nora is biding her time with her youngest son, who is convinced that a mysterious beast is stalking the land around their home.

Meanwhile, Lurie is a former outlaw and a man haunted by ghosts. He sees lost souls who want something from him, and he finds reprieve from their longing in an unexpected relationship that inspires a momentous expedition across the West. The way in which Lurie's death-defying trek at last intersects with Nora's plight is the surprise and suspense of this brilliant novel.


* image source: Cowboy Boot

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Wrangling Westerns

Rounding up these rascals for a reading binge...

Westerns: Classics

Cattle Kingdom
by Alan LeMay
Western, Classics, Pulp | Published: 1948 | Goodreads

Billy Wheeler tries to solve the murder of the Brand 94 spread. He wants to bring justice to the range, solve a murder and win the woman he loves, but Billy's efforts are blocked by a treacherous Indian guide, a lawless wagon boss, and a rancher seeking vengeance.

Westerns: Contemporary

Westerns: Alt

Westerns: Asian

Westerns: Films


* image source: Scratch Feed

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