Friday, April 07, 2023


By Caroline Clemmons

Who’s the first western hero you loved? For me, it was Roy Rogers. I longed for a horse like Trigger, and to ride with Roy saving the West from rustlers and bank robbers. I didn’t dislike Dale Evan, but I was certain Roy would prefer me if only he knew me. I was crushed when I realized his real age.

A close second to Roy was The Lone Ranger. Do I ever hear the William Tell Overture without thinking of him? No. For me, Clayton Moore was the only Long Ranger, but he was based on a real person, Bass Reeves. I still don’t understand the reason for the mask, but I loved the show. Even I realized that the same big rock that appeared in so many episodes had to be on a sound stage.

So my family moved on to evening television westerns.  “Gunsmoke” was a long-running national favorite. Who could fail to like easy-going peacekeeper Marshal Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty and Doc and Chester and Festus? My folks and I loved them. Only in the last decade did I learn Miss Kitty was modeled after a real person.  But we never guessed that Festus (Ken Curtis) had a beautiful singing voice.

“Bonanza” was so popular the named appeared on a lot of businesses throughout the country. We loved the family of men who set a high mark for the other citizens of the area. Even after one left, the series remained popular. The show was cancelled halfway through the 14th season.

Other long-running series were “The Virginian” and “The Big Valley.” There are many more I don't have space to list.  I still enjoy reruns of some of the series.

In addition, I especially enjoy the movies made from Louis L’Amour’s books. They are numerous, and I love each of them. I also enjoy rereading the books by America's storyteller, Louis L'Amour.   

Pull up a chair, sit back, and enjoy a western movie. And keep reading western romance! 

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