Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May 13, 2009
Got this in this morning:

Mr. Bell
Long time no email. I want to thank you for your honest comments about the American Indian. I don’t mind taking the evil white man hit on occasion but it is nice when all sides are taught fairly. I respect and have a great deal of admiration for the Native Americans but the simple fact is they were violent. These people are not the spiritual peace lovers as they are portrayed now. Dances with Wolves is a prime example of the old “white men are evil Indians are wonderful” teaching. These people are portrayed in a different manner in Francis Parkman’s Oregon Trail. Today we don’t teach history. We teach a form of propaganda. My oldest son had more information on Marilyn Monroe than George Washington in his High School history book back in the 80s.

I like your Fort Apache sketches. I am no expert but I enjoy black and white drawings. By the way you hat nazi, whether it is period correct or not, John Wayne looks good in a cowboy hat with the bill turned up. Don’t forget to toast him on May 26th.

I have a question to ask. When a cowboy was travelling by horse, what were essentials he carried? I can guess at some but in movies/tv a cowpoke will be on a horse with only a blanket and saddle bags. When he camps there will be a coffee pot fry pan and bacon sizzling. As I said, I am just curious as to what might actually be packed for a trip if there was no pack horse.

See You Down The Trail

—Hugh Howard, Maniac # 9

Great to hear from you. I kind of got off on the wrong tangent with the Rio Bravo hat John Wayne wore. It wasn't the turned up brim I objected to, but the overall dings and dents he had in it. Hats often lose their original style and flair (I know, I have a studio full of them) and begin to sag and droop over time. When you see Wayne wearing a similiar hat in Fort Apache (some have said it's the same hat) it looks quite elegant to me. But, by Rio Bravo it's looking kind of goofy. That's just my opinion. I know you love it with no exceptions.

Great question on the essentials of cowboy travel. I am rereading John Bourke's "On The Border With Crook" and he describes preparation for a punitive patrol after Apache marauders this way: "Every hoof was carefully looked at, and every shoe tacked on tight; a few extra shoes for the fore-feet were taken along in the pack train, with fifteen days' rations of coffee, hard tack, and bacon, and one hundred rounds of ammunition."

Perhaps a benchmark is, if they're travelling with a mule, or mules, you've got a kitchen, at least one tent, food, coffee pot and extra ammunition (by the way, I'd be curious to know how much one hundred rounds of ammunition weighs?). But if you see two or three riders, without a mule, unless you see a coffee pot dangling from the saddle, we're talking hard tack and anything else that would fit in a saddle bag (hint: not much).

My theory is that a mule laden with supplies slows down the action and it just doesn't look as good as a lone rider traversing Big Country.


"Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations."
—Lao Tzu

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