Tag Archives: Frontierado

FEMALE MARSHALS OF THE OLD WEST

FRONTIERADO IS COMING UP ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 4th!

As always, Frontierado is a holiday dedicated to the myth of the old west, not the grinding reality. Here is a look at a handful of ladies who served as gunslinging Marshals.

Ada CarnuttADA CURNUTT

Around 1889 or 1890 Ada Curnutt moved to Oklahoma (formerly Indian Territory) with her sister and her brother-in-law. By some accounts Ada chose to head west to get out from under the influence of her Methodist Minister father and equally devout mother.

When she was 20 years old, Curnutt started working as a Clerk of the Court in Norman, OK. Finding a desk job too dull for her, Ada soon became a Deputy Marshal for United States Marshal William Grimes. Her duties included serving writs and warrants, escorting dangerous prisoners from one jurisdiction to another and, of course, making arrests.    Continue reading

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BLACK JACK KETCHUM: GUNSLINGER

FRONTIERADO IS FRIDAY, AUGUST 4th!

Black jack

Black Jack

BLACK JACK KETCHUM – Black Jack was one of the leaders of the many outlaws who made their home in Hole In The Wall, Wyoming, all of them roughly lumped together under the general name the Hole In The Wall Gang. Though Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch faction of the gang is by far the most famous grouping, Ketchum and his followers deserve a much bigger reputation than they currently enjoy.

Ketchum was born in 1866 in San Angelo, TX, and by 1887 he was working as an actual cowboy at various ranches in the Lone Star State. In 1890, after a cattle drive to Clayton, NM, Black Jack and his brother Sam were involved in a train robbery and would spend the rest of their lives as outlaws, vowing never to work as miserable cowhands ever again.

By 1892 Ketchum’s Hole In The Wall gang included his brother Sam, Will “Noose” Carver, Bronco Bill Walters and  Ben Kilpatrick, the Tall Texan. The Gang began alternating its time between launching train and bank robberies from their Hole In The Wall headquarters and running a shady saloon and gambling hall back in San Angelo. Continue reading

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TOM SAWYER: 1973 MUSICAL

Tom Sawyer

Tom Sawyer

The TOM SAWYER I’m referring to here is the 1973 musical version which is unforgiveably forgotten by many people. This musical has some incredibly catchy songs, memorable dialogue portions and terrific performances from all cast members, young and old.

Most importantly the film nicely distills the essential elements of Mark Twain’s popular story in a nearly seamless way. Anything you loved from the book when you read it is to be found here: Tom’s tall tales to Aunt Polly to explain why he’s late for supper or didn’t show up at school, Tom tricking other kids into paying him to whitewash a fence for him, Tom and Huckleberry Finn witnessing Injun Joe’s murder of Ol’ Doc, Tom chivalrously taking a thrashing for Becky Thatcher, Tom and Huck running away and being given up for dead and of course Tom attending his own funeral.

All that and a great musical number during an excellently mounted 1870’s Fourth of July Celebration. Injun Joe gets a much more merciful end in this movie than he did in the book, so that’s a plus, too. 

Johnny Whitaker, known to generations of Continue reading

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ARKANSAS TRAVELER: WILD WEST WEB SERIES

Arkansas TravelerFrontierado is on Friday, August 4th! Here is a Web Series that goes with it like your favorite whiskey. It’s called Arkansas Traveler.

A Faustian Western Web Series

“Thanks to its smooth-talking, whiskey-drinking, gun-slinging elements, Arkansas Traveler contains everything it needs to appeal to… western fans… At the same time, its washed out, low-lit style brings something new to the genre…” – tubefilter

Travelin’ Productions‘ Arkansas Traveler web series unravels the enigmatic journey of Wayland McGlowhorn, Starring Garret DillahuntAngela Bettis, and Sean Bridgers.  

A mini-series in six parts, Arkansas Traveler is a gritty, dark adventure into the life and mind of a man released by forces beyond his ken from the grip of the bloody last days of the American Civil War.

The series is based on a revered feature-length screenplay by Sean Bridgers, of Deadwood fame as Johnny Burns, and acclaimed shows like Rectify and the upcoming Epix original, Get Shorty. Under Travelin’ Productions’ banner, Bridgers co-directed the series with Michael “Ffish” Hemschoot, an animation and visual effects super villain, who worked on films like The Matrix, and Master and Commander. 

It’s a project years in the making, as the filmmakers have reimagined original teaser footage they produced with Missouri production company, Wide Awake Films, back in 2010, into this web series. The web series carries the same goal as the original teaser short: to intrigue and grow an audience, and inspire them to demand more.  

Travelin’ Productions’ mandate is simply to tell damn good stories, and with this project, the filmmakers hope to rally fans of westerns and dramas with a darker bend. Ray McKinnon once called the screenplay for this Faustian Western, “…one of the best un-produced scripts I have read in the last decade” (Arkansas Online, 2011)  

Watch all the episodes for free online Continue reading

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POSSE (1993): MOVIE REVIEW

 Frontierado is coming up on Friday, August 4th!

POSSE is a terrific western about a gang of African American  gunfighters (plus the goofiest  Baldwin brother) involved in an action-packed epic journey across the American west.

The Frontierado holiday is the perfect time of year to hunker down with this film while drinking a Cactus Jack or a Deuces Wild or two. I’ll review the recipes for those mixed drinks in a few days, for now we’ll focus on this movie on our countdown.

Posse stars Mario Van Peebles, who also directed, as Jesse Lee, the brooding, revenge-driven hero of the saga. He and all but one member of his gang, our titular posse, are soldiers fighting in Cuba during the Spanish-American War in 1898. A dangerous assault they carry out turns out to be Continue reading

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THE HANGED MAN (1974): WESTERN HORROR

Hanged ManFOR BALLADEER’S BLOG’S LOOK AT OVER TWENTY MORE WESTERN-THEMED HORROR FILMS CLICK HERE

THE HANGED MAN (1974) – Steve Forrest starred in this excellent made for tv movie that was a failed pilot for a series. Forrest portrayed a gunslinger who seemingly meets his end on the gallows early in the film but who supernaturally rises from the dead to atone for his misspent life by combating evil in the 1800s west. Continue reading

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ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968)

Frontierado is Friday, August 4th!

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST is, to me, the definitive Spaghetti Western. This movie incorporates all of the best elements of Italo-westerns and has the additional advantages of actual artistic merit and some location filming in the real American West. One of the most distracting elements of many Spaghetti oaters is the fact that the films were mostly shot in Spain’s Jarama Valley, which is great for a Spanish Civil War buff like myself, but that valley doesn’t really resemble the American west that the stories are set in.

Sergio Leone got to shoot some scenes for this flick in Monument Valley and such authentic scenery definitely helps in a film that exploits visuals to a degree unseen since the age of silent movies. This is undeniably an action film, but Leone and his co-writers on the script ( Bernardo Bertollucci and Dario Argento. I’m serious!) intentionally used the framework of an old-fashioned western plot about the railroad, land-grabbing and westward expansion, yet made it all seem fresh.    

I often jokingly call this movie Evil Is A Man Named Frank, because, in a masterpiece of reverse-casting Leone put Henry Fonda himself in the role of the conscienceless, sadistic and predatory Frank, the lead villain. Watching the black-clad Frank calmly blow away a defenseless child early in the film lets the Continue reading

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