Frontierado is coming up on Friday, August 5th!
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
The Frontierado holiday is Friday, August 5th!
GUNPLAY MAXWELL – This neglected gunslinger was born in Boston, MA as James Otis Bliss circa 1860. When he was 15 years old he got into a fight with a friend at a Boston tavern and shot him to death. Fleeing authorities the young man headed west and began a life of using various false names, including Charles L Maxwell or “Gunplay” Maxwell as he is best remembered.
Life on the run was bringing out both the dark violence AND the shrewd manipulative streak that would characterize the young man for the rest of his life. By late 1876 he was in Texas staying alive through assorted robberies, con games and increasingly frequent gunplay. Texas eventually became too hot for Gunplay Maxwell and by the late 1870s or early 1880s he moved north to Montana. Continue reading
“You’re not goin’ nowhere, ya bottom-dealin’ Hombre,” the gambler-gunfighter exclaimed, “We’ve got us a few apparent paradoxes and their effect upon contemporary religious thought to discuss!”
The Frontierado holiday is coming up fast – on Friday, August 5th in fact. Today we’ll revisit the rules of Frontierado Poker for newbies to the holiday.
Here are the rules for Frontierado Poker, the game that is Continue reading
** I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF A CRISIS INVOLVING A LOVED ONE. THIS BLOG POST WAS PRE-WRITTEN.
Self-portrait by Kid Russell
Frontierado is Friday, August 5th! My most popular Frontierado articles over the years have been the ones about neglected gunslingers of the American West. Here is another neglected western figure whose life was at least as interesting as those of the bigger names.
KID RUSSELL – How cool is it that an authentic, acclaimed international artist spent some of his younger years wandering the Wild West, even earning the nickname Kid Russell? Charles Marion “Kid” Russell was born in 1864 in St Louis, Missouri. As with Klondike Kate Rockwell, most of this figure’s life story is outside the purview of this article.
Since Frontierado is about the myth of the Old West I’ll focus on the legends about Kid Russell’s wild, wandering younger years full of guns, ranches, saloons, cattle drives, bordellos and sketches drawn on any nearby flat surface, sketches that showed the nascent talent that would one day make Russell world-famous.
When he was age 16 Charles’ well-to-do parents gave up trying to force him to continue his schooling and let him move to Montana, where, clad in a brand-new buckskin outfit, he worked on a friend’s sheep ranch north of Helena. It took skill with a gun and a true survival instinct to live through encounters with rustlers, hostile cattlemen and their hired gunmen but Charles, already being called Kid Russell, thrived and felt more at home in this rough and tumble lifestyle than among his family’s hoity-toity friends in St Louis high society. Continue reading
Casey James, the Official Movie Hostess of Balladeer’s Blog
THE FRONTIERADO HOLIDAY IS FRIDAY AUGUST FIRST! We’ve all got our painted rocks on various bits of furniture around the house, we’ve all got our potted cacti with the toy gun-belts slung over them and for those old enough to drink there are Cactus Jacks and Deuces Wilds to be slammed down. In some homes families and friends will be gathering around to watch the official Frontierado Western, Silverado.
In the buildup to this major holiday I periodically reviewed my favorite weird westerns so to give us all a few more chuckles here’s one more, presented by the legendary Casey James, Balladeer’s Blog’s Official Movie Hostess.
JESSE JAMES’ KID (1966) – In my review of The Price of Power earlier this Frontierado season I mentioned how fond I am of those Spaghetti Westerns that distort the facts of the American west more outrageously than even our own home- grown westerns do. Jesse James’ Kid makes The Price of Power look like the writings of Herodotus.
In this deranged western which used to populate the 3am to 5am movie slot on television stations across the country we get the old-school bad movie fun of dubbing that never comes close to matching the movements of the performers’ lips. And that’s just the start. This film tells us that Billy the Kid was Jesse James’ son … yes, Jesse James’ son. And not only that but young Billy witnesses his “father’s” fatal shooting, which in this movie is not done by Robert Ford, but by Bat Freaking Masterson!!! Continue reading
THIS SUNDAY THE AMERICAN HEROES CHANNEL, IN CONJUNCTION WITH BALLADEER’S BLOG’S UPCOMING FRONTIERADO HOLIDAY, WILL DEBUT THEIR NEW SERIES TITLED GUNSLINGERS. THE SERIES WILL COVER GUNMEN OF THE OLD WEST AND WILL DEAL WITH THE BIG NAMES. AS USUAL I WILL EXAMINE SOME OF THE LESSER-KNOWN BUT JUST AS EXCITING GUNSLINGERS RIGHT HERE! FRONTIERADO IS FRIDAY AUGUST 1st! ***
COMMODORE PERRY OWENS – Named after the naval hero of the War of 1812, Owens was one of the few gunfighters of the west to put in time as an actual cowboy and made a name for himself as a gunman driving off rustlers on cattle drives. Legend has it that plenty of would-be rustlers wound up meeting their end in gunfights with Commodore Perry Owens.
Drifting into the Arizona Territory in the 1880’s Owens took a job at a stagecoach station as a rifleman charged with driving off the periodic attacks by Native Americans. Earning a reputation as a dead shot, Owens was soon being called “The Commodore” for obvious reasons and his reputation started to grow. Passengers knew they were safe (at least for the moment) when their stagecoach was approaching the station under the protection of Owens’ steady hand and eagle eyes. Continue reading
The Frontierado holiday is just a little over 3 months away so here is the first related post for the calendar year. As the Lifetime Commissioner of Frontierado I am empowered to designate an Official Band for that greatest of all holidays! In keeping with my blog’s theme of emphasizing those things which are neglected I’ve named Black Oak Arkansas as the Offical Band of Frontierado. Headed by legendary front man Jim Dandy, whom David Lee Roth always pointed to as a huge influence, this country-rock/ r&b band thoroughly kicked ass. Click here for a quick (3 minute) representation of the group’s sound: