Friday, November 25, 2016

Go ahead, make my day. Pardner.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Are you shopping today? Wow, you are brave. Or--are you going to a movie? Or reading? As the most amazing Jon Land points out, there’s a fascinating connection between the two. Especially when it comes to thrillers—and westerns.

Jon is one of the most generous, most talented, and hardest working author in the biz---as well as a brilliant teacher! He’s a USA Today bestselling author of 38 novels, including his Caitlin Strong series—which enthusiastic reviewers have called “modern day westerns.”

You don’t read or watch westerns, you say? Yes, you do.  Here’s what Jon has discovered. Check it out…and afterward, tell us your faves, (Or—what you scored on Black Friday!)

        By Jon Land

My Caitlin Strong books have often been referred to as modern day westerns.  While I’d like to take credit for starting that trend, it goes back far longer than Caitlin and me. Strong (no pun intended!) men with a simple ethos and base nobility in which they stood as the lone hope against bad guys determined to make the world worse for ordinary people. So, in honor of the release of The Magnificent Seven remake, let’s explore some examples of the modern day western that has so influenced the form of the thriller novel in pop culture.

DIRTY HARRY:  Clint Eastwood’s seminal, star-making turn as a loner cop breaking all the rules to track down a serial killer.  The setting of 1970s San Francisco could just as easily have been the plains roamed by the Man with No Name in the spaghetti westerns in which Clint cut his teeth.  Harry Callahan is a character literally defined by his gun, making the .44 Magnum famous as well.  A great uncredited rewrite by John Millius turned a simple cop film into a portrait of a modern day gunfighter’s obsession with seeing justice done, ending in identical fashion to the Gary Cooper classic High Noon.

STAR WARS:  A “space western” that contains all the staples of the form right down to the villainous gunfighter in black, as personified by Darth Vader, only with a light saber instead of a Colt .45.  Add to that Luke Skywalker’s ingĂ©nue evolving into a heroic force of good, the blaster-wielding gunslinger in Han Solo, a rescue sequence (a la The Professionals), and a climactic gun battle transposed into outer space.  The result draws upon Akira Kurosawa’s western-inspired samurai movies in crafting an industry-changing masterpiece.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN:  The purest “postmodern” western on our list, since (in both the book and the exceptionally faithful film adaptation) Tommy Lee Jones’s saintly old-school sheriff never actually confronts Javier Bardem’s twistedly terrifying Anton Chigurh.  But the drug deal gone wrong harks back to any number of stagecoach and bank robberies that define so many westerns.  And Chigurh’s malevolent menace is reminiscent of every black-clad baddie ever to rampage through the Old West.  A creature not so much of the land, as fate itself and thus defined purely in the moment, giving us no idea from where he came or where he’s going next.
JACK REACHER: Okay, Tom Cruise isn’t as big or as bruising as Lee Child’s iconic, nomadic hero who carries only a toothbrush while taming one town, and one book, after another.  But Cruise otherwise nails the character’s sensibility to a T.  Reacher is a classic western gunfighter, unable to settle down and on a quasi-Quixotic journey to right the wrongs of the world perpetrated on ordinary people like you and I.  He vanquishes the bad guys, then mounts a bus instead of a horse to ride on to his next adventure.  Not a whole lot different than Paladin from the classic TV western, Have Gun, Will Travel.

Okay, those are my picks.  Now, how about yours?  Any you’d like to add?

HANK:  SO interesting!  How about To Kill a Mockingbird?  I guess that's not a thriller.... 
And so delighted, Jon, that you've made your hero a woman!
How abut you, Reds? Are you more western fans or thriller fans? (Or--are  you more about shopping today?) 

Jon Land is the USA Today bestselling author of 38 novels, including eight titles in the critically acclaimed Caitlin Strong series: Strong Enough to Die, Strong Justice, Strong at the Break, Strong Vengeance, Strong Rain Falling (winner of the 2014 International Book Award and 2013 USA Best Book Award for Mystery-Suspense), Strong Darkness (winner of the 2014 USA Books Best Book Award and the 2015 International Book Award for Thriller and Strong Light of Day which won the 2016 International Book Award for Best Thriller-Adventure, the 2015 Books and Author Award for Best Mystery Thriller, and the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Award for Best Mystery.  The latest title in the series is Strong Cold Dead, was published on October 4 and about which Booklist said, “Thrillers don’t get any better than this,” in a starred review. Land has also teamed with multiple New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham on a new sci-fi series, the first of which, The Rising, will be published by Forge in January of 2017. He is a 1979 graduate of Brown University and lives in Providence, Rhode Island.


  1. Jon, I love westerns! [And Caitliln Strong]

    Although High Noon is one of my favorite westerns, I think I’m more of a mystery/thriller fan than a western fan. However, creator Gene Roddenberry referred to Star Trek, one of my all-time favorite shows, as “Wagon Train to the stars” when he was pitching the show to the folks at NBC. Kind of fits in there with Star Wars, doesn’t it?

    Shopping today? Not a chance.

  2. Jon, I love the Caitlin Strong books...thanks for stopping by JRW!

    Like Joan, High Noon is one of my favourite westerns mainly because it starred John Wayne and Grace Kelly. But I am definitely more of a thriller movie fan. I just came back from vacation in San Francisco, so I am thinking of that classic film, Bullitt. Although I never learned to drive, the classic car chase scene in that film is awesome.

    As for Black Friday shopping, I did some on-line shopping last night. Bought some hard to find mystery fiction titles from Amazon.

  3. The last place I would be today is near a store. I plan to curl up in from of the fireplace and read! I watched many westerns in our small town movie theater growing up. There was always Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and Hopalong Cassidy...and I still remember SHANE!
    I must play catch up with Caitlin Strong though...I think I'm now 3-4 books behind.

  4. Welcome Jon and congratulations on your series. It's been a long time since I read a western, maybe Annie Proulx's novella BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. Or Larry M Murtry's LONESOME DOVE. Or William Mason's COWBOYS AND INDIANS. You are certainly in good company here, and I look forward to reading your books.

    No shopping for me today other than a trip to Wegman's for orange juice and a couple of things I ran out of yesterday. Per our tradition, we turned on the outside Christmas lights last night. With a layer of snow on top, they shone through like stained glass. We'll probably put up the tree this afternoon, and then kick back with good books -- thank you Reds -- and maybe some Netflix.

    Yesterday our house was full of love and light and food. This morning it is quiet, still dark out at 7 am. I'll not be cooking for a few days, not until we've made a bigger dent in that 18 pound turkey and all the leftovers.

    Once again I didn't make enough stuffing. Perhaps next year we'll skip everything else and concentrate on stuffing exclusively. It's the perfect food.

    Last Thanksgiving quote to start your Black Friday:

    Ever notice how you never get laid on Thanksgiving? I think it’s because all the coats are on the bed.
    - George Carlin

  5. Welcome to Jungle Red, Jon -
    I remember reading somewhere that Sam Spade and Marlow were Western heroes...I think the point was that they each hewed to their own form of justice. I've got a soft spot for westerns. The Longmire books. Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove. I miss the Holmes on the Range series. Not thrillers. I think there are as lots of parallels, too, with Greek tragedy. NOT shopping.

  6. Jon, your comparisons are great. So many westerns seem to have a loner--either the good guy or the bad guy--at the heart. And so do many thrillers. The Bourne books would fall into the same category, don't you think?

    Our turkey was done to perfection, in plenty of time for dinner, and Hank, it only takes 10-12 minutes per pound, not twenty. I ordered a locally raised free range bird this year from my favorite farmer, and as usual, the bird was stellar, probably the best, juiciest turkey we've ever had.

    Reine, referring to your comments from yesterday that I missed until now, yes, there is a lot of drama and stress in having a large group to entertain, even (and maybe more so) when there are lots of helpers. Well-meaning helpers, to be sure, but still.

    And you slipped in the big news about your van!!! I'm so pleased for you, and wish you many happy and safe travel hours in your new wheels. You are MOBILE, lady!

  7. Good morning good morning! So lovely to see you all… And hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
    It is interesting to think about all the archetypes… Remember the saying about there are only two kinds of stories: a stranger comes to town, and someone goes on a journey. And, depending on point of view, those are the same.
    And detective story too, is one person out fighting evil.
    So whether it's a horse or a Maserati, it's similar. So fascinating.
    Gram, I am with you! No shopping. :-)

  8. Joan! That is amazing. I never heard "wagon train to the stars"… Brilliant.

    Confession: I have never seen Brokeback mountain. Is it too late?

    Confession number two: we went to friends house for Thanksgiving last night, and it was great, but Ann, I am making my own stuffing today.

  9. Oh, Jaren, I was haunted by that 20 minutes a pound of thing… it did seem like a long time, but I thought it was right. Luckily I didn't make a turkey this year. :-) Now I'm going to look it up… But I am pleased that it turned out so perfectly! What's your secret?

    Reine, hope today dawned bright and sunny in every way.

  10. Grace, so interesting! What books did you get?

  11. Hank: I love Mark Coggins' PI Riordan books. His (6th) newest one, No Hard Feelings, just came out in trade paperback, published by Down and Out Books. I discovered Susan Cummings Miller at the 2011 Left Coast Crime, and I love her Frankie MacFarlane geologist series. She is published by a small university press (Texas Tech University Press), so it's hard to get her books at a reasonable price. Her newest book is called Chasm & I got a trade paperback for $10 instead of $60 in hardback. And I heard about George Fong a couple of years ago at the Long Beach Bouchercon and got his first FBI book, Fragmented.

    FYI, the Black Friday deal @ is a $10 discount with any hard copy book purchase over $25. Code is: HOLIDAYBOOK.

  12. I think one of my favorites was "Firefly" - which was a western in space. I mean, they all the trappings of westerns, settling strange planets, the rich landowners, the folks just scrabbling to get by. And the crew of Firefly, smugglers but with a captain who has his own code, defying the government, but willing to take a risk to save someone. Of course all the ones Jon lists are great, too. "No Country for Old Men" was so haunting.

    Shopping? No way. I'll wait until things settle down or shop online. The Hubby has to go to Home Depot. Good luck to him.

    Hank, the cheesecloth trick worked like a charm. Our turkey yesterday was perfect!

  13. Hank, when we were first married a gourmet cook friend of the family shared this tip, and I've been roasting fowl this way ever since. I spray it all over with Pam (you could also use butter), and into the cavity I add a quartered onion, a quartered apple, and a piece of thickly buttered bread. The steam from the cooking onion and apple seems to help make the bird juicier. No idea why the buttered bread, but I'm not messing with tradition on that one!

    And I never stuff turkeys or chickens. I don't know if that makes the difference or not, but I'm not a fan of stuffing, anyway.

    Brokeback Mountain was a longish short story, the longest selection in a book of short stories by Annie Proulx called Close Range: Wyoming Stories. I'd read the novella/short story first, then see if you wanted to watch the movie. It's really heart-wrenching, in my opinion.

  14. Joan: Indeed, HIGH NOON is a true classic of the form, along with SHANE and THE SEARCHERS starring John Wayne. And I love your thought on Gene Roddenberry's capsule summary of STAR TREK. So, so true and you are spot on in your thinking.

  15. Grace: It's great to be here and thanks for being a fan of Caitlin's. A wonderful choice in Bullit. Steve McQueen plays the classic loner hero, riding a souped-up Mustang instead of a horse. Interesting that the villain in that movie, Robert Vaughn, has a big role in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. But BULLIT is an excellent example of a modern day Western.

  16. Grace, that is wonderful advice--thank you! I don't know any of those authors.. and wow, a secret discount! (I just got an email from Amazon reminding me I might like PRIME TIME by Hank Phillippi Ryan. How did it know??

    Karen (not Jaren sigh)--the bread thing is interesting. Do yu make grvy? Does it make there be fewer drippings?

    Mary--I am thrilled that the cheesecloth worked. ANd very touched to think about you thinking about me as you cooked the feast. Aw.

    Oh, and Brokeback Mountain. I can't do heart-wrenching. Right now I am refusing to see Manchester by the Sea, much to Jonathan's chagrin.

  17. Gram: Great to hear that you'll be catching up on your Caitlin Strong reading. And, oh man, SHANE is the absolute best example of all. The book's author, Jack Schaeffer, actually coined the phrase "savior psychopath" to describe Shane and in that respect he is the most prototypical example of the modern day thriller hero. Ex-gunfighters are now ex-Navy SEALS or special operators who have a past they're trying to escape but can't. And what a great movie!

  18. Ann (in Rochester): Your selection of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN is interesting because it highlights the use of romance in the Western-motif. Kind of like a different take on the Warren Betty mud-soaked Western MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER. This isn't a common theme in the form, more like a tangental one of relationships that remain unrequited, as in SHANE (not hard to figure that Jean Arthur's character has fallen in love with Shane). And your comment also highlights how highly emotional and relationship-based the Western form really is. Indeed, another thriller form that grew out of the Western was the buddy movie, like LETHAL WEAPON or 48 HOURS.

  19. Hallie: What a great point on Marlowe and Sam Spade. I hadn't actually thought of applying this theory to the more hard-boiled detective noir novels but it's actually a perfect fit. Another example would be the great Spencer Tracey film BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK, where a disabled man comes to a small town in search of his friend and finds a kind of buttoned-up modern day Tombstone where he has take to take the law into his own hand (the other doesn't work because of a war injury). Great film if you've never seen it.

  20. Karen: I think the Bourne movies are excellent examples here, in fact. They're very much like the spaghetti Westerns on which Clint Eastwood cut his teeth as the Man with No Name. Well, Bourne literally doesn't have a name either. He's so much like the character Eastwood plays in HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, just riding our of the sunrise into the town of Lago to right a past wrong. Great point!

  21. Mary: FIREFLY is a terrific example of a modern day Western. So much of the Western form is about a quest--John Wayne spending 8 years looking for his niece played by Natalie Wood in the SEARCHERS. Or WAGON TRAIN, the TV show referenced in some other posts starring WARD BOND where they never really get anywhere. FIREFLY, Joss Whedon's cult favorite, was indeed a Western in space with the various locations the crew visited much like the various towns heroes like Richard Boone's Paladin (HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL) or Steve McQueen's Josh Randle (WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE) show up at in varying weeks.

  22. Oh, Jon, savior-psychopath is so fascinating! We do see that, so often--and the line is blurry, isn't it? I mean--Reacher? Bond? Salander?

    And now you have me thinking about Wagon Train. Hmm. I just asked Jonathan: on Wagon Train, where were they going? He mulled it over...and finally said: "west." Good answer!

  23. Good answer indeed, Hank! My editor at Forge, our mutual friend Bob Gleason, was SHANE author's Jack Schaeffer's last editor. Over drinks one night he asked Schaeffer where he'd gotten the idea for the character of Shane. Turned out Schaeffer had been deeply affected by his experience fighting in World War II and was struck by the fact that one monster, Stalin, helped us defeat another monster in Hitler. For that one moment the monstrous Stalin did something good--and that's where the phrase savior psychopath comes from. Shaeffer's point was that heroes and villains are different sides of the same coin, having more in common that what sets them apart. The heroes often come from violent backgrounds--in Westerns, they're Civil War vets or gunfighters; in thrillers, they're ex-military guys. In that sense, you could argue that the great David Morrell personified this better than anyone when he created Rambo in FIRST BLOOD. A stranger shows up in town, gets mistreated, and ends up setting things right while settling scores. Sounds like a Western, right? Well, Rambo is a prime example of the savior psychopath, just as Martin Riggs from LETHAL WEAPON is, along with Harry Callahan (DIRTY HARRY) and John McClane (DIE HARD).

  24. Hank: Also love your allusion to Lizbeth Salander. She's a perfect example of exactly what we're discussing here. Bond and Reacher are prime examples too, especially the Bond of the Fleming books and early movies.

  25. Mary Sutton, you beat me to Firefly!! It's such a perfect example. And although I remember thinking when I first saw Star Wars that it was a classic Western, I'd never heard Star Trek referred to as "Wagon Train in Space." Too funny and so true!

    I've never been a big Western fan, not of old or new movies or in books. Interesting, isn't it, what attracts us to things? You would think that being a Texas I'd have grown up loving cowboys. Maybe I was rebelling against expectations...

    I do love Longmire, however, both the books and the TV series, and, Jon, I love your Caitlin Strong. You've done such a great job of turning the male savior/hero tradition on it's head.

    On the Western morphing into sci-fi, what about Alien? Ripley is certainly the gunslinger/savior...

    I have not seen Brokeback Mountain, because I wasn't sure I could bear the heartbreaking story.

    Nor No Country for Old Men. Should I? Sometime when I feel really emotionally fortified?

  26. PS: No way I'm out shopping today!!! Although I may order a couple of things online.

  27. I grew up watching Westerns, the old black and white original versions in the sixties, and Bonanza was a staple on Sunday nights. Then, The Big Valley was one I never wanted to miss. And, although I would say I'm more a mystery reader/watcher than westerns as an adult, the modern adaptation of westerns on the screen have certainly caught my eye more than once. Dirty Harry was always a favorite, and more recently the futuristic Farscape (still don't know why that had to end).

    Jon, I don't know why I haven't gotten to your Caitlin Strong books yet, but they are now definitely on my list now to buy and read.

  28. Deborah: I just got my copy of your new book to review for the Providence Sunday Journal! Looks great! I didn't realize you were a Texan and I share your affinity for LONGMIRE. That series, both books and TV, is truly a modern day Western. The grizzled, anachronistic Walt kind of reminds me of a less violent version of the anti-heroes portrayed in Sam Peckinpaw's THE WILD BUNCH--aging not so bad guys running out of land to range and banks to rob. Longmire looks like he got dropped into the wrong age. And you should definitely check out NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN but every time Javier Bardem's Anton Chigurgh appears, beware!

  29. Jon, I have to confess that I've never seen "Shane" or "Bullit. Sounds like I need to put them on my TBW list. Can you recommend a William Holden western? I seem to remember that he's particularly handsome ;). I loved your examples of westerns under the guise of thrillers. I think most people want to believe there is some order in the world (wherever that world may be,) and when that order is out of whack, someone will come and restore it.

    Mary, like you, my husband and I loved "Firefly." Why do great shows get cancelled after only one season? For you "Castle" lovers, Nathan Fillion plays the lead, Captain Mal Reynolds, and the show is made for binge-watching.

    Ann, I'm with you on the stuffing. It is the perfect food.

    Absolutely no to shopping on Black Friday!! Hank, what's the compromise movie since "Manchester By the Sea" is out?

  30. Kathy: I'm predicting you're going to love my Caitlin Strong books! There are eight of them in total and most people prefer starting at the beginning with STRONG ENOUGH TO DIE, although a surprising number have made the latest, STRONG COLD DEAD, their first read in the series. I remember THE BIG VALLEY, kind of a poor man's BONANZA with Barbara Stanwyck playing the Lorne Greene roll. Believe it was Lee Majors' first regular job and Richard Long was terrific too. Came on about the same time as THE VIRGINIAN with James Drury in the last of the Western's Golden Age on TV.

  31. Ingrid: Great question! Bill Holden's done a couple Westerns but the best, and most iconic, was THE WILD BUNCH, which I just alluded to. His portrayal of an outlaw who's outlived the age that spawned him is brilliant character study in living life on your own terms and finding a crass nobility and an utterly lawless and ignoble world. One of the best westerns ever made highlighted by terrific performances by Holden and Robert Ryan as opposite sides of the same coin. It's very violent, so if that's a concern, let me know and I'll pick another.

  32. Thanks for the recommendation, Jon! I'm not big on violence, but is it safe to assume that 1969 violence is less intense than what we're used to now?

  33. Ingrid: You could also try STREETS OF LAREDO, involving the Texas Rangers coincidentally, ALVAREZ KELLY or THE HORSE SOLDIERS, an especially solid choice because I believe it's the only time Bill Holden ever worked with John Wayne.

  34. Two for the price of one! Thanks, Jon. I will definitely check out "The Horse Soldiers."

    I'll have to ask my mom if she remembers that one. She used to go to a matinee every Saturday, and the main feature was usually a western. The movie would cost $.25 and her Three Musketeers bar was $.10. She probably won't be happy I've disclosed those details, but it just proves there was a time when the concessions cost less than the movie!

  35. Debs, No Country for Old Men? Ah. Brutal. Be careful with that one.

    (But let me say--I did watch Have Gun WIll Travel. But not Bonanza, or Big Valley. I really (ducking) avoid westerns, Why is that?)

    FIrefly sounds great, and maybe a perfect binge-watch for a gloomy day like today!

    ANd Ingrid, we are debating Allied as a good compromise. (I already cried through half of Arrival, so no more movie-crying this week for me...)

    Kathy--such fun for you to start reading the Caitlins! They'll be such fun to review... (Jon, you know Kathy's blog, right?)

  36. Have Gun, Will Travel. Palladin was something else, wasn't he. I've always liked westerns. Let's face it. 1950's and 1960's TV was overrun with westerns. I did not watch Wagon Train or Gunsmoke though. I thought they were boring compared to Maverick.
    I really enjoy reading the Longmire books; Craig Johnson has done a wonderful job. I do watch the TV Longmire but it is more angsty than I like. How about Hang "Em High as a classic loner-dispensing justice-movie? Oh and I agree with Kathy about Farscape. It was a classic space western. I'm with you Hank about sad movies. I've never seen Brokeback Mountain. Or any of these movies where one of a couple is dying.
    If I know it is going to be heartbreaking I will take a pass. I'm also taking a pass on shopping today. My husband (Vietnam vet) and son (Iraqi war vet) both went to the VA this morning to have their hearing checked. Son is fine; hubby needs hearing aids. And he is finally going to do something about it.

  37. Oh, PAtD, hearing aids will be so life-changing--for your both! (And agreed--I have not seen Beaches, or Terms of Endearment, or that other one that's just like that. Fried Green Tomatoes.)

    Maverick! I forgot. Yes, I loved that. Looooong ago...xoo

  38. Pat D: I echo your comments on Have Gun, Will Travel. Great that the Starz Western Channel reruns a whole bunch of the classics that include this and even Clint Walter's CHEYANNE. HANG 'EM HIGH is indeed the classic revenge piece, as was HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, which is another staple of the modern day thriller genre. Not as much as redemption, but it's there. Funny, I never got into Gunsmoke either. The television western was usurped in the 60s by cop, detective and private eye shows like HAWAIIAN EYE, SURFSIDE SIX, 77 SUNSET STRIP, THE UNTOUCHABLES, THE DETECTIVES, M SQUAD, THE NAKED CITY--the list goes on and on. And if you look at many of those cop shows, they were really just modern day Westerns as well!

  39. Jon, so nice to see you here. Still waiting to see if a series or movie deal comes through on the Caitlin Strong series.

    As I read through the comments I was thinking of both Firefly and Farscape. Very much old western types, with a great take on "cowboys & outlaws in space". Have both series on DVD & periodically re-watch just for pleasure.

    Bullitt! I remember seeing it in the theater. By the end of that famous chase scene through San Fran I was hunkered down so low I could barely see over the seat back in front of me. So glad I saw it on the big screen--it loses impact on the small screen.

    One of the few benefits of living in a small town is the lack of craziness if you do go out on Black Friday. The one time I went shopping on Black Friday was 5, maybe 6 years ago at our local Wal Mart. It wasn't for bargains, it was for dog chow. So I went about 11 AM, and while I was getting a few other things since I was there I saw a larger screen TV on sale. And ours was old! Called home to get spouse's advice & ended up buying it.

  40. Me too, Diane--one of these days Caitlin will see or shoot her way to the big or little screen. Speaking of which, sales on some fantastic televisions are everywhere. I saw where Walmart was featuring a 55 inch Phillips 4k model for $298. That's like it giving it away. So good for you taking advantage by getting yourself a new one to watch some of these movies and TV shows we've been discussing. I'm jealous!

  41. Jon, I was just going to ask---the Caitlin series is SO perfect for TV..would you ever write a screenplay or script?

    And you make me smile, just thinking about 77 Sunset Strip. What was it, anyway? All I remember is Kookie.

  42. Hank: It was a private detective show starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr., famous for its catchy theme which is now stuck in my head. I did work with a terrific director named Carl Franklin (DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS) on a screenplay based on STRONG ENOUGH TO DIE, but nothing ever came of it. I think Caitlin is far better suited for television, but the right opportunity just hasn't come along yet. In fact, no opportunity has come along yet!

  43. Jon, Diane and others: I agree that Caitlin would be awesome if someone put on her the small (or big) screen!

  44. Thanks, Grace! Now all we need is the right person in Hollywood to feel the same way!

  45. I'm signing off for a few hours to go to the gym, but will respond to any more comments that come in early tonight, so check back in then to comment further or for the first. Great discussion so far today and I'm already looking forward to coming back to Jungle Red! Jon

  46. Jon, you are a rock star! Thank you.

    And we are off to Allied. Back later with a full report.

  47. I love the loner/outsider story, be it in western, police, private eye, ex-military or any other form. Bullitt, Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, etc. I grew up on westerns, lived in Texas and Oklahoma in the 50's and 60's. Paladin was a favorite. How about The Rockford Files? He definitely fits the profile.

    I will definitely be checking out Caitlin Strong. Sounds like my kind of girl. My favorite western book/movie is Lonesome Dove. Gus and Call were perfect. Like Clara, I loved Gus and despised Call. But this was one movie where every character was perfectly cast and portrayed. If you don't already love Robert Duvall, you will after watching Lonesome Dove.

  48. Hank, please let us know about Allied. It looks good, but you never know and I hate to waste the money on a mediocre movie.

  49. Hank,

    What a great theme! Thinking about Western movies, I was reminded of visiting a movie set in Arizona. It was for a Western and it was open to the public. There has been many Westerns. I remember Blazing Saddles, the movie.

    Jon Land,

    Your Caitlin Strong character sounds great. I added your books to my TBR list. I have two or three questions. If you were producing the movie, which actress can you see as Caitlin Strong?

    Second question: You graduated from Brown U. When I was applying to colleges, I was told it was OK to have a pet in your dorm. Did you have a pet at Brown U.?


  50. Beverly, ah. It was a good Friday afternoon movie. Brad Pitt was never my favorite, so there's a bar to hurdle. :-)

  51. Jon, was it "Cookie, Cookie, lend me your comb?"?

  52. Jon, was it "Cookie, Cookie, lend me your comb?"?

  53. Kooky, Kooky, lend me your comb.

  54. Hank, "Firefly" is only 13 episodes, so perfect for some binge-watching. It's on Netflix (I think).

    If I remember correctly, "Firefly" failed to gain much of a following because the network aired the episodes out of order (3-1-2 I think). So it didn't make sense.

    We just started watching another sci-fi show on Netflix yesterday "Dark Matter." Oh yeah, all the Western themes.

  55. Diana: Sorry I missed your post later on Friday. I'll answer your second question first: no, I didn't have a pet while at Brown-too much responsibility with all those papers to write, etc.! As for an actress to play Caitlin Strong, I've always pictured Jessica Biel for some reason. Right age, athleticism, size, looks--everything. Jennifer Garner would be great, as would Hilary Swank. Sandra Bullock and Angelina Jolie are a bit too old now unfortunately. But the bottom line is the best actress to portray Caitlin is . . . the one who ends up playing her! Look forward to hearing what you think of the books. You can reach me directly at Jon

  56. Karen: Sorry to say I don't remember. I was so young at the time that the truth is all I remember about 77 Sunset Strip was that catchy theme song!

  57. Beverly: I loved LONESOME DOVE. Both Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duval was great and, I imagine, the original episodes would make for great binge watching today. Wonderful portrayal of the less Old West. Jon