Most of us have a favorite cowboy movie, one of the greats like Rio Bravo, Shane, perhaps one of the versions of True Grit or the ever amusing, Three Amigos. And of course endless arguments have been waged at high noon in many a saloon over which was best.
But for me, two favorites stand tall above all others. To me,
all other westerns wore a black hat when the 1976 classic, Missouri Breaks
hit the screens. Directed by Arthur Penn and starring Jack Nicholson
and Marlon Brando with a herd of other famous actors, this strange tale
about horse thieves and land barons ended all debate for me about what
Western was best.
And a few years later, over the horizon loped along the classic, Tom Horn, (“I ain't never ete a bug that big before….”) one of Steve McQueen’s last movies.
And both were written (Tom Horn was co-written) by a
real-life Montana cowboy, Tom McGuane. He's a master storyteller and
writer who is a Wallace Stegner Fellow, a member of the American Academy
of Arts and Letters, leaden with arm-loads of other literary awards --
and he's in both the National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Fame and
the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame.
Come on you scribblers and cowboy wanna-bes, top that!
So it was most exciting and a great honor when McGuane invited
us to visit him at his ranch in the wilds of Montana, and to sit in his
writing studio to chat with him about his life as a reader and a writer
of novels, short stories, and of course screenplays.
And it with great pride that we share with you the results of
that chat, and the insights and remembrances that he shared with us on
that warm summer day.