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Old Henry (2021) – Great Old West Film

Gothic WestWith the gorgeous and stark grasslands of Waterford, Tennessee, standing in for 1906 Oklahoma, “Old Henry” opens with a scene worthy of Clint Eastwood’s Old West film such as “Pale Rider” and “Unforgiven”. Henry (Tim Blake Nelson) plays a widowed farmer and his estranged son Wyatt (Gavin Lewis), living out their days in a small, isolated patch of fertile land from which they scratch out a meager living. Things however, take an unexpected turn when a grievously injured stranger named Curry (Scott Haze) stumbles into their midst with a cash loot. Henry nurses the man back to health but is suspicious of Curry and the story he conjures. Soon enough a posse of unsavory characters headed by their vicious ringleader Ketchum (Stephen Dorff) turns up on their doorstep and all proverbial hell break loose.

By this point, we’ve come to suspect there’s more to Old Henry than meets the eye. He’s adept at tending to Curry’s wounds, he punches out Curry with fast efficiency at one point, he’s lightning-fast with a gun and he sure isn’t acting like a scared farmer when he’s told there’s a trio of killers headed this way. Writer-director Potsy Ponciroli does a magnificent job of creating a slow build of tension, punctuated by the occasional and stunning moment of violence. (There’s even a measure of dark and grisly humor, e.g., when a body is disposed of and hungry pigs are fed, and those are not disconnected occurrences.)

Gothic West

With beautiful, widescreen cinematography by John Matysiak, impeccable production design and a pitch-perfect score from Jordan Lehning, “Old Henry” is a well-paced and engrossing story — and that’s even before there’s a revelation that’s great (that we saw coming as soon as we heard a certain character’s name). The ensemble is uniformly excellent, but this is Tim Blake Nelson’s showcase from the moment he appears onscreen, and he delivers world-weary greatness every step of the way.

Billy the Kid Photo

Billy the Kid photoYears ago I commented on the Billy the Kid PBS special and how the famous Billy the Kid photo kept appearing on the screen over and over. That’s because there are only two authentic photographs of Billy the Kid presently in existence.  The most famous one is a two-by-three-inch ferrotype or tintype, taken by an unknown itinerant photographer outside Beaver Smith’s Saloon in Old Fort Sumner, around 1880…Because it portrays Billy as a very unattractive person, many have called it his visa picture.

Originally people didn’t realize that since it was a tintype, the image was actually reversed.  So, everyone though Billy the Kid was left handed. This misconception even inspired the 1958 movie “The Left Handed Gun,” starring Paul Newman as Billy.

Finally firearms experts looked at the Kid’s Winchester and noticed its spring plate, where the cartridges are loaded, was on the left side.  But Winchester produced firearms with spring plates only on the right side.  So, later books and publications have the reversed image reversed, so it’s correct.

Recently the Billy the Kid photo went on the auction block and a retired Wichita industrialist who collects everything from Wild West memorabilia to Picassos bought it for $2 million…Incidentally, it was thought it would go for about $300,000.

Heard Around the Bunkhouse #9 – Old West Speak

Old West speakIn our feature Heard Around the Bunkhouse we bring you Western and Old West Speak that they used back in the Wild West. Even we are amazed by the humor and originality they used. Hope you enjoy them, and send us your favorite terms from those past times.

COLD AS A WAGON WHEEL: A person who has been dead for several days.

DEAD MEAL: A corpse.

NOT ONE’S FUNERAL: None of one’s business.

SHOTGUN CHAPS: Leather leggings that encased the whole leg. The looks are similar to a double barreled shotgun.

SHOTGUN HOUSE: A house built with all the rooms in a row.

Chuckwagon: Fricasseed Racoon Recipe

Fricasseed Racoon Recipe

Racoon Recipe1 Raccoon
1 onion, sliced into rings
1/2 C vinegar
1 1/2 C water
2-3 T lard or other fat
1 bay leaf
For the Fricasseed Racoon Recipe skin the raccoon, remove the musk glands and dress out the carcass. Soak in salt water overnight to draw out the blood. Baking soda can be added to the water to remove any gamey smell. Cut raccoon into serving pieces and dredge in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown in hot fat. Add remaining ingredients. cover and simmer 2 hours or until tender. Thicken the juice with flour and water mixture for gravy. Serve hot with cornbread.

Outer Range: Sci Fi Western Television Series

Outer Range is an American science fiction Sci Fi Western television series created by Brian Watkins and starring Josh Brolin. It premiered on Amazon Prime Video on April 15, 2022.

Royal Abbott is a Wyoming rancher, fighting for his land and family, who discovers a mysterious black void in the pasture, following the arrival of Autumn, a drifter with a connection to Abbott’s ranch. While the Abbott family copes with the disappearance of their daughter-in-law Rebecca, they are pushed further to the brink when a rival family, the Tillersons, try to take over their land.

Outer Range - Western television series

In February 2020, it was announced that Josh Brolin had signed on to star in Outer Range. The Western television series is executive produced by Brolin, Brian Watkins, Zev Borow, Heather Rae, Robin Sweet, Lawrence Trilling, Amy Seimetz, Tony Krantz, and Brad Pitt through his Plan B Entertainment. In December 2020, it was announced that Lewis Pullman, Noah Reid, Shaun Sipos, and Isabel Arraiza had joined the cast, alongside Brolin, Imogen Poots, Lili Taylor, Tamara Podemski, and Tom Pelphrey.

The series marks Brolin’s first television series role in nearly 20 years. The Western Sci Fi  series was filmed over the course of eight months in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Outer Range: Sci Fi Western Television Series

Creator Brian Watkins says: “That part of Wyoming is like God’s country. The soil is so rich. The topography is so beautiful. It’s one of the most miraculous, wondrous places on earth. And I think the reason it was important to keep them as a traditional ranching family that was really humble was to really explore characters that stand on values, that stand on principles that really embody what it means to not care about money, but to rather care about people and land and animals and things like that. I think over the course of the season, we also see how those principles are thrown into question and they’re challenged and they’re faced with the unknown in a certain way that it really helps each character look at the very ground that they’re standing on and what it means to them in the midst of an inexplicable world.”