Why I Love the Old West

Screenshot of John Wayne from the trailer for ...
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Why I Love the Old West

Traci Kenworth

 

It was a simpler time. A time when a man’s word was his bond. When what you said could either get you in trouble or save your life. I love old westerns, very few of the newer ones. Don’t get me wrong, there were some social ills that I wouldn’t have wanted to live with: outlaws, the way women, children, and other races were treated, the lack of medical care, poor, sanitary conditions etc. Maybe it’s the onscreen “romance” of it all that makes it fond to me.

I collect horses, tons of them. My theme in the house, however, is the Old West. I recently ran across a tiny cowboy boot and a picture of a Native American chasing down buffalos. My dad got me started on westerns. We used to watch every John Wayne movie there was. To this day, he’s still my favorite actor of that time period. There was something so simple about him onscreen. He meant what he said and protected his. He was a man’s man.

I read tons of Native American romance books but I always wanted to know more of their story. Only in recent years do I think they’ve done justice to their image in the Old West. And still, we need more. This is a huge population of people we know almost nothing about. Their hopes, their dreams, their lifestyles. We’ve reduced them to a footnote in history and only bring them out on occasion. This is beyond belief sad.

When I was little I had a set of cowboys and Native Americans. I, typical writer, used to make up scripts for them to act out. My then world had things leveled in the future time period and man had reverted to Old West status, except modernized by way of rights. There were no towns etc. though, just groups of people and animals migrating from place to place. I even brought dinosaurs back into the mix. Lol. I know. The things kids do.

I think this is what inspired my Akara world. I just felt like the Native Americans needed a voice. And I wanted to show them alongside us as we could have been: brothers in spirit. I’ve done the same with other races within the community but it is to the Native Americans that I’m drawn. Theirs is such a rich history, a robust flavor that deserves to be told. Maybe in doing so, we can heal age-old prejudice. God made all men and women equal. It’s time that we stood up for that Bible verse, after all, we made it a part of our constitution.

So, I guess maybe my earlier statement is wrong. Life wasn’t simpler than, it was just as complicated as it is today. But it doesn’t have to be. We could welcome others into our hearts, into our lives, on firm ground, assured that we’re all in this together. We need to stand united in this day and age. Against injustice, poverty, discrimination, and those who would do us harm. Together, we can take this nation back to what it should have been, what it still could be. The melting pot of America is meant to be just that: one nation, undivided, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Maybe it is such a simple thing.

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2 thoughts on “Why I Love the Old West

  1. Traci, great post lady! As always (smiles). A couple of years ago I took a trip out west and did a wagon train ride on the Oregon Trail and let me tell you it was not always comfortable. I have no idea how familyes spent so much time on going cross country. And you’re right. I don’t think life was simpler. Just different. Like you said there was more prejudice, ailments that weren’t treatable, etc. yet, can you imagine seeing our great land back then? The vastness still mostly unmarred by houses, buildings etc?

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  2. I think that’s what attracts me to the time period: land that would stretch as far as the eye could see, unpolluted, unmarred. We’re losing even the smaller tracts of land around here and it’s sad sometimes to think of all the changes that have been made to advance things. But then, I get out in the country and things just feel different, all right, out here. I think that’s why my Akara are in back country too.

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