Today join me in welcoming Harlequin Intrigue author Carol Ericson! She writes great stories of romantic suspense, but her latest books surround the McClintock brothers - Ryder, Rafe, Rod, and I hear there's a half-brother coming soon as well! I read the first book in her McClintock saga, Circumstantial Memories, and can't wait to read the second, which launches this month...
It’s pretty clear we all love cowboys! Is it the steely gaze under a wide-brimmed cowboy hat? The tight jeans beneath the chaps? Or the true heart beating beneath the silver badge? The image of the cowboy is one of someone who is fiercely loyal, protective, independent, and honorable. But how did this image originate? I think it goes back to the time of America’s expansion West.
Manifest Destiny. Americans have always believed we had a duty to explore and expand. But just think about the first settlers who headed West, braving hostile Native American tribes, inclement weather, and the unknown. Think about the men who preceded these settlers—trappers, mountain men, miners. They had to be brave, independent, fearless, and strong.
When these men (and women) traveled West, in many cases there were no laws, no rules, no civilization. Sometimes a single sheriff or marshal was all that stood between settlers and bad people intent on taking their land or stealing their cattle. Sometimes not even a lawman was present. Without the rule of law governing them, cowboys became a law unto themselves. They had to live by a code of honor. They became the knights errant of their time and locale.
In the early 1900’s authors picked up on this image of the cowboy as knight errant. Writers such as Zane Grey (Riders of the Purple Sage), Louis L’Amour (Hondo), and Owen Wister (The Virginian) solidified the image of the heroic cowboy in the National psyche.
Soon after, Hollywood further romanticized the cowboy, producing such films as High Noon, Shane, Stagecoach, and The Searchers, making a star of John Wayne. Then we got the “Spaghetti Westerns,” the Italians’ take on the American cowboy—Sergio Leone’s films, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and A Fistful of Dollars, landed Clint Eastwood in the cowboy hall of fame! Eastwood is still my quintessential idea of a cowboy (and I met him once, but that’s another story!). Then Eastwood went on to make a couple of stellar Westerns himself – Pale Rider and Unforgiven.
Today we still love our cowboys. Western movies wax and wane in popularity, but in romance novels cowboys are always a favorite hero.
The heroes of my McClintock Brother series for Harlequin Intrigue are all cowboys from Colorado. This month, Rafe McClintock, The Sheriff of Silverhill, gets his story.
So who’s your favorite cowboy of all time?
Thank you, Carol, for the intriguing post! Readers, you have until midnight EST Tuesday, January 12th to enter. The winner will be announced the following Tuesday, January 19th! Chances of winning depend on the number of entries. You must be 18 years or older to enter.
Be sure to check in tomorrow for another great guest author. And today's the last day to enter Cindy Spencer Pape's giveaway (below)....