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Claybank



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PostSubject: Canon or history?   Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:57 pm

Although I love watching ASJ it's struck me several times watching different episodes that there are several bloopers that get made over and over in the show and it's driving me crazy because I want to be as accurate as possible in my writing.
Female hair-do's. Why do so many of the females on the show dress in lovely dresses and then leave their hair down? It's something that was never done in the old West-besides immediately coming across as a brazen hussy, women weren't silly enough to leave their long hair down to get tangled.

And the guys' hats. They're forever riding around in the hot sun and wind without a hat, and there's never any mention of sunstroke until the plot calls for them to run out of water and barely stagger into town alive. Surely men who had been out-of-doors for that many years would have learned to keep their hats on?

I'm trying to make my stories as historically accurate as possible, but it's been done so many times on the show that it's starting to seem like canon to have hatless outlaws and disreputable females. So do I write canon or history? Which would readers prefer?
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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:01 pm

I prefer historically true stories. And if you can add a historical note at the end, even better! Hollywood shows what looks good and not always historically accurate. Some think Heyes looks great with the bandana around his forehead while others think it looks silly.

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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:28 pm

For me, in a word...History.

That said, we should also respect canon. I guess I'm concerned more with the bigger picture and overall message. Otherwise, a little poetic/dramatic license is fine.
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HelenWest

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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:08 pm

There are so many contradictions in the series that I like to choose the version that suits me. And then I set it in as real history as I can. When my real (not just google!) research can help me there, then fine. But it is hard to keep it balanced - so many of the tropes of the western stories we see in the show are just plain silly. On the hat thing, I love the repeated joke about putting guys' hats back on their heads after they've been beat up and tied up. In reality, as you point out, a hat was and is a survival thing out west. When I was out in Santa Fe one August, what was the first thing I did? Bought a hat!

Oh, on the hair thing - it seems to me that in many, many shows and movies they will show the costumes fairly accurately, but the women's hair goes according to the ideals of the time when the show was shot - so they can be sexy. Long hair worn down was in style during the 1960s and early 70s, so that's what you get in the series mostly. Would you agree? And the fake eyelashes are ridiculous! And I think Heyes' hair goes between decently authentic 1880s and 1970s in the silliest possible way - irritates the heck out of me.
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Claybank



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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:21 pm

Thanks guys! sm

So if I'm writing a scene with them riding across a desert, and I don't mention head wear at all, are my readers going to picture them hatless? To make it sound historically accurate do I need to mention something about their hats so readers get that image in their minds?

As for the females, I'm just glad that they've (mostly) stayed away from girls in britches. That's one historical blunder that really drives me up the wall in western movies.
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HelenWest

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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:27 pm

Claybank (great handle!) I always picture the boys' riding in hats - as they normally do in the show. That would be my assumption whether or not you say it is up to you, I'd say.
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Penski
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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:59 pm

Claybank wrote:

So if I'm writing a scene with them riding across a desert, and I don't mention head wear at all, are my readers going to picture them hatless? To make it sound historically accurate do I need to mention something about their hats so readers get that image in their minds?

You don't need to mention hats. Usually they did wear hats.

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stormr

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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:27 am

The show was a 70's western made for entertainment not historical accuracy. It is full of contradictions. Personally, as long as its a good story I am fine with fiction or fact.
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WichitaRed
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PostSubject: the bandanna    Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:36 am

I always thought this might have been an actor choice. Never have I seen it done on other shows. But, I can imagine the make up they used on the boys would sting mercilessly when it got in your eyes and if you notice the times when the bandanna is in use Heyes is sweating...so I think it was an actors choice.

But I agree about the hats you think you would keep them on, especially having dark hair. Then again, I know when I am wearing mine their are times I cannot wait to get it off because it feels like it is trapping the heat in even more.

Hmmm hard to say huh?

What do y'all think?

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WichitaRed
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PostSubject: Hats   Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:41 am

I agree with you Helen..they are important in the West. I never climb on a horse without one of mine and I am guilty of having a hat tree full of them. But, I also have to say Heyes hair makes me giggle at times. I figure it must be the Red Rock barber...but somewhere along the way he knows a good barber because after a fresh cut his hair can feather as beautiful as a young child's curls. But, I do love that his hair is long. Many men in this time period wore a bit longer hair and it is one of the points about Heyes I love.

Now on clothing I just try to look the other way, since I get judged when I dress for the time period I know the yes and no's of 1860 to 1880's clothing and trust me Hollywood's idea with some of the guys own 1970's personality makes me absolutely cringe and giggle at times.

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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:37 am

The actual show demonstrates its 1970s Hollywood origins in many of the details -- the style of the music, the hair and makeup, clothing, etc. Also everyone is too clean, the clothes fit too well, and they get from place to place much too quickly. But that doesn't make it any less enjoyable.

For writing, I prefer that the setting/scenario, etc. be plausible to the time. I like little historical touches. But again, when reading, if the plotting is good, the characterization good, and the language flows I can forgive a lot. As to whether I need to explain that they are or are not wearing hats or that the women in the stories have their hair up or down -- if its not relevant to the plot, just leave it out. As a reader I prefer to imagine that level of detail for the characters myself -- I don't need or want minute descriptions (obviously some general ones can help establish the character).
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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:10 am

Questions like this always remind me of a reply by Richard (Kip) Carpenter, author of Robin of Sherwood. History buffs noticed that the timeline in RoS is a bit... off and Carpenter replied by saying he wrote a tv-series and not a history book. I have used elements from the show in my stories that may not be canon but good fun to use anyway, e.g. Heyes struggling to open cans and Curry's constant appetite for food. As for clothing... I don't think I pay a lot of attention to clothes' descriptions. Or descriptions in general. Flicking through one of my stories, I realized it contains mostly dialogue. Great. Now I feel obliged to do a re-write. scratch

Aaaanyway... I do try to be historically accurate . I remember for Quarantine, we needed for Heyes to get sick and we spent quite some time trying to find the right disease. (yes, there were some pretty morbid discussions Very Happy )

One of my stories stranded because it had Heyes and Curry get involved in Mississippi boatrace and I just didn't know enough about the actual boats themselves or the circumstances on such boats. No
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WichitaRed
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PostSubject: Guns   Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:10 pm

I noticed many authors refer to the Kid's gun as a Schofield....my curiosity is where is this reference from or did it just sound good. I am trying to stay with canon as far as his gun carrying choice.

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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:12 pm

Claybank wrote:


As for the females, I'm just glad that they've (mostly) stayed away from girls in britches. That's one historical blunder that really drives me up the wall in western movies.

Hi Claybank, Great thread you've started here. There were women who wore britches. Granted they were few and far between, but it depends in the context.

In the only known picture of Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton Detective, she is dressed as a male. There were also numerous others such as Martha Canary (AKA Calamity Jane), Belle Starr; not to mention Mary Edwards Walker who frequently dressed as a man. She served as an army surgeon during the Civil War and was arrested as a spy. After the war she became a campaigner for rights in many areas, including dress reform.

There are also photographs of women working in mines in England wearing men's trousers in the 1860's. As these are precisely the demographic who often emigrated looking for a better life, it's not too much of a stretch to see them doing the same thing on farms and ranches when they were doing hard manual work where they didn't expect to be seen. People are people, and likely to do what they have to, just to survive.

I think it did happen, although the dress would have been largely practical and functional; and except for campaigners or those on the margins of society - very much for certain uses. Not for church and social occasions though, that would be scandalous. That was why Mary Edwards Walker was arrested so often!
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sistergrace

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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:59 pm

WichitaRed wrote:
I noticed many authors refer to the Kid's gun as a Schofield....my curiosity is where is this reference from or did it just sound good. I am trying to stay with canon as far as his gun carrying choice.

I have been trying to attach images to this post, Wichita, but it has become obvious to me that I don't know what I'm doing, so instead, if you would like to contact me by pm, we can exchange emails. I have a few images you might like to see regarding the Colt/Schofield controversy that I would be happy to share with you.

After extensive research on this subject, I am satisfied that Curry carried a Colt, while Heyes carried a Schofield.

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Claybank



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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:19 pm

The gun that Curry carried was actually a specially designed Dakota, made to fit his hand by the show's gunsmith Monty Laird (who was also the main stunt man and stand in). He taught both Murphy and Duel how to fast draw and doubled for them in the fancy shooting scenes.
Somewhere on the internet (might be on the Pete Duel website?) is an interview where Monty talks about being a stunt man on ASJ-it's really interesting reading!
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WichitaRed
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PostSubject: Dakota   Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:58 pm

Cool I did think it looked like images I have of Dakotas...that is awesome

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HelenWest

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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:32 pm

I'm enjoying seeing everyone's thought on things I've been wrestling with. I've broken with the series in places in my writing to keep the history fairly accurate, but I never want to sacrifice the charm of the series that won us all over in the first place. The seriousness and the fun is tough to balance, but important to me. I guess I've done too much professional historical research to be able to put it all aside, but I try not to get too much involved with that end of it.

The emotional truth is what counts for me. And I don't have time to do the real research anew for my writing except very casually on the web, now that I don't have the great resources at hand that I used to have (I moved). So please pardon me for the errors (like I knew it wasn't really Colts the boys had - but I couldn't figure out what they were so decided to go with Colts for the fun of it) and I hope you can just enjoy the plot! I try to cut everybody else a break on that sort of thing, too, and just enjoy what you write. But when you do bring in good history, that's great.
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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:03 am

I think that is the important thing HelenWest, to enjoy what everyone has written. I personally had no idea what guns the boys carried and to be honest, I don't care. To me a gun is a gun - they all basically do the same thing. Some with more accuracy, better distance, more power etc... but they all shoot bullets, are all drawn super fast by Kid and are six shooters. As long as you don't say they carry automatic weapons, I'm good with it. This is for entertainment and a lot of us don't have the time, or desire to be pin point accurate on every detail of their stories. I do try to be general so not to be inaccurate and figure that if people don't like the way the story is written, they won't read my next one.
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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:40 am

stormr wrote:
I think that is the important thing HelenWest, to enjoy what everyone has written. I personally had no idea what guns the boys carried and to be honest, I don't care. To me a gun is a gun - they all basically do the same thing. Some with more accuracy, better distance, more power etc... but they all shoot bullets, are all drawn super fast by Kid and are six shooters. As long as you don't say they carry automatic weapons, I'm good with it. This is for entertainment and a lot of us don't have the time, or desire to be pin point accurate on every detail of their stories. I do try to be general so not to be inaccurate and figure that if people don't like the way the story is written, they won't read my next one.


What about water pistols? Very Happy
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HelenWest

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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:32 pm

Sound a lot more fun to me, Radiogaga! Nobody gets hurt - just soaked!
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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:08 pm

Speaking of water pistols... did you know that in the state of Louisiana it is illegal to shoot a bank teller with a water pistol? If I were the bank teller I'd rather be soaked then dead. Just a random, and completely true, thought.

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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:14 am

I so, SO admire everyone who does extensive research for their stories, and I enjoy learning a bit as I read. But for me, friends -- I do very little research. And if my story is going in a way that doesn't exactly match what happened on the show, well then, I figure artistic license lets me go where I want to go.
That being said, I'm working on a story where the research played an essential role in plot development and introduction of a pretty neat new character.
I guess I do whatever seems to work at the time.

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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:55 pm

radiogaga80 wrote:
stormr wrote:
I think that is the important thing HelenWest, to enjoy what everyone has written. I personally had no idea what guns the boys carried and to be honest, I don't care. To me a gun is a gun - they all basically do the same thing. Some with more accuracy, better distance, more power etc... but they all shoot bullets, are all drawn super fast by Kid and are six shooters. As long as you don't say they carry automatic weapons, I'm good with it. This is for entertainment and a lot of us don't have the time, or desire to be pin point accurate on every detail of their stories. I do try to be general so not to be inaccurate and figure that if people don't like the way the story is written, they won't read my next one.


What about water pistols? Very Happy


If they are aimed at the boys - just the better! Perhaps a super soaker! Twisted Evil
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PostSubject: Re: Canon or history?   Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:30 am

stormr wrote:
radiogaga80 wrote:
stormr wrote:
I think that is the important thing HelenWest, to enjoy what everyone has written. I personally had no idea what guns the boys carried and to be honest, I don't care. To me a gun is a gun - they all basically do the same thing. Some with more accuracy, better distance, more power etc... but they all shoot bullets, are all drawn super fast by Kid and are six shooters. As long as you don't say they carry automatic weapons, I'm good with it. This is for entertainment and a lot of us don't have the time, or desire to be pin point accurate on every detail of their stories. I do try to be general so not to be inaccurate and figure that if people don't like the way the story is written, they won't read my next one.


What about water pistols? Very Happy


If they are aimed at the boys - just the better! Perhaps a super soaker! Twisted Evil

Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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