Thursday, August 13, 2020

Sam Elliot on the American Cowboy

Sam Elliot as Virgil Earp in the film Tombstone (1993)
In an article in American Cowboy magazine titled Tombstone Rides On, dated January 19, 2015, and updated February 13, 2017, writer Amy Herdy wrote about talking with the cast of the film Tombstone (1993). In her article, some of those who made that great film possible shared their stories about what it took to make it.

She wrote about how actor Sam Elliott said he "regards Tombstone as one of the last great Westerns." She also quoted Sam Elliot views on the American Cowboy. Below is that part of her article, she wrote:

The film seems to capture the culture of "true cowboys," and that likely appeals to the audience as much as it appeals to Elliott.

"I don’t consider myself a cowboy, but I consider myself a cowboy at heart," he says. "And I think it's in the way one conducts themself, what kind of a person you are. I'm used to hard work — I've worked hard all my life. I think that's a big portion of it. I think it's how you treat people, how you treat women, what kind of integrity you want to have, what kind of character one has, my love for livestock of all kinds. 

I feel very fortunate to have grown up where I grew up. I wouldn't have minded growing up years before, a couple of generations earlier, but I think that I had the best of it. I look around at what's going on today and damn, I'm glad I'm not my kid's generation, my daughter's generation. 

It's a pretty sad world out there right now. And it's hard to be optimistic about it. I feel like on some level you don't know who to believe any more. And that's not a good thing, regardless of where you stand politically."

Movies like Tombstone, however, keep the cowboy creed alive.

"[Cowboys] stay close with their family," Elliot continues. "We have a set of values that goes with that code. You know, you get sick of hearing the talking heads talk about the moral decline and the moral decay and all that. You hear all this talk, it's an awful lot of lip service, but there doesn't seem to be an awful lot of people doing anything about it. 

I think those people that wear hats — or don't even wear hats, but those people that understand the cowboy way (or whatever you wanna call it), the code of the West — ranchers, farmers, or any of those people who are close to the land, who work off the land, they get it. They get it. And that's gonna stay alive there. And I think that's gonna stay alive there for a long time. I'd bet on that more than I would anything else in this country. I think those guys are gonna survive all of us. Outlive all of us."

I agree with Mr. Elliot's sentiments on the American Cowboy. Yes indeed, I really like what he had to say. I hope you do as well.

For writer Amy Herdy's full article, click here American Cowboy.com Tombstone Rides On

Tom Correa

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