Boggs Unleashed

Fires Can’t Blacken Colorado Springs

Fire-on-Mount-Saint-Francios_Waldo-CanyonThe Colorado city of Colorado Springs hasn’t been lucky when it comes to forest fires. The Black Forest Fire of 2013 and the Waldo Canyon Fire of 2012 were particularly destructive.

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Arizona Historians Survive Cutback

ohnny-boggs_geronimo_wyatt-earpAfter saving Arizona’s history since 1864, the Arizona Historical Society’s history almost ended, before cooler heads prevailed.

Just past midnight on April 24, the Arizona State Legislature passed a 10-year reauthorization for the society. But it was touch and go for a while.

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The Three Godfathers

three-godfathers_harey-carrey-jr_john-fordTo put myself in the Christmas frame of mind, I plug in a DVD of my favorite holiday movie. But before you get the wrong idea, I’m not shouting “Zuzu’s petals!” and bawling at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life or singing along with Bing Crosby in White Christmas.

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Lights, Cameras, Charge!

BU_Seven-Men-from-Now-movie-posterMention Western movie locations, and the first thought to come to mind is likely Monument Valley. Me? I think Lone Pine. And I don’t even like those lousy B-programs starring Gene Autry (who was ugly, and he didn’t sing as well as
Roy Rogers).

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Soaking Up the Truth

Truth-or-Consequences-New-Mexico_Fire-Water-Lodge_Pioneer-storeMy pal Robert Nott describes the decor of the Fire Water Lodge as “Early Aldo Ray.”

You don’t have to be a movie buff to visualize this place’s funkiness. Patio walls made of mortar and wine bottles. Lounge chairs from the 1970s. Turquoise walls, red screen doors and Christmas lights. A hippie watering the plants. No one is here to check us in; a note says to help ourselves.

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Finding Daniel Boone in a Cornfield

Daniel Boone might have held court under two “judgment trees,” the first in present-day Matson from 1800 to 1804, and the second, on his son Nathan’s property, after 1804. This site was located in 1987. – All photos by Johnny D. Boggs –It’s not the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., nor Judge Isaac Parker’s courthouse in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

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The Pies Have It

pie-town-good-pieIt’s the night before the annual pie festival in the aptly named Pie Town, New Mexico, and Michael Rawl is still inside the Good Pie Café, chatting up customers, cooking their suppers and baking pies for tomorrow’s big day.

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Bitter Tears for Little Big Man

boggs_Johnny-Bitter-TearsCome off it. Everybody gives credit to Dee Brown for changing the way white Americans think about American Indians.

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BBQ, Baseball & Beef

Steamboat Arabia Anchor Kansas City, here we come. In this cosmopolitan city, you can get fat—literally and figuratively—on food and history. To wit:

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Finding Gold & Gunfights in Helena

A century and a half later, folks in Montana are still racing for gold. Or something. That idiot in the Taurus almost ran me over on East Broadway. You live in Montana, buddy, one of the most spectacular places in the West. What’s
your hurry?

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The Missing Lincoln

Johnny-d-boggs-Lincoln-HighwayA friend once told me a story about being alone with the Lincolns at Honest Abe’s tomb. As it doesn’t get more American than that, I figured I had to include that anecdote in this column about the Lincoln Highway.

Until I discovered a problem.

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Happy 100th Birthday, Allan Houser

houser-sculptureAsk anyone to name a Chiricahua Apache, and you will probably hear “Cochise” or “Geronimo.” But the first name coming to my mind is always Allan Houser.

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A Feel-Good Story

wounded-knee-johnny-boggsThe first time I visited the Pine Ridge Reservation in the southwest corner of South Dakota, I stopped at the Wounded Knee Memorial—and I couldn’t get out of the car. After a minute or two, I drove away.

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The Real Birth of Westerns

Boggs_Marlene-Dietrich_s-role-in-Destry-Rides-Again_blazing-saddlesNo doubt about it. Western movies were reborn in 1939, catapulting the genre into big-time Hollywood that lasted some 60 years. Stagecoach, Destry Rides Again, Jesse James, Dodge City are considered classics. But watch them again, and you will see something else these movies have in common.

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Grapes vs. Rhubarbs?

boggs_sutcliffe-vineyards_navajo-ruinsI am supposed to be interviewing Andy Sponseller at Ten Spoon Winery in Missoula, Montana, but he had to make an emergency trip up north.

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Mules & Canyons, Oh My!

mule-train-ride_grand-canyonNobody warned me about this.

Oh sure, the folks in charge of mule rides at Grand Canyon National Park gave me that spiel about safety and risks, like getting bucked off, or struck by lightning, or kicked in the head, or thrown into the abyss. Injury and death? I deal with that every day. But this?

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How the West Was Won

How-the-west-was-won-poster"We sincerely believe that all who see How the West Was Won, will agree that, the motion picture medium has attained its highest level of artistic achievement,” the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Cinerama bigwigs proclaim in the press book.

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March Madness

fort-shaw-indian-girls-basket-ball-team-memorialMarch brings madness to the entire United States, where fools everywhere pay more attention to their NCAA college basketball bracket than Louis L’Amour’s birthday.

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Surviving in Tucson...

Johnny-D-Boggs_rex_markI haven’t seen this many people on a college campus since I was making my way around the University of Texas in Austin for a Bruce Springsteen concert.

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One Killer Burger

santa-fe-grill-war_Bonnie-and-John-EckreCharles Bent was killed on January 19, 1847. Billy the Kid got shot dead on July 14, 1881. Pat Garrett bought the farm on February 29, 1908. But the worst date in New Mexico history?

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Almost Getting Killed...

Johnny-boggs_John-Tunstall-grave-markerDutch Oven Wally Roberts is trying to kill me.

If there’s a cowboy event or trail ride in West Texas or New Mexico, chances are you’ll find Roberts “preserving history and the Western lifestyle.”

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True Westerners

ELizabeth Fenn

ELizabeth Fenn

If I had been a member of the Corps of Discovery, I would have brought my own via...

Video Villa!

Video Villa!

Mexican Revolution leader Pancho Villa knew the value of good publicity. Mutual F...

Studying Villa’s Raid

Studying Villa’s Raid

March 9, 1916, started out bad for the 13th Cavalry at Camp Furlong. Ignoring th...

APRIL 2015

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True West captures the spirit of the American West with authenticity, personality and humor by linking our history to our present. Whether you call it the Wild West, the Old West or the Far West, America's frontier history comes to life in True West, the world's oldest, continuously published Western Americana magazine.

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