Friday, March 07, 2008

Lost Cowboys

'I knew already that Hollywood was not to be believed. They had only borrowed cowboys, not invented them, hijacked them from the guys who are now south of the Rio Grande. In an effort to cover their tracks, if not their guilt, they had turned them into bandits or snivelling peasants.

It's time for the rewrite.

The orginal men who rode the horses and herded the cattle across North America spoke Spanish. After the gauchos, huasos, and llaneros, the wild orphans and the plainsmen, up here in the north the cowboys are, literally, the vaqueros.

Hollywood's celluloid conscience has begun to rehabilitate the Indian, but to admit the debt the Anglos owe to the vaqueros would be to accept that the Anglo cowboys are pale shadows of the real thing. And as the cowboy is as important to America as apple pie, that would be a hard Hispanic bullet to bite on.'

- Lost Cowboys by Hank Wangford [Victor Gollancz, 1995)

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