A Secret Gem of Arizona: The Desert Caballeros Western Museum


         


 

THE NAVAJO Charles M. Russell 1919

Permanent Collection of Desert Caballeros Western Museum

It’s hard to believe that the tiny town of Wickenburg, Arizona (population something less than 7,000) could have one of the best and most comprehensive collections of early Western cowboy art. Just about anybody who is anybody as a 20th century Western artist is represented here. In this charming setting, you’ll find the entire panorama of Western art including works by the early explorer artists: landscape painters, the Taos Society, founders of the Cowboy Artists of America, and examples of more recent schools with new perspectives from impressionism to realism. You’ll see George Catlin, Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Remington, Joseph Henry Sharp, Oscar Berninghaus, Joe Beeler, Harrison Begay, and even a stunning large bronze by Earle Heikka.

This museum took my breath away! It’s small and intimate. You feel you belong there. You can almost hear the artist’s voices spinning tall tales. I know my favorite Charlie Russell was there telling one of his yarns filled with his delightful profanity. Bob Fjeld, a handsome docent, said he preferred Russell’s bronzes, but for me, Heikka is the prize winner. I think Bob must be one of my long lost Norse kin from Montana.

And then, before you can catch your breath you’re over at The Old Livery Mercantile, Inc. on Tegner Street trying on Cowboy Hats and buying real Arizona silver and turquoise jewelry. Brett and Mary Ann Gerasim at the Old Livery have a motto. “Don’t hurry—this is Wickenburg!”

I love Wickenburg.


Advertisements

Charlie Russell’s Ghost Horse


Charlie Russell never gave up his Cowboy Image. He let be known around Great Falls, Montana that his beloved horse, Monte, had been a Crow Indian buffalo pony. This is the story he told.

 

A Blackfeet warrior named Calf Rope stole the pony from the Crow Indians one night. Trouble was, while Calf Rope was escaping with the pony, he was killed. So—as was Indian custom—Calf Rope’s fellow Blackfeet warriors shot the pony so Calf Rope’s spirit wouldn’t have to walk in his afterlife.

 

But—the damned pony survived the bullet wound and became what the Indians call a GHOST HORSE. Since the pony was supposed to be dead, no Indian would ride him. The pony’s medicine was too strong.

 

So—the Indians played a trick on Charlie, a tenderfoot white boy newly arrived from St. Louis. They sold him the horse.

 

Is the story true? It sure makes Charlie appear to have strong medicine, doesn’t it?

 

BUFFALOed awarded First Place Grand Prize in 2009 Indie Book Awards Contest


As I told you guys, Western Fiction may be shattered but it’s not wiped out.   Yes!  A western has taken the Indie Prize.  No fantasy, sc fi, romance, mystery, adventure, crime, or horror.  Western writers–keep ’em movin’. 

From Historical Novel Society Reviews:

Young Norwegian immigrant Ovidia Odegard expects to find buffalo when she signs on as Cowboy Artist Charlie Russell’s hired girl. Instead, she finds Indians more educated than most whites, social order as stratified as Eastern society, and an assortment of boozers and bamboozlers, women chasers, and gamblers.

BUFFALOed is available at www.amazon.com/Buffaloed-Fairlee-Winfield/dp/1439200998/