Friday Five: Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?



The “Duke”



We live in an era of talentless twits. Justin Bieber, you are not a tough guy because you act like a spoiled child and have bodyguards protect you from what is rightfully yours: a punch in the nose. And don’t even get me started on the Kardashians. There are talented, intelligent people in the world. Why are these people famous?

It makes me feel better to know that at one time, real men played the lead and earned adoration. It makes me think that maybe one day that will happen again.  Just imagine, no more reality shows where stupidity and greed are the prerequisites of the job. Instead, talent, experience and yes, rugged good looks make the man. (I’m only human.) In that spirit, I take you back to a time where you knew immediately who the good guys were. You knew who the bad guys were. The good guys always won and always got the girl. Here are the top five tough guys of all time.

5. Wyatt Earp was famous for his role in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. He was the strapping hero riding in on horseback to save the town from evil-doers. According to Wikipedia, Earp’s career included such upstanding jobs as bouncer, brothel keeper and buffalo hunter. Of course he was most famous for being the Marshall in Tombstone, Arizona. While he enforced the law, he was known to bend it in gambling and boxing arenas if it helped put money in his pocket. Regardless of his wrongdoings, it’s hard not to like someone who took out those who terrorized the town. Especially if that town’s name was Tombstone.

4. Henry Fonda – Several movies were made about Wyatt Earp’s life. Many larger than life actors played Earp: Burt Lancaster, James Garner and Kurt Russell. No one portrayed the tough guy better than Henry Fonda. If you have only seen the kind and slightly confused Norman Thayer that Fonda played in his golden years, check out My Darling Clementine.

3. Jack Palance – In 1992, at the age of 73, Jack Palance won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for playing Curly in City Slickers. During his acceptance speech, he talked about aging in Hollywood. He said that just because people get older, it doesn’t mean they can’t do the things they used to. To prove his point, he did a series of one-armed pushups. Women all over America swooned.

2. Clint Eastwood – In the Dirty Harry movies, Eastwood plays Harry Callahan, a vigilante cop who took criminals off the street. Not in handcuffs, but with the bullet of a Smith and Wesson .44 magnum. The long barrel of the gun showed viewers just how tough this tough guy was. The .44 magnum became famous as did the lines he said with his trademark snarl. “…you gotta ask yourself, do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?” And the memorable, “go ahead, make my day.” Eastwood just turned 86. Palance lived to be 87. That alone shows True Grit.

1. John Wayne – The 6’4″ actor with the baby blues and the easy drawl was loved by women and respected by men. He was the quintessential cowboy. He starred in over 200 movies. While he often played a war hero, he will always be remembered as a gunslinger. John Wayne is the epitome of “a man’s man.” Not bad for a guy whose real name was Marion.

Did I miss anyone? Let me know. Do you think we have tough guys in todays movies?

The picture of John Wayne is a sketch done by an amazing NH artist. His name is Li Ming. Check out his website.


4 thoughts on “Friday Five: Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

      • I’m not sure I know Dwight Johnson. Do you mean Dwayne? Bruce Willis came to my mind, as well. 🙂 and the older men you listed are without a doubt “men’s men”.


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