Pemmican

Making pemmican was a tedious but vital task.

I'm in the midst of my research reading on the militant Metis leader Gabriel Dumont. The Metis of the Canadian prairies lived an epic life following the buffalo herds in massive annual hunts. That's where Dumont became a leader. The Captain of the Hunt was a tactical leader no less than a war chief. Besides robes, the buffalo provided the Metis … [Read more...]

Frontier Partisan Ballads — Steve Earle

Steve Earle — Troubadour.

Back in 1985, in college in Santa Cruz, I picked up Waylon Jennings’ “Will the Wolf Survive.” Waylon was my original music hero, and he had just come off a 21-year drug addiction and was recording clean and sober for the first time. It’s a good album, though it misses Waylon’s signature Telecaster sound. For some reason, perhaps feeling tentative, … [Read more...]

The Frontier Partisan Art of Greg Manchess

Longmire.

I am, to no one’s surprise, a lover of classic adventure illustration. As such, I’m also a fan of the art of Gregory Manchess. Manchess has illustrated fantasy, Western, hardboiled crime and other genre covers, and his work has illustrated a National Geographic piece on pirates and the Wydah. He is particularly strong with frontier-related … [Read more...]

Indigenous Peoples Day

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A movement is gathering momentum that would displace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. I carry no torch for Columbus. My Viking ancestors were here a long time before the Italian sailor was. But I would like to suggest that we keep the old holiday and introduce Indigenous Peoples Day on a different date. Credit my friend Lane Batot … [Read more...]

Hail! Arin Mirkan

Arin Mirkan. Warrior.

Like other mountain peoples, the Kurds have an admirable history of resistance to tyranny and drive for independence. They also have a tradition of fielding some genuinely badass woman warriors. As the Kurds battled to hold onto Kobane on the border with Turkey, besieged by ISIS, a Kurdish woman commander in the People’s Protection Unit blew … [Read more...]

The Rites of Autumn

Is there a Black Rider around the corner?

My favorite autumn ritual is climbing Black Crater, which looms out my back door. The peak is a 7,500-foot cinder cone offering the finest views in the Central Oregon Cascades. It’s a four-mile climb to the summit, with 2,500 feet of elevation gain. Folks around here call it The Death March, but it really ain’t bad at all. The landscape is … [Read more...]

Frontier Partisan Cinema — American Sniper

Bradley Cooper portrays the late Chris Kyle in "American Sniper."

It's the silly season — elections, that is — and it's keeping this small-town news guy hoppin'. Too busy to post much here. So a short-shot (pardon the pun) on "American Sniper," Clint Eastwood's film of the exploits of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. A very intense trailer here. Kyle, a larger-than-life Texan, stands in a long and storied … [Read more...]

Stuff That Works — The Old Walkin’ Staff

My old walkin' staff has lost a few inches covering untold miles of mountain trails.

  Back in 1992, I ordered a staff from Museum Replicas. It was a heavy chunk of laminated wood marketed as an indestructible  quarterstaff for medieval re-enactors (although it actually wasn't  long enough at 5-1/2 feet to be a real quarter staff). But it made a perfect walking staff — hellaciously stout — and could do duty as a … [Read more...]

Frontier Partisan Tennis Anyone?

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Some folks I know consider my passion for tennis incongruous. In their estimation, the gentlemanly sport doesn’t “fit” with the guns, the woods running, the shitkicker music, etc. Well, I’m here to tell you that there is precedence for Frontier Partisan tennis. Reading J.G. Millais’ seminal biography of Frederick Courteney Selous, I was … [Read more...]

Frontier Partisan Cinema — The Roosevelts

Swingin' that big stick… TR and the Rough Riders in Cuba.

Ken Burns' new documentary "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History" starts Sunday night on PBS stations. Theodore Roosevelt was a Frontier Partisan President. Franklin was not. TR had experience on the South Dakota frontier, famously fought with the Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War, and wrote an excellent history of the early frontier in … [Read more...]