The Tong Wars drama Warrior is scheduled for some time in the year, and since its got Banshee’s filthy paws all over it, I’ve got to watch.
“Inspired by an idea from martial-arts legend Bruce Lee, this gritty, action- packed crime drama is set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the second half of the 19th century. Filming in Cape Town, South Africa, it follows a martial arts prodigy who immigrates from China to San Francisco under mysterious circumstances, and becomes a hatchet man for one of Chinatown’s most powerful organized crime families.”
Den of Geek tells us that:
The show was developed based on handwritten notes from Bruce Lee that were brought to light by his daughter, Shannon Lee.
That’s pretty cool.
Strike Back returns on January 25 for its seventh season. The reboot doesn’t quite hit the sublime heights of pulpy covert ops goodness of the legendary Scott/Stonebridge glory days, but it’s still a hoot. Don’t make it weird, mate…
There’s bound to be plenty of bad news from the wild frontier in 2019, but let’s start the new year off with a piece of good news courtesy of The Guardian:
On 5,000 hectares of unploughed prairie in north-eastern Montana, hundreds of wild bison roam once again. But this herd is not in a national park or a protected sanctuary – they are on tribal lands. Belonging to the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of Fort Peck Reservation, the 340 bison is the largest conservation herd in the ongoing bison restoration efforts by North America’s Indigenous people…
…Fort Peck’s “dream” is to have 2,500 buffalo in their conservation herd running on more than 40,000 hectares. Already the tribe has passed a resolution to purchase more land.
Our own Breaker Morant scouted out a conservation effort in Africa that I plan to get behind in my (very) modest way in 2019. The Cabela Family Foundation (as in Cabela’s, the outdoor sporting emporium) operates a program called Twenty Four Lions:
In 1994, Zambeze Delta Safaris was established in the Coutada 11 block of the Marromeu Complex in eastern Mozambique. At the time, the area’s ecosystem had been ruined by civil war. A massive effort from the local community, as well as that of anti-poaching and conservation initiatives funded by hunting, has been key to reestablishing a productive environment.
But, as wildlife populations have grown, so has the incentive for poaching. A Zambeze Delta anti-poaching team has made incredible strides to protect local habitats and their wildlife, while integrating the local community into the solution.
Wildlife populations in the Zambezi Delta have recovered to the point that it’s appropriate to implement the next phase of ecological restoration: reintroducing carnivores. As the top of the food chain, predators are a critical part of the ecosystem. Historically, lions have been present and common in the Zambezi Delta. But the lion population has struggled to recover as other aspects of the ecosystem have thrived.
Twenty Four Lions aims to completely balance and repopulate the area’s natural ecosystem, adding 2.5 million acres to wild lions’ habitats.
In keeping with the goals of Running Iron Report (and by extension Frontier Partisans) my New Year’s resolution, such as it is, is to bend my labors and my resources as directly as possible toward preserving/restoring the best elements and values of the “frontier” milieu and to do this with as intense a focus as I can bring to bear and doing my best to ignore the noise of the rest of it all. In other words, if it ain’t chasing buffalo, I ain’t paying any attention to it.
For the drinking Frontier Partisan: What y’all need is some Cherry Bounce.
George Washington was a fan of port and Madeira wine, but when he traveled west across the Allegheny Mountains in September 1784, he commuted with a special drink: the brandy-based cordial Cherry Bounce.
Mt. Vernon’s research historian Mary Thompson says:
“We know that George Washington especially liked Cherry Bounce and even packed it in his canteens when he was on trips out to the frontier. Mount Vernon has made it a number of times — it is really good.”
OK, so now we know what kinda “research” research historians get up to. And we know why George Washington chopped down the cherry tree…
Speaking of the creature comforts, here’s a nice colorized photo of a Boer Commando enjoying tea and a smoke with some unexploded British ordnance. As one does.
Plainsman Deuce Richardson wrote a fine two-part remembrance of the late Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead over at DMRBooks.com, including some notes about the rocker’s love for the West.
Outlaw, the one that kills you never hurts.
“Kilmister was an alpha male who never bent his neck (as an adult) to anyone. At the same time, he was never a bully. He walked his road and any who had what it took to follow, could. Lemmy led by example and died with his boots on. This world is just a bit less interesting—and much quieter—without him.”
I have an almighty great mountain of reading to do, for “work” and for pleasure. There’s still a hell of a lot of good, manly storytelling out there in the world. I just checked out two and ordered up the third of a set of novels by a feller name of Taylor Brown. Georgia and North Carolina back country. Check ’em out.
Fallen Land is Taylor Brown’s debut novel set in the final year of the Civil War, as a young couple on horseback flees a dangerous band of marauders who seek a bounty reward. Callum, a seasoned horse thief at fifteen years old, came to America from his native Ireland as an orphan. Ava, her father and brother lost to the war, hides in her crumbling home until Callum determines to rescue her from the bands of hungry soldiers pillaging the land, leaving destruction in their wake. Ava and Callum have only each other in the world and their remarkable horse, Reiver, who carries them through the destruction that is the South. Pursued relentlessly by a murderous slave hunter, tracking dogs, and ruthless ex-partisan rangers, the couple race through a beautiful but ruined land, surviving on food they glean from abandoned farms and the occasional kindness of strangers. In the end, as they intersect with the scorching destruction of Sherman’s March, the couple seek a safe haven where they can make a home and begin to rebuild their lives.
Bootlegger Rory Docherty has returned home to the fabled mountain of his childhood – a misty wilderness that holds its secrets close and keeps the outside world at gunpoint. Slowed by a wooden leg and haunted by memories of the Korean War, Rory runs bootleg whiskey for a powerful mountain clan in a retro-fitted ’40 Ford coupe. Between deliveries to roadhouses, brothels, and private clients, he lives with his formidable grandmother, evades federal agents, and stokes the wrath of a rival runner.
In the mill town at the foot of the mountains – a hotbed of violence, moonshine, and the burgeoning sport of stock-car racing – Rory is bewitched by the mysterious daughter of a snake-handling preacher. His grandmother, Maybelline “Granny May” Docherty, opposes this match for her own reasons, believing that “some things are best left buried.” A folk healer whose powers are rumored to rival those of a wood witch, she concocts potions and cures for the people of the mountains while harboring an explosive secret about Rory’s mother – the truth behind her long confinement in a mental hospital, during which time she has not spoken one word. When Rory’s life is threatened, Granny must decide whether to reveal what she knows…or protect her only grandson from the past.
In The River of Kings, bestselling author of Fallen Land Taylor Brown artfully weaves three narrative strands—two brothers’ journey down an ancient river, their father’s tangled past, and the buried history of the river’s earliest people—to evoke a legendary place and its powerful hold on the human imagination.
The Altamaha River, Georgia’s “Little Amazon,” is one of the last truly wild places in America. Crossed by roads only five times in its 137 miles, the black-water river is home to thousand-year-old virgin cypress, direct descendants of eighteenth-century Highland warriors, and a staggering array of rare and endangered species. The Altamaha is even rumored to harbor its own river monster, as well as traces of the oldest European fort in North America.
Brothers Hunter and Lawton Loggins set off to kayak the river, bearing their father’s ashes toward the sea. Hunter is a college student, Lawton a Navy SEAL on leave; they were raised by an angry, enigmatic shrimper who loved the river, and whose death remains a mystery that his sons are determined to solve. As the brothers proceed downriver, their story alternates with that of Jacques le Moyne, the first European artist in North America, who accompanied a 1564 French expedition that began as a search for riches and ended in a bloody confrontation with Spanish conquistadors and native tribes.
Twining past and present in one compelling narrative, and illustrated with drawings that survived the 1564 expedition, The River of Kings is Taylor Brown’s second novel: a dramatic and rewarding adventure through history, myth, and the shadows of family secrets.
Yeah, those’ll do.
Ceili’s friend Odin joined us for the New Year. We hit the Pit with his dad’s ancient and much-weathered .22 of indeterminate origin — and he smoked a good FP biathlon.
Followed that up Sunday night filling in a crucial gap in the young man’s education — watched Last of the Mohicans for the first time.
Started January 1, 2019, in the woods. First music of the new year — LOM soundtrack. Woods, music, writing. Repeat daily.
Finished it off with Marilyn, Ceili and Odin jumping into Season 3 of The Last Kingdom, as well-wrought a 9th Century Frontier Partisans tale as one could wish for a winter’s night with the Clan.