Lady Marilyn pointed out that Jason Isbell has a role in the upcoming Killers of the Flower Moon. So does Sturgill Simpson. Scorsese is tapping a couple of luminaries of Americana music. The film — which clocks in at a whopping 3-1/2 hours — appears to be a worthy one. Reports from Cannes depict a rhapsodic response. A 9-minute standing ovation is a pretty good bellwether.
Marilyn also scored tickets for Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit in Bend this summer.
I’ve always respected Isbell as a songwriter, but we really connected with his music a couple of years ago at the Under the Big Sky Festival in Whitefish, Montana. He headlined Saturday night, and it was mighty stirring. A couple of songs really hit home:
Colm McGuiness goes metal on the great Stan Rogers song…
There’s been a shift in podcast plans, which I recently shared with Patreon supporters. I was startled to realize that we’re fast approaching the centennial of the assassination of Gen. Francisco Villa in Parral, Durango, Mexico. Damn — I HAVE to cover that. I cranked the wheel over hard and hit the dark desert highway toward the border. Chihuahua, Durango, Sonora.
The Mexican Revolution of 1910-20 has been a primary field of Frontier Partisan studies. Several of the most important (and certainly the most picturesque) leaders of the Mexican Revolution were Frontier Partisans by heritage, occupation and temperament. As Pancho Villa hinmself told General Felipe Angeles when he was forced to return to guerrilla warfare after a series of crushing battlefiled defeats in 1915:
“Cowboys we are, and cowboys we shall always be.”
Tom Russell cribbed that line for his song Hair-Trigger Heart.
I strongly considered launching the Frontier Partisans Podcast with a MexRev series, but I swerved away because Mike Duncan’s sublime Revolutions podcast had already stormed the field. I ended up going with Kit Carson, and that was the right choice.
However… I knew I would return to the subject when I had some podcasting experience under my belt, and a good plan for a format that suits FP and doesn’t try to duplicate Duncan’s work. Now’s the time.
So, here’s the caper: A multi-part series of biographies of three key figures who embody the Frontier Partisan Mexican Revolutionary — Pascual Orozco, Emiliano Zapata, and Villa. Each of these men was a master of the fundamental skill set of the Frontier Partisan: they were ace horsemen; crack shots; masters of terrain and topography; bold and capable tacticians; tough, brave and often ruthless.
The series will culminate on July 20, the anniversary of Villa’s death.
I will, of course, return to plans to profile the great hunter and OG Mountain Man George Drouillard, and we’ll soon enough find ourselves back on the contested New England frontier. But there was no way I could let this centennial pass without going big on the bandits-turned-revolutionaries of the MexRev.
There are few eras and events more compelling than the Mexican Revolution. The collision of the Old West and the early 20th Century modern world makes for a material culture and aesthetic that has tripped triggers from Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch to the videogame Red Dead Redemption.
I have annoyed my fantasy-loving friends for years by telling them that the Mexican game of thrones is a FAR better yarn than George RR Martin’s quasi-medieval epic. There simply is not a game of thrones to be found that offers more intrigue, betrayal, conspiracy, violence and colorful characters. And it all actually happened. Virtually every key man in the MexRev died violently, and the aftershocks of that earthquake are still being felt today.
I’m really excited to finally dig into this — and I hope you are, too.
What is this Patreon thing? Glad you asked. As the outfit itself says:
Patreon is a way to join your favorite creator’s community and pay them for making the stuff you love.
There are three tiers at Frontier Partisans Patreon: Scout ($5/month); Partisan ($10/month); and Captain ($20/month). The plews provided by our Patrons cover hosting fees for this site and the podcast, and help fund research materials. The Patrons really help keep this electronic campfire going, and I prefer to get support his way than adding ads to the podcast and suchlike. And occasionally we do a drawing for a reward. This month, Harry Keizer got himself a copy of John Mack Faragher’s Eternity Street: Violence and Justice in Frontier Los Angeles.
It don’t cost much, and the support is greatly valued. If you feel so inclined, you can join the outfit here:
An annual native buffalo hunt designed to cull the Yellowstone herd population and prevent its migration into Montana cattle graving lands has become controversial. Per Bozeman Daily Chronicle:
This winter marked one of the deadliest on record for Yellowstone bison as the decades-long debate on how to best manage the animal rages on.
During the coldest months of the year, tribal and state hunters stake out Yellowstone National Park boundaries, waiting for bison to cross a barrier they can’t see. Most of the hunt occurs outside the park near Gardiner at Beattie Gulch, where the bison naturally funnel as they leave the park in search of food.
This season, the hunt left 1,139 bison dead. Park employees removed 374 animals from the population as well. Eighty-eight were sent to slaughter, four died in captivity and 282 entered in the burgeoning bison conservation transfer program, which returns brucellosis-free bison to tribes around the country.