Candy Moulton: Reading the West 3-11-13
Former National Park Service Chief Historian Robert Utley wins the Wrangler from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for Outstanding Nonfiction Book for his biography “Geronimo” published by Yale University Press. In this thoroughly researched book, Utley strips away the myths and rumors that have long obscured the real Geronimo and presents an authentic portrait of a man with unique strength and weaknesses and a destiny that swept him into the fierce storms of history.
The Wrangler Awards for literature, music, film and television will be presented April 20, 2013, in Oklahoma City. The Wrangler is an impressive bronze sculpture of a cowboy on horseback and is presented for works completed in 2012.
The Outstanding Western Novel is “Unbroke Horses” by D.B. Jackson, published by Goldminds Publishing. Three Civil War deserters, dispossessed of all virtue, kidnap a young boy with the sole purpose of conscripting him into their degenerate band of misfits. Tethered about the neck with a rawhide lace, the boy’s survival depends upon his ability to adapt to their malevolent ways, a lesson he learns quickly. The boy’s life, cast into darkness and evil, promises no chance for salvation. His single opportunity for redemption may lie with an old Indian horse trainer and a small band of “unbroke” horses.
“Bob Kuhn: Drawing on Instinct,” edited by Adam Duncan Harris, is named the Outstanding Art Book. Published by the University of Oklahoma Press, the book was created by the National Museum of Wildlife Art to accompany an exhibit of the same name. Wildlife artist Robert Kuhn (1920–2007) spent a lifetime sketching and painting animals and generously mentoring other artists. This book offers a compelling blend of the artist’s finished paintings and finest sketches along with various perspectives on the artist’s career.
Rich Clarkson and James C. McNutt collaborated with National Geographic photo editors on “National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West” earning them the Wrangler for Outstanding Photography Book, published by National Geographic Books. Divided into four chapters — Legends, Encounters, Boundaries and Visions — renowned National Geographic photography, past and present, brings the magic and the mystery of the American West alive through the best of its collection. From red-rock waves of stone to rugged snow-capped mountains, from ghost towns to prairie dog towns, from cowboys to wild horses, the book captures it all in spectacular color photography augmented by periodic archival photographs.
“The Quilt Walk” is the Outstanding Juvenile Book written by Sandra Dallas of Denver. The novel, published by Sleeping Bear Press, is a story based in 1864. Emily Blue Hatchett has been told by her father that, come spring, their family will leave their farm, family and friends in Illinois and travel to their new home in Colorado. When Emmy’s grandmother comes to say goodbye, she gives Emmy a special gift, something to occupy her time along the trip. The journey by wagon trail is long and full of hardships, and Emmy’s experiences along the way bring the period of westward expansion, as well as issues facing women, to life for young readers.
Writer Jim Logan takes top honors for Outstanding Magazine Article with “The Other Trail,” published in Oklahoma Today. Published in March/April 2012, Logan tells the 19th-century story of cowboys who drove countless herds to new markets hungry for beef. These drives — arduous, grueling and dangerous — came to symbolize the romance of the old West. One epic route in far western Oklahoma saw more cattle traverse its path than any other, including the Chisholm Trail.
The Outstanding Poetry book winner is “Proclaiming Space” by John Dofflemyer and published by Dry Crik Press. Dofflemyer has poetic perspective derived from a life of raising cattle on the same landscape as generations of family before him. This poet offers a personal glimpse of this relationship with the natural world, both wild and domestic; of life, death and politics from the distance of Dry Creek, a tributary of the Kaweah River in the southern Sierra Nevada range of California.
The Western Heritage Music competition includes three music categories: new horizons, original composition and traditional Western album.
“Trade Off” by performed by The Gillette Brothers, composed by Waddie Mitchell, wins for Outstanding Original Western Composition. In the category for Outstanding Traditional Western Album, the top honor goes to “The Usual Suspects” recorded by Bill Barwick and produced by Jim Ratts. The album was inspired by Barwick’s love for the songs and stories of the West. The New Horizons award is given to a recording artist or band that is in the first five years of their career. Miss Devon and the Outlaw is the winner for their entry “Where in the Dickens RU?” produced by Rich O’Brien. All three music category winners can be heard Friday, April 19 during Jingle-Jangle Mingle.
Film and Television
The Outstanding Theatrical Motion Picture is “Django Unchained,” written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson.
In the category for Television Feature Film, the top honors go to “Shadow on the Mesa,” produced by Larry Levinson and Lincoln Lageson, directed by David S. Cass, Sr. The story is based on a screenplay by Lee Martin. Starring in the film are Wes Brown, Kevin Sorbo, Barry Corbin, Gail O’Grady, Greg Evigan and Meredith Baxter.
Outstanding Documentary winner “The Dust Bowl” chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history. The film is directed and produced by Ken Burns and written and produced by Dayton Duncan.
“Longmire” is the Outstanding Fictional Drama starring Robert Taylor, Katee Sackoff, Lou Diamond Phillips, Bailey Chase, Cassidy Freeman and Adam Bartley. “Longmire,” a television series on A&E inspired by the books by Craig Johnson, is the story of Walt Longmire, the dedicated and unflappable sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyo.
“Hatfields and McCoys” produced for History by Thinkfactory Media, is the Outstanding Television Film — Docudrama. It is depicts the true life story of the bitter blood feud between two families in the years following the Civil War. It was written by Bill Kerby and Ted Mann and stars Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton and Tom Berenger.
A black-tie event, the Western Heritage Awards are open to the public and reservations can be secured online at http://www.NationalCowboyMuseum.org or by calling (405) 478-2250, Ext. 219. Reservations for Friday night’s Jingle-Jangle Mingle (April 19) are Nonmembers $40 and Members $30. The Western Heritage Awards (April 20) banquet prices are Nonmembers $175 and Members $145. ❖