My grandfather only got an eighth grade education. Living in the west at the end of the nineteenth century, most people did not get further with their education. His spelling was never “textbook” but phonetically understandable. And it wasn’t all the words he used that he had trouble spelling, just the more “highfalutin” ones.
At home, he had a small library of books – well-worn volumes he read again and again – that consisted of the Holy Bible and practically every book written by Zane Grey. He loved Zane’s stories even though he was born too late to be that sort of man of the west.
That by-gone era was captured for most of us in the weekly television serials of the likes of Marshall Matt Dillon, Maverick, Lucas McCain, and a host of guys who wore white hats. They were a reflection of the very popular movies of the same genre, most starring John “the Duke” Wayne.
Today, the world is no longer so black and white. The “good guys” are flawed human beings and as complex as the “bad guys” and each seem to swap roles almost indiscriminately – in some regards. But not enough to blur the lines too much.
What if, I always wondered, the times back then were not so black and white… nor so “rational” as we assume they were? And what if they had to deal with more unusual problems than simply the guys in the black hats?
Perhaps nothing as far out as in the film “Cowboys vs Aliens” (which I thought was a lame western as well as a lame science fiction flick – wow! wrong on both counts) but surely they had an occasional pear-shaped moment.
Such was the premise for my novel Young Hellions. What if…