Giddy-up to the library to celebrate cowboys

Special to the HeraldJuly 28, 2013 

Cowboys lived by the Code of the West: "If it's not yours, don't take it. If it's not true, don't say it. If it's not right, don't do it." That creed holds true today, so celebrate The National Day of the Cowboy as you enjoy great stories about cowboys in books and movies from the Manatee County libraries.

"Code of the West" by Aaron Latham is a Texas-size love story that transplants the legend of King Arthur and Camelot into the Old West. Jimmy Goodman, a former Comanche captive, goes to a fair and pulls an immovable axe from an anvil. With his prize money, he sets up a ranch, and falls in love with the banker's daughter. After he hires a handsome foreman, his Camelot begins to fall apart. This powerful Cowboy western is a sweeping adventure and love story.

"Best of Westerns" on DVD is a collection of 52 episodes of TV westerns including "The Lone Ranger," "Roy Rogers," "The Rifleman," "Death Valley Days," "The Cisco Kid" and "Bat Masterson." This treasure of oldies will please any fan of 1950s television cowboys.

"Lonesome Dove," the epic western by Larry McMurtry, embraces the western cowboys as heroes in legend and fact. The story follows Gus and Call, former Texas Rangers, as they leave south Texas on an epic 2,500-mile cattle drive to Montana. This is a true American classic that depicts the Code of the West in love, heroism, loyalty and honor. Also available at the library is the TV mini-series, starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones.

"The Big Open" is the eighth book in the Merlin Fanshaw series by Stan Lynde. When Deputy Marshal Fanshaw kills an innocent boy during a bank robbery, he abandons his lawman career and rides out into a region known as The Big Open. Hired as a cowhand, Merlin is drawn into a conflict between Billie Hart and a ruthless cattleman who will stop at nothing to possess her ranch. As violence threatens, Merlin takes a stand.

"All the Pretty Horses" is the first volume in a western trilogy by Cormac McCarthy, which includes "The Crossing" and "Cities of the Plain." This is the tale of John Grady Cole, a 16-year-old cowboy who, after the death of his grandfather, learns his ranch home in Texas is to be sold. With his pal Lacey Rawlins, he sets off for Mexico where they join up with Jimmy Blevins and encounter many adventures filled with love, terror and injustice. Separated from Blevins, the two cowboys find work at a hacienda, where John falls in love with Alejandra, the rancher's daughter. Vivid characters are brought to life in this mesmerizing tale of a boy growing up too quickly and having to deal with injustice.

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