RARA-AVIS: Re: About Deadwood and DEADWOOD DICK

From: Duane Spurlock ( duane1spur@yahoo.com)
Date: 16 Jun 2005

Jess Nevins < jjnevins@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
<< Relations between labor and capital were extremely bitter. Conservative defenders of the establishment used newspapers to claim that criminals like Frank and Jesse James ... were caused by labor unrest, while liberal newspapers portrayed criminals as heroes of folklore, with the James brothers specifically compared to Robin Hood's men.

"This was the backdrop set for the rise of the outlaw hero in popular American fiction in the mid-1870s. Characters like Deadwood Dick and the James brothers remained outlaws, but they were made into versions of the räuberroman (see: The Räuberroman)hero. ...Officials who represented business and the financial establishment were automatically corrupt and automatically the enemy of the outlaw hero, who fought them but defended the poor and the working class.
  Good stuff, as always, Jess!
  RE: Jesse James as outlaw hero -- have you read Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War by T.J. STILES? ( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0375705589/pulprack-20) This is an excellent study about James and the entire Missouri-Kansas guerilla war, the Civil War, and the post-war rise of the James gang. He shows how Jesse built up his own reputation as an outlaw for the underdog (creating his own Robin Hood myth, which perpetuates to this day) and struck at banks and railways with ties to the pre-war and wartime Union. Fascinating stuff, well written.
  RE: the western miners strike -- this continued to be a story hook throughout the pulp era as well, perhaps because of its historical precedents. For instance, in Frederick Faust's (Max Brand) novel THE LONE RIDER (New York: Leisure Books, 2005, first published in All-Story Weekly as a five-part serial July 14 through August 11, 1917, titled as "Fate's Honeymoon") the hero seeks redemption by allying with a struggling mine owner and quelling a riot among the disgruntled mine workers, who are threatening to walk off the job.
  Another work -- "Western Violence: Structure, Values, Myth," by Richard Maxwell Brown, in Western Historical Quarterly February 1993 (vol. 24, no. 1) -- addresses some of the historical mining wars. This article appears in an academic journal cited in Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War by T.J. Stiles, which I mention above. Brown writes from a bit of a Marxist perspective, but he bases his argument on an interesting hypothesis: that most events of western violence (from 1850 to 1910) were prompted by what the author calls the Western Civil War of Incorporation, or what you and I might term the civilizing of the old west. "The violence central to the Western Civil War of Incorporation illustrates Charles Tilly's maxim that the history of violence is the history and organization of power."
  Brown points to the Tonto Basin War (and Zane Grey's fictionalized account, To the Last Man, plus the vigilante-based story of Walter Van Tilburg Clark's The Ox-Bow Incident), the Johnson County War (and Owen Wister's fictional portrayal, The Virginian), and -- to bring the discussion back 'round to mine strikes -- the Coeur d'Alene Mining War (portrayed in two novels, May Arkwright Hutton's The Coeur d'Alenes or A Tale of the Modern Inquisition in Idaho and Mary Hallock Foote's Coeur d'Alene). For Brown, representatives of the conflicting forces in the Western Civil War of Incorporation are incorporation gunfighters "lined up on the conservative side in the regional civil war"-people like Wild Bill Hickock, Wyatt Earp, Pat Garrett and Tom Horn-and resister gunfighters, or "those who habitually used six-gun and rifle to reject incorporation" (or outlaws), such as Jesse James and Billy the Kid. We might also add to Brown's list of resisters the Clantons and their gun-fighting
 associates. Popular western heroes representing the incorporation gunfighters would be Wister's eponymous Virginian, Marshal Will Kane (portrayed by Gary Cooper) in the film High Noon, and the mysterious Shane from Jack Schaefer's novel (played by Alan Ladd in the film).
  To remain On Topic, all this can probably also tie back to Hammett's RED HARVEST and the various filmic homages based on the novel.
- Duane Spurlock proprietor, The Pulp Rack www.pulprack.com

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