The Old West, and the New

I had a hankerin’ for a western, so I read the Louis L’Amour book Rider of Lost Creek. Louis L’Amour wrote 120 books before he died in 1988. All of his books are still in print. The struggles of the Old West (1870’s to 1890’s) still resonate with us today for a reason. I saw a glimpse of what he was really writing about—the cowboy, the cattle drives, the free range were being replaced by a new Fenced West (1890’s to 1920’s) of ranch hands, cattle trains, and barbed wire. In the Old West, outlaws were deputized as lawmen and lawmen turned outlaw, if the opportunity seemed worth it. L’Amour wrote briefly about Watt Earp and Bat Masterson as good guys and gunslingers. I remember the old Radio and TV shows about the Old West—The Lone Ranger, Gunsmoke and Wagon Train, and those of the Fenced West—Bonanza, Roy Rogers, and Hop-a-Long Cassidy. All those shows were about righting wrongs and making a new start.

The real Wyatt Earp retired from the old west, moved to Alaska to find gold, then eventually went to Hollywood where he became a motion picture consultant to Tom Mix, William S. Hart and a young actor named Marion Morrison, who became John Wayne. Wyatt Earp died in 1929.  Bat Masterson, who reportedly killed more than 26 men before he was 30, died in 1921 sitting at his typewriter in New York City as the sports columnist for the New York Telegraph. The  Old West and the Fenced West became the Wild West in the imaginations of the storytellers. The cowboys who lived through those changing times constantly reinvented themselves. They learned the power of a new start, a new beginning.

I remember once, when visiting a church in the East, our daughters were asked, “Do Indians live in teepees in Tulsa, Oklahoma?” The Wild West, Hollywood-style, lives on in our collective stories. It is a new day. Today’s cowboys have hardly driven cattle anywhere unless the cattle were in their trucks. It is a different day for life on the range. Do you need a re-start, a reinvention, and transformation of your life today? God is the One who said, “Behold, I make all things new.” It is never too late for a fresh start.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Start anew. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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