As the popular song asks, `Where have all the cowboys gone?'
You sure won't find them in Hollywood, but those who hanker for the
days when westerns ruled the silver screen should take a look at Tall in the Saddle: Great Lines from Classic Westerns.
The book is the latest collection of quotable quotes from the movies edited by UBC Creative Writing Prof. Peggy Thompson and co-author Saeko Usukawa.
Folksy, tough and laced with humour, the movie lines include such gems as:
"Draw fast and aim slow," from Tombstone.
"Sonny, I can see we ain't going to have you `round long enough to get tired of your company," from The Law and Jake Wade.
"I like my coffee strong enough to float a pistol," from Jubal.
And this exchange from The Misfits:
"He's a cowboy."
"How do you know?"
"I can smell, can't I?"
Thompson and Usukawa viewed 150 westerns -- from Stagecoach to Little Big Man -- to compile 350 quotes for the book.
"There's really no other way of doing it," Thompson said of the video marathon, "but because we're such big film buffs, it was a pleasure."
Even so, the authors just scratched the surface of the genre. The western is as old as Hollywood itself and more than 7,000 have been made, many during the golden age from the 1930s to the late 1960s.
Although the genre has fallen out of favour in recent years, don't be too quick to bury it on Boot Hill. The western movie has been declared dead since its inception, Thompson notes.
"It was said that no one could ever top Thomas Edison's The Great Train Robbery, one of the first silent films ever made, but the genre always seems to re-invent itself."
Generously illustrated with lobby card art, stills, posters and ads, Tall in the Saddle is a sequel to the authors' earlier work, Hard Boiled: Great Lines from Classic Noir Films.
Will there be yet another book in the "Great Lines" series?
"We're doing science fiction next," confirms Thompson.
Thompson knows a thing or two herself about movie scripts. Her feature film The Lotus Eaters was nominated for eleven Genie Awards and won three, including best screenplay. She has also written and produced independent short films and written drama for the stage and radio.