Need a little something to pass your downtime this holiday season? C&I is recommending new and upcoming movies, TV shows, books, and music. It's our way of wishing you happy holidays.
Movies & TV
Killers of the Flower Moon
At press time the iconic filmmaker Martin Scorsese, always the perfectionist, reportedly was still editing his adaptation of David Grann's nonfiction best-seller Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, which originally had been scheduled for release in 2022. The drama, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, depicts an investigation by the newly formed FBI into the murders of wealthy Osage people in Oklahoma after the discovery of oil on their land.
The Comeback Trail
And here's another 2022 holdover. Director George Gallo's riotous star-studded comedy, set in 1974, is about a disreputable producer (Robert De Niro) who is so heavily in debt to a mobster (Morgan Freeman) that he hatches a plan to cast aging cowboy star Duke Montana (Tommy Lee Jones) in a fake western — and then collect on the insurance when the actor "accidentally" dies during production.
Kevin Costner returns to directing for the first time since Open Range (2003) to make his long-planned dream project a reality. The epic production has been described as "an event television movie" consisting of four different films premiering three months apart. Costner will co-star with such notables as Luke Wilson, Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Thomas Haden Church in Horizon, which covers 15 years in the settlement of America's Western frontier. It will focus on the settlers as well as the Indigenous groups that first occupied the land.
C&I reader favorite Bailey Chase (Longmire) stars in this western produced for the Cowboy Way free streaming channel as Hunter Braddock, a former cavalryman who chose to desert rather than participate in his unit's massacre of innocent Native Americans.
Years later, the disgraced Braddock tries to reconnect with his estranged children in the town of Far Haven — and arrives just in time to get caught in the crossfire as a greedy businessman (Martin Kove) and his hand-picked sheriff (Chris Mulkey) scheme to grab the land of Ben Watkins (Bruce Boxleitner), the father of Braddock's decreased wife.
Chris Mulkey again, this time starring as a washed-up war hero in 1880s Montana who embarks on a dangerous rescue mission alongside his estranged son (Brandon Routh) to save his Indigenous wife (Irene Bedard) and daughter-in-law (Baylee Toney) after they're kidnapped be a gang of violent outlaws. Eddie Spears and Mo Brings Plenty co-star in the indie Western from writer-director Myles Clohessy.
1883: The Bass Reeves Story
Bass Reeves, the legendary slave-turned-lawman many believe was the real-life inspiration for the fictional Lone Ranger, will soon be riding tall as the focus of a limited-run series starring and produced by David Oyelowo (Selma). Taylor Sheridan is on board as an executive producer — hence the titular tie-in with his acclaimed 1883 series. Will any of the characters in that limited-run series pop up in this one? Stay tuned for further developments.
And speaking of Taylor Sheridan: He's spinning off another prequel series from Yellowstone, this one an 1883 sequel starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren as Jacob and Cara Dutton, owners of the Yellowstone Ranch. According to Paramount: "1923 focuses on the Dutton family's next two generations as they struggle to survive historic drought, lawlessness and prohibition, and an epidemic of cattle theft; all battled beneath the cloud of Montana's great depression, which preceded the nation by almost a decade."
And speaking of Yellowstone spin-offs: After purchasing the legendary 6666 Texas ranch for a reported $192 million, Taylor Sheridan plans to get his money's worth with a series set there. We expect to see former Yellowstone ranch hand Jimmy Hurdstrom (Jefferson White_ on the premises, continuing his advanced cowboy education.
Writer-director Jesse Edwards' modern-day Western thriller focuses on a timid Mexican-Navajo mechanic (Briza Covarrubias) who joins forces with a wild outlaw cowgirl (Allee-Sutton Hethcoat) to escape gangsters and take down a corrupt landowner in Southern Utah.
Australian actress Krew Boylan does double duty as co-writer and star of director Gracie Otto's comedy-drama about Raylene "Red" Delaney, an aimless real-estate appraiser who, after being fired from her job for chronic incompetence, devotes herself to impersonating her idol — Dolly Parton — in tribute stage shows.
~ Joe Leydon
Think Like A Horse
Straight from horse whisperer Grant Golliher's mouth, this new book offers "lessons in life, leadership, and empathy from an unconventional cowboy."
With his brand-new book, Think Like a Horse, renowned horse trainer, cowboy, author, and owner of Jackson Hole, Wyoming's famous Diamond Cross Ranch, Grant Golliher has authored both a how-to for horse lovers and a guide to thoughtful professional and personal leadership for anyone, no matter if you've never saddled up.
The book, released last year from Putnam's Sons, shares stories from Golliher's life and his work helping both horses and people throughout its 12 chapters.
You'll learn that as a young boy with a rough childhood, Golliher, was naturally inclined to train his father's mules with childlike kindness and understanding, but he had shifted away from that inclination as an adult horse trainer and professional polo player.
It wasn't until Golliher learned the techniques of natural horsemanship from famous horse whisperers like Ray Hunt and Tom Dorrance that he realized there was a better way. Training a horse didn't have to involve pain, fear, or force, Golliher discovered.
After successfully applying this quieter, gentler technique of understanding and communication to hundreds of horses, Golliher started to see it was having an effect on people outside of the round pen, too.
"Horses have an extraordinary ability to reveal people to themselves," Golliher writes. This will come as no surprise to horse owners who know their steeds have a sixth sense. Reading body language and emotion, horses seem to know what you're thinking, probably even before you think it. It's no doubt they're powerful healers for us humans.
He saw that having grace and patience to help a horse reach its highest potential and overcome the scars of its past was a philosophy that could be applied effectively to humans.
So began Golliher's journey as more than a horse trainer.
He now teaches CEOs, managers, and other business leaders how to better communicate with their teams, companies, and even their own families. He's working with convicts trying to overcome their past and military veterans suffering from PTSD.
"The truth is, it's the horses who do the teaching. I just try to translate," Golliher says in the book.
Think Like a Horse shares plenty of gems for navigating life. Its pages are filled with wise words spoken with a cowboy's inviting drawl.
You'll read about how setting boundaries with a rude horse is the same as setting boundaries with people, and why those limits are needed to preserve the friendship. Parents will recognize Golliher's approach to keeping his horses in line as insightful for raising their own wild and occasionally unruly children. Employers can incorporate Golliher's emphasis on giving a horse freedom and autonomy to create true partnerships with employees.
Golliher expertly weaves these ideas and many more with old cowboy sayings from an empathetic perspective, sharing stories of people he's met, including former employees who struggled with addiction and even homelessness, who've been helped by working on the ranch with the Golliher family and their horses.
As the publisher astutely observes, it's his hard-won horse sense that has given Golliher a unique ability to teach invaluable lessons that anyone can use to live a fuller, more successful life.
Sometimes you'll laugh, sometimes you'll tear up. You'll always find yourself not wanting to miss a word of Golliher's wisdom.
Reading the book, I started thinking about how to better communicate with my own horses. I love them, but we don't always see eye to eye — kind of like with some humans in our lives.
By the end, I was also thinking about relationships with coworkers and even family members and all of those dynamics that could benefit from Golliher's insights. Most important, I was thinking, which is no doubt the goal of Think Like a Horse.
Think Like a Horse: Lessons in Life, Leadership, and Empathy from an Unconventional Cowboy is available on Amazon and at all major bookstores.
~ Lindsay Whelchel
More Great Reads
Duke: The Official John Wayne Movie Book
By Editors of the Official John Wayne Magazine (Media Lab Books)
In this in-depth look at every single film of John Wayne's incredible five-decade movie career, you'll be treated to quotes, behind-the-scenes stories, rare on-set photos, family memories, posters, props, wardrobe pieces, and trivia. The foreword is by Duke's Train Robbers costar Ann-Margret, and the afterword is by film critic Leonard Maltin.
Hell and Back
By Craig Johnson (Viking)
Longmire fans rejoice: Craig Johnson's back with a new installment (the 18th) in his series about lawman Walt and friends (and enemies), heading back into the American West — and even deeper. The "hell and back" journey of the title alludes to what press materials describes as "the very limits of [Walt Longmire's] sanity to do battle with the most dangerous adversary he's ever faced: himself." The surreal setup: He wakes up in the middle of the street in Fort Pratt, Montana, where 30 Native American boys died in a boarding-school fire more than a century ago. He's bloody and missing a bullet. The people he meets are dead, and he has no idea who "Walt Longmire" — the name on the sweatband of his hat — is.
Robert's Story: A Texas Cowboy's Troubled Life and Horrifying Death
By Stephen G. Michaud (Coyote Publishing)
In this investigative biography, true-crime master Michaud delves into the life of Robert East and the legacy of his family's historic San Antonio Viejo ranch. One of three children of ranch founders Tom T. East Sr. and Alice Gertrudis Kleberg, he outlived siblings Tom T. East Jr. and Alice "Lica" Hattie East, continuing to work the land he loved. Michaud reveals the realities of ranching life and uncovers in the saga "intrafamily feuds, legal duplicity, and criminal elder abuse with cinematic depictions of 20th-century cowboy life in remote Southern Texas."
Path Lit By Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorpe
By David Maraniss (Simon & Schuster)
Jim Thorpe, the track-and-field great who grew up in the Sac and Fox Nation in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) to become the first Native American to win Olympic gold for the U.S., is finally getting his due. With the Summer Olympics around the corner in 2024, a rumored major biopic in the works, and the official reinstatement of Thorpe's Olympic medals acknowledging him as the sole winner of both of his events, the timing of this book feels fated. Fitting, too, that Pulitzer Prize-winning author Maraniss handles the biography of one of the world's greatest athletes with his own considerable journalistic athleticism.
The Cowboy Way
This award-winning group is serious about its heritage but eclectic with its styles.
Want to know what the "real deal" sounds like? Look no further than the Western music trio The Cowboy Way.
The band members' cowboy credentials extend well beyond music: Singer-songwriter Doug Figgs knows how to rope and ride, and he shoes horses for a living (he's got broken bones held together with screws and plates to prove it). Jim Jones, multi-instrumentalist, grew up in Beaumont, Texas, surrounded by deep piney woods, and he absorbed the works of the great Texas songwriters — Guy Clark in particular. German-born lead guitarist Mariam Funke hared the cowboy call when he moved to the West 30 years ago, working on horse ranches and learning vital skills.
"I have always had a deep fascination with the American West — the open spaces, connection to nature, the simplicity of life," Funke says. "I felt reborn coming here."
The trio is known to cover time-tested cowboy classics at its live shows — look for a sizzling version of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" on YouTube. But the members mostly write and record their own material, and they have won a saddlebag full of awards for it. They took the International Wester Music Association's Group of the Year prize four times in a row (every year from 2017 to 2021, with no recipient named in 2020 due to the pandemic).
"I bring the Texas influence, Doug is influenced by Southern rock, and Mariam played in funk groups — we really complement each other's styles and are all pretty good pickers," Jones says. "Our sound is more contemporary than most cowboy bands. We owe as much to the Eagles and bluegrass as we do The Sons of the Pioneers."
When it comes to writings lyrics, a shared love of history guides the musicians in The Cowboy Way. Their songs are well-researched with subject matter grounded in real-life stories and characters. "Go West," for example, is about immigrants migrating west after the Civil War, searching for a new life. "Flow Rivers Flow" deals with the importance of water to the West's survival.
In preparation for a tour of Scotland a few years ago, they wrote "It's A Cowboy I Will Be," a true story of Scottish exiles who made their way west as skilled cattle drovers. The song begins with elements from the cherished Scottish folk tune, "the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond." When they first performed it live on the tour, Scottish fans heard the opening melody and immediately stood, cheered, and danced. "And they loved our cowboy hats," Figgs says. "We did a lot of trading of hats!"
Even as their international audience grows, the band's players aren't losing sight of home. "We are proud of the way we represent and honor the Western lifestyle that we know and love so well," Figgs says.
"The Cowboy Way is passionate about this amazingly beautiful land and its history," Funke adds. "There is no better way to celebrate the truth than through our music, so the people who already know the West feel proud, and those who don't are excited to learn more."
~ Mark Crawford
The C&I Playlist
In addition to The Cowboy Way's music, you'll want to lend your ears to more of our favorite tunes and artists of late. Visit the artists' sites to find out more, and listen to all these songs by subscribing to our "C&I Approved" playlist on Spotify (find it by searching "playlist" at cowboysindians.com).
Chapel Hart, "You Can Have Him Jolene"
It's hard to describe the joy we felt seeing the country trio Chapel Hart earn America's Got Talent's "Golden Buzzer" with its Dolly-referencing tune, "You Can Have Him Jolene." But since they made the finals of AGT, they've had their Grand Ole Opry debut and recorded a song with Darius Rucker. Get familiar if you haven't already. chapelhart.com
Jesse Davis, "Tulsa County"
The label Real Gone Music recently rereleased the debut album from the late artist Davis, the influential Native American guitarist whose playing elevated classic recordings by icons such as John Lennon, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, and Gram Parsons. Davis, who died in 1988, was prominently featured in Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World. Take time to watch the doc and listen to Davis' rereleased album. realgonemusic.com
Dalton Dover, "Damn Good Life"
The Georgia native country singer made a mark on audiences (and coach Blake Shelton) while competing on Season 16 of The Voice. Now he's promoting a new album that launches with the feel-good small town ode, "Damn Good Life." His sound is a pleasing mix of twang and soul. daltondover.net
Joe Ely, "Love and Happiness For Your" (with Kimmie Rhodes)
Texas country-rocker Ely aims for soft and sweet, backed by the angelic voice of Kimmie Rhodes, on the first single from his latest album, Flatland Lullaby. "Love and Happiness For You" is at once a meditation, a prayer, and, yes, a lullaby. ely.com
Randy Houser, "Still That Cowboy"
"I hope I'm still that cowboy that rode up in your dreams." The only thing that improves on that lyrics is the sound of Houser's deep, confident voice delivering it. Look for "Still That Cowboy" and more traditional tunes on Houser's latest release, Note to Self. randyhouser.com
Erin Kinsey, "Vegas"
The lights and allure of Las Vegas inspired the latest from the 21-year-old Texan singer-songwriter. The multi-instrumentalist landed a deal with RECORDS Nashville on the strength of original songs that gained her a devoted following online. Kinsey is one to watch this year. erinkinsey.com
"If These Dogs Could Talk," Ashley McBryde and Brandy Clark
One of the most exciting new records of the last year is a concept album full of songs about fictional small-town characters. Yet, the stories seem so real. Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville finds country singer-songwriter McBryde collaborating with her favorite fellow artists and writers on a kind of musical novel. The whole project is inspired by the late songwriting giant Dennis Linde. "If These Dogs Could Talk" is just as it sounds: "They dig up your secrets/know all your trash." ashleymcbryde.com
Mali Obomsawin, "Odana"
"Odana" is the first track to be released from Obomsawin's Sweet Tooth, an experimental album melding blues, jazz, folk, hymns, and traditional sounds from the artist's Wabanaki heritage. The ideas of adaptation and resistance inspired the composer, and they come through clearly in unexpected ways. A wonderful downtempo soundtrack for reflection. maliobomsawin.com
Mike Ryan, "Die Runnin"
Soulful country rock is Mike Ryan's specialty — new single "Die Runnin" fits that bill perfectly, with lyrics about a guy desperate to get back to his love. Promising leadoff track for the new album, Longcut. Country radio would be silly not to pick up on Ryan. mikeryanband.com
Sam Platts & The Plainsmen, "Seven Times A Day"
You have to throw a little Western swing into any mix, and one of the sound's greatest modern purveyors is Sam Platts. His Montana band offers up expertly crafted takes on traditional sounds, with plenty of humor and wit baked into the lyrics. Check out the new album West Side and its leadoff single, about being driven to drink, yep, seven times a day. samplatts.com
~ Hunter Hauk
Lead photo courtesy of: Paramount Plus