My Love for the Neo-Western

Here are some things about me that you don't know:

My dad was in his 50s when I was born. My mother was in her 30s. I was the uplanned baby at the end of a second marriage long after the other children - a son.

My father spent the first 5 years of his life living in a dugout sod house in northern Saskatchewan. He never saw a flushing toilet until he was 17 when he joined the mounted police at the end of the war.

My older sisters left home by the time I was 12 and I became an only child. I spent every weekend helping my grandfather (my mother's father).

My grandfather left home at 13 when he was fed up with the severe physical abuse from his father. He made his rite of passage riding the rails back and forth between the coast and the prairies. Throughout his teenage years he worked on farms and in logging camps until the war broke out.

My father and my grandfather were, and still are to this day, my best friends, my two greatest influences, and the people I spent the most time with. They both lived through the depression and grew up with nothing.

Knowledge, attitude, and culture skipped a generation when it passed from them to me. Farming is all we've ever really had at our core. Land is like oxygen. It means more than anything.

Now #

This is how I grew up. Then I left for 10 years to make my way before I returned and took my place. The friends of my father and grandfather embraced me as an equal and one of their own.

It's like the man from Snowy River. You don't start with everything. You can't handle the responsibility or the financial burden of the land. You have to prove yourself and earn your place in the community.

I'm the sole keeper of the family industrial knowledge - our tools, our techniques, our methods. The knowledge of how to survive on nothing, how to care for animals, how to work, and how to fix everything. When my grandfather went blind I became his hands. Him seeing pieces and parts in his head and explaining to me how things assemble. It all came together when I built a house 13 years ago.

I now preserve a certain lifestyle for my children. We don't go to the park. We live in the park. Baseball, swings, fresh fruit, mountain biking, ziplines are all in our yard. Caring for the livestock morning and night provides a certain cadence and safety.

Technology #

I'm the first male in my family to even finish high school. My father had grade 10. My grandfather had grade 4.

My career success is the product of a mechical mind applied to an area that follows certain rules. Building is building. Even software has certain similarities to homesteading. Discovery. Trial and error. Iteration and observation. Sheer will. Relentlessness. Hard work. Finishing. And it repeats itself over and over again whenever a new technology emerges.

But that knowledge that I received from my forefathers, who will I pass that on to? Will it be lost along with my children - swept away to the city? Will it be forgotten like an old Model 94? will I be the last?

Am I losing the knowledge myself? Have I betrayed who I am? Stuck in a hell of meetings Monday to Friday only to escape on Saturday ... dropping trees, milling lumber, or running the backhoe. It's hard to believe that I haven't somehow sold my soul.

Enter the Neo-Western #

This subtle new sub-genre.

Like me the characters of neo-western stories find themselves living in a modern society but not of modern society. Never quite fitting in. Living by an old code. Stuck in a state of constant conflict.

Believe it or not this page started out as a place to collect shows and movies I'd like to watch. Just a single place to keep a list to share with others and for future reference. So here it is. I'd love to hear suggestions from you.

TV Shows #

  • Justified
  • Longmire
  • Yellowstone

Movies #

  • No Country for Old Men
  • Gran Torino

Music #

  • Sturgill Simpson
  • Orville Peck

Books #

  • anything by Cormac McCarthy