DAILY DIRT: ‘Alive or dead, it’s your choice’


Daily Dirt for Saturday, March 2, 2024

What a medal stand: Eastwood, Flynn and The Duke … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 881 of The Daily Dirt.

1. It’s no secret that one of The Daily Dirt’s favorite subjects deals with the old westerns, both on film and of the weekly TV series.

I rarely met a cowboy I didn’t like.

That said, which actors stood above the rest in their portrayal of heroes (and villains) of the old West?

I’m glad you asked. Here’s my all-time cowboy ranking:

  • 1. Clint Eastwood: No surprise here, right? Remember his famous quote in the 1965 classic “For a Few Dollars More” when he uttered the words, “Alive or dead? It’s your choice.” It was at that point Eastwood became an instant cowboy legend, which he remains today.
  • 2. Errol Flynn: I never thought anyone would ever supplant Flynn as my favorite cowboy until Clint the Squint came along, but, hey, being No. 2 isn’t bad. Despite the Australian accent and hair that was rarely messed up, Flynn somehow managed to pull off an impressive series of western roles in such magnificent films as “They Died With Their Boots On,” “Dodge City,” “Virginia City,” “Santa Fe Trail” and “San Antonio”.
  • 3. John Wayne: I have always preferred many of The Duke’s older films, such as “Red River,” “Rio Bravo,” “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon,” “El Dorado” and “Fort Apache”.
  • 4. Robert Mitchum: No matter what the western role, Mitchum always — repeat, always — had the perfect attitude. And it was usually nasty.
  • 5. Lee Marvin: He was the absolute perfect guy to play a bad guy in a western. (For the record, I always felt Marvin and James Coburn were interchangeable in whatever role they had.)
  • 6. James Arness: No list of western heroes would be complete without Marshal Matt Dillon.
  • 7. Ward Bond: What always made Bond special — besides his longtime role as wagon master on “Wagon Train” — was his believability as both a good guy and one who wore a black hat. 
  • 8. Gary Cooper: “High Noon,” which Cooper won an Oscar for, is the epitome of what an old-school western was all about.
  • 9. Steve McQueen: He was even cool as a cowboy. 
  • 10. Stuart Whitman: Very underrated as a western star. For me, his finest effort came in the TV series “Cimarron Strip,” where he played Marshal Jim Crown.

2. In case you might need a loan, here are the 10 richest people in the world today, according to Forbes magazine:

  • 1. Bernard Arnault, who oversees an empire of 75 fashion and cosmetic brands, including Louis Vuitton: $211 billion.
  • 2. Elon Musk, businessman and investor, $180 billion.
  • 3. Jeff Bezos, businessman, media proprietor and investor, $114 billion.
  • 4. Larry Ellison, businessman and entrepreneur who founded the Oracle Corp.,  $107 billion.
  • 5. Warren Buffett, businessman, investor and philanthropist, $106 billion.
  • 6. Bill Gates, businessman, investor, writer and philanthropist,$104 billion.
  • 7. Michael Bloomberg, businessman, politician, investor and author, $94.5 billion.
  • 8. Carlos Slim Helu, Mexican businessman, investor and philanthropist, $83 billion.
  • 9. Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, $80.7 billion.
  • 10. Francoise Bettencourt, French heiress who is the richest woman in the world, $80.5 billion.

3. I’m old enough to remember the anti-war and political protests of the early-to-late 1960s and early 1970s, and with those protests came some great music. Here were my favorite protest anthems from that era:

  • 1. “Eve of Destruction,” by Barry McGuire (1965).
  • 2. “For What It’s Worth,” by Buffalo Springfield (1966).
  • 3. “Ohio,” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (1971).
  • 4. “Fortunate Son,” by Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969).
  • 5-tie. “Blowin’ In the Wind,” by Bob Dylan (1963).
  • 5-tie. “The Times They Are a Changin’,” by Bob Dylan (1964).

Steve Thought O’ The Day – I just realized the only one of those top 10 western guys that is still alive is Clint Eastwood, and he’s 93.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. No love for Sam Elliott in the cowboy rankings?

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