The Last Cowboy
by Jane Kramer
'The West that Henry mourned belonged to the Western movie, where the land and the cattle went to their proper guardians and brought a fortune in ... Show synopsis 'The West that Henry mourned belonged to the Western movie, where the land and the cattle went to their proper guardians and brought a fortune in respect and power. It was a West where the best cowboy got to shoot the meanest outlaw, woo the prettiest schoolteacher, bed her briefly to produce sons, and then ignore her for the finer company of other cowboys - a West as sentimental and as brutal as the people who made a virtue of that curious combination of qualities and called it the American experience' - From the Introduction. Henry Blanton is the 'last cowboy' of Jane Kramer's classic portrait, the failed hero of his own mythology, the man who ends an era for himself. His story - his flawed, funny, and in the end tragic efforts to be a proper cowboy, 'expressin' right' in a world where the range is a feed yard and college boys run ranches from air-conditioned Buicks - is the story of a country coming of age in great promise and greater disappointment. A hundred and fifty miles up the highway from agri-business Amarillo, Henry claimed the extravagant prerogatives of a free man on a horse. He rode his own frontier, decked out in his vigilance and his honour, until the shocking moment when in the person of Henry Blanton the West and the Western had a showdown.