#164- Johnson’s Indian Country Part 1
Scott and Karl finish their discussion of Dorothy M. Johnson’s Indian Country, a collection of some of the greatest short stories about the American West. Scott says, “I don’t want to talk about the book too much because it’s that good. I love the characters, I love the setting, I love Dorothy Johnson, I love the themes, I love the style.”
While this work is out of print, the duo agrees it is worth your while to hunt down a used copy and have a read. Each of the eleven tales shines with implicity, Karl calls them “iceberg stories” because there is so much in them that isn’t written.
Tune in to hear the rest of Scott and Karl’s conversation about Dorothy Johnson’s skillful presentation of early frontier life. Brought to you by onlinegreatbooks.com.
Scott Hambrick 0:09
Welcome to the online great books podcast brought to you by onlinegreatbooks.com where we talk about the good life, the great books, a great conversation, and great ideas
Brett Veinotte 0:30
Hello, dear listener, and welcome back to the online great books podcast. This is Brett, I am the producer sorry about our absence last week. But we are back this week and next with a great adventure. Scott and Karl will begin discussing today a collection of short stories about frontier life originally published in the 1940s. It was written by Dorothy M. Johnson and it is called Indian country. The book actually includes some very famous stories from the West, including The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Now I had seen the movie, we’ve all seen the movie, have you not seen the movie? What are you a communist, but I had never read the story. After listening to Scott And Karl’s discussion I found and read the story. And I’m thinking you might be compelled to do the same with many of the 11 stories in this book. Here’s what you need to know ahead of time, Scott and Carl will spoil every story that they discuss. So you’re going to want to be swift about obtaining your copy of the book. It’s pretty easily obtainable. They’re mostly very enjoyable stories about a kind of pioneer resilience. I love westerns. But even if you don’t like westerns, I can imagine you would enjoy this. So that’s it. Thank you as always for your time and attention. Thank you for listening. And I am proud to present you now the podcasting Dream Team of Scott Hambrick and Carl shoot.
Scott Hambrick 1:52
I’m Scott Hambrick. And today, I would like to welcome you to your undisclosed location, Karl.
Karl Schudt 2:01
Oh, thank you. Yeah, thank you. I’m not sure I’ll ever fit into the undisclosed location. But so far, it’s all right.
Scott Hambrick 2:09
See more about this.
Karl Schudt 2:12
I don’t know. I was at the Home Depot in the undisclosed location A while back, just buying some sand and everything. And everybody’s giving me because they’re friendly here. And they’re given me the nod and the waves and everything. I don’t know. I’m not one of them. And I felt a little a little uneasy, but
Scott Hambrick 2:33
they probably did. But they do that anyway.
Karl Schudt 2:37
Well, I hadn’t talked.
Scott Hambrick 2:40
But look at you.
Karl Schudt 2:45
Yeah. Lots and lots of gardening to do. Yeah, so just trying to get we got started late. And I’m trying to get everything in as I can get in. Now, you’re not supposed to plant in June. Unless you have to.
Scott Hambrick 3:00
Yeah. It doesn’t matter that you’re late this year in the undisclosed location because it’s been a disaster for everybody already, so
Karl Schudt 3:11
it’s fine. What my potatoes are good. I need to fertilize them. I think we got the squash in and they’re popping out. I hope they don’t get washed away today. Got some sweet corn planted so we’re gonna feed the deer and pumpkins. I think I got to redo the carrots. I think I messed him up. So I’m reading the carrots are tough gardening when it counts book. And I haven’t seen a carrot yet. Carrots are tough. And that was like a week. Yeah. So I think I’m going to double dig and make a nice ditch and or nice raised bed and we’re just going to make a trough and just pour a bunch of seeds in it and see if anything comes up. Because I like carrots.
Scott Hambrick 3:51
Yeah, me too. Me too. They’re miraculous things are weird. Have you given any thought to what we’re going to read after this one, Carl?
Karl Schudt 4:01
Oh, yeah, I saw you put a list. Lovecraft I don’t is interesting. To the mountains of madness might be good. It’s been a million years since I read it. It’s a novella. I think it’s set in Antarctica.
Scott Hambrick 4:16
Maybe we should read one you haven’t read beyond the ice? Well.
Karl Schudt 4:18
I think I read all of them. A million years ago. We can find them.
Scott Hambrick 4:25
I’ve never read a word of Lovecraft.
Karl Schudt 4:29
Hmm, that’s a it’s a treat. It’s a It’s spooky. Yeah. Little House in the prairie. Sounds great. The foundation. We would just do the one foundation book. I think it’s important. I saw how you felt Asimov. It’s important. I I’ve said this on the Slack channel. Maybe here to that. Foundation was a bad good book. Right? No, a good bad book that I think had a bad effect on me. Yeah, plenty of stuff. The Shiloh book by Shelby Foote Good. I haven’t read survival state.
Scott Hambrick 5:02
I haven’t either. What?
Karl Schudt 5:03
Tell me. How do you stay hula back? Set right back? What is that thing?
Scott Hambrick 5:09
extreme right-wing French author, Michel Houellebecq I don’t know. He has gotten in trouble and canceled all over the place. So that’s a landmine I’m all for stepping on. His first book was a biographical essay on horror writer HP Lovecraft he wrote a book almost not too long ago about Islam and its effect on France. It’s called submission. I think that has gotten him in bad bad trouble. But I would like to read that eventually. But I’m kind of interested in the elementary particles. Yeah, he’s he’s
Karl Schudt 5:50
isn’t actually about elementary particles somewhat. Yeah. Are they like a metaphor?
Scott Hambrick 5:57
They are a metaphor. But I believe there’s a little little stuff a little bit of that kind of wacky stuff in there too. I haven’t read it yet. But I think there’s some some allusions to that stupid, stupid kind of physics. But can I make a motion that we read the ass mov stuff next because our our super fan Paul messaged me said I’ve read that you guys talked about it. I read it forever ago. And I’m waiting.
Karl Schudt 6:27
Which super friend Paul. Oh, but you can tell me he goes
Scott Hambrick 6:31
by otter skin on the social medias. Oh, yeah. Yeah, so yeah, we’ll do that. Is that the first foundation one?
Karl Schudt 6:40
Yeah, okay. We don’t need to read the whole trailer. Read those. I think the trilogy ends up with five or six books in it anyway. Gosh, as they tend to
Scott Hambrick 6:48
read those. I was probably in the seventh grade. Maybe is that first one? Is it just foundation? I
Karl Schudt 6:57
might have been younger. Our friend Hamas put a thread in about what bad things in 70s 60s 70s 80s sci fi and there’s a lot of bad things in that stuff. And I read almost all of it. And yeah, they’re filthy dirty. mess me up. I love lots of it. But lots of it was pretty bad for me. I think. And Asimov wasn’t because it wasn’t. He doesn’t write any sex scenes. It’s not. That’s not why he’s bad. There’s more subtle reasons why I think he’s bad, but I still enjoy it. Yeah. Don’t get me. So stay tuned for this started
Scott Hambrick 7:31
on Arthur C. Clarke.
Karl Schudt 7:38
Yeah, yeah. There have been revelations about him.
Scott Hambrick 7:41
I was more of a Clark guy actually. Way back then in the 80s. Than an ASME. Okay. Yeah, we’ll read that one. Next. We’ll cover that next. That’ll be a delight. But it will not be as big of a delight as this most recent collection of short stories that we read on marchin rights suggestion. Indeed, Indian Country is the name of it. It was put out by what is it Valentine for 35 cents back in? I don’t know. Let me look at the date on this thing. 1949 and last copyright was 1953 35 cents would get you this thing. And I don’t know how you would spend 35 cents any better. This thing is amazing. I think.
Karl Schudt 8:25
Yeah, it’s unable to be found online. As far as I can tell. We were talking in our we tried to do this before but a storm cut us off. We’re talking about scanning this thing up, it needs to be digitized. I had to rebind my copy because the pages were coming out as I was reading it, I would have just had to make a pile. So I redid it. And maybe we spent five bucks and get another copy and separate it out and scan it up. Just for posterity. It’s it’s wonderful. I I saw the cover and I thought gosh, this is gonna be you know, a cheesy Western book. This is some cheesy crap that Hamburg likes. No, I really, really liked it. I finished it last night at two in the morning. I think it’s really good. I think maybe I’ll go grab a copy but not before we get our sacrificial copy to scan. Well.
Scott Hambrick 9:15
The clock’s ticking. Don’t buy them all up on this ticket. We’ll do this for before it comes out. The show comes out. It’s by Dorothy M. Johnson. I think a lot of these stories were written for publication in monthly magazines. There was a lot of that in the mid century Esquire bought a lot of them Saturday Evening Post. A lot of authors that you love, kind of cut their teeth in either like pulp crime and science fiction magazines or look kind of more legitimate stuff like the Atlantic or Esquire or so on. And Miss Dorothy. She, she’s from Montana. She got she GTFO H and went to New York City. But she came back she You went back.
Karl Schudt 10:00
Yeah, I read one biography of her said she tried to be a New Yorker.
Scott Hambrick 10:03
Yeah. And it’s clear that that’s good. And you read this book, it’s clear that she, there’s no way she could have the sense of life that comes through this book right up into my, in your face is astounding to me. And that’s why I know that’s why Marcia loved it. The character of the author is just all over the thing. I can’t imagine her doing anything other than a Western, she has to have the western genre, I think probably to be like this to to do her kind of art. With this is take two we already recorded and then a storm messed us all up. And Carla asking the first one, take one, you know, what is a Western?
Karl Schudt 10:49
I have thoughts on that. So, dear listener, I don’t know if you’ve ever read Western stories, you probably haven’t didn’t know it. I was said before. The the first and best parts of Star Wars are a Western. That wonderful, short Sci Fi series Firefly is a Western, I would characterize it as it’s like desert literature. Not necessarily a dry desert, but your characters are out in the middle of nowhere, there aren’t many people around, anything that they do becomes magnified. So if you stub your toe, or you cut your toe, you’re going to have to cut off your own foot when it gets gangrenous. Because there’s nobody you can go to, when you see visitors coming to your homestead. They’re not going to just be saying hi to you, they’re gonna marry your daughter, they’re gonna kill all of you. All of your actions become magnified in this setting. I lived out in the desert for I lived in Phoenix is kind of the desert for six months. And I really liked it. And I told my brother that has like, why he likes forests. He wants trees around them all the time. And well, because you can see for miles. You know, everything’s clear. In the desert, you can see to the horizon. And you could see the vulture. You know, that’s 30 miles away. And I like that. And I think that the fiction has that same feel to me. And I think Dorothy M Johnson, I don’t know anything about her. I know very little about her. But she writes like, that feels to me.
Scott Hambrick 12:35
The writing? So make sense. Yes. Especially if you’ve read it. I told you when we were when you’re over here at the house that, that this writing is just tight as a banjo string, a, it’s a it’s her writing to me is what I want, what I want to read, she puts your focus right where it needs to be. And, you know, people give praise to Hemingway for his tight prose and whatever. It’s not clear to me if Hemingway was a genius, or if he was mentally disabled if he was handicapped. You know, there’s there’s two ways you could write really simple sentences One is intentionally into, that’s all you can do. Right? And it’s not clear to me what was up with a Papa Hemingway, but with her, I’m certain that she’s doing this on purpose. I’m going to read just the first paragraph of the first story flame on the front here. But before I do that, go to one library books.com. And get on the waiting list. Join us there please, which you’re not going to eat out as much. I know that when nobody has any money because they’re stealing all of our money. But what left that you do have you can use with us for both entertainment and intellectual purposes. Like what we do is a great deal of fun. You’re not going to be going out to eat, you’re not gonna go to the movie theater, you’re probably going to cut back on a bunch of your subscriptions. And though we are a subscription, you will get far more companionship, camaraderie, fun intellectual stimulation, and books from us than you will any of those other so help us out. Keep the boat afloat, guys. Come on, help us out.
Karl Schudt 14:18
Cup a couple of years from now, when you’re in the Gulag. Making small rocks out of big rocks. You’ll have a wonderful interior life because you will have read a whole bunch of good stuff. And so you’ll be standing there swinging your sledge hammer, or your pickaxe, and you’ll be better off than the guy next to you.
Scott Hambrick 14:39
That’s true. And if we don’t end up in a gulag, and you’re just in the cubicle again, like 2020 2019 Well, you already said it. Same thing. I want to read the first paragraph of flame on the frontier by Dorothy M. Johnson. This is a collection of short stories. Here we go. On Sunday morning wearing white men’s sober clothing suit chief named Little Crow attended the church service at the lower agency and afterwards shook hands with the preacher. On Sunday afternoon little crows painted and feathered. Santee Sioux swooped down on the settlers in bloody massacre. There was no warning. Okay, there’s that. That’s how she writes. And there’s some there’s some better junk chunks that we’ll probably point out here later. I finished this book and just loved it was just enthralled by it. And finished it. Well, I’ve had a book on my list for a long time. It’s called the 42nd parallel it’s volume one of the US a trilogy by John Dos Passos, this, this book makes a lot of you ought to read them snotty lists. It’s one of these books that you know, snotty people say you should read you know, he’s one of the last generation and all this all this shit, you know? So I finally got to it. I finally like I’m okay, I’m gonna crack this open. I don’t have anything else to read right now urgently. So here I went. Page one paragraph one U S A by John Dos Passos. The young man walks fast by himself through the crowd that fins into the night streets. semi colon, feet are tired from hours of walking semi colon, eyes greedy for warmth curve of faces answering flicker of eyes, the set of a head the lift of a shoulder, the way hands spread and clench blood tingles with once mind is a beehive of hopes buzzing and steaming. Muscles aching for the knowledge of jobs for the road mentors pick and shovel work. The Fisherman’s knack with a hook when he hauls on this literary net from the rail of the lurching trawler. The swing of the bridge man’s arm as he swings down from the white the white hot rivet. The engineers slow grip wise on the throttle, the dirt farmers use of his whole body when wheeling the mules. He yanks the plow from the furrow period. That’s the first period the young man walks by himself searching through the crowd with greedy eyes, greedy ears taught to hear by himself alone. I read two pages of this and I was like, I’m not gonna live long enough. James Joyce is better. You know, Dorothy Johnson is slang in those words. I mean, she’s so good at it, but she writes short stories in the western genre for periodicals, you know, so nobody is going to be blowing smoke up or tarnish like they are Dos Passos, or Graham green or, you know, whatever, right? Or Thomas Hardy or, you know, whoever. What’s his name, Miller, Tropic of Capricorn, all these decks, you know, they’re not going to do that because this is just wholesome and wonderful. And she writes about people who are the way you wish you were.
Karl Schudt 17:49
Wholesome is no word I would have thought strange characters, hard man, hard women and neat stories. There’s no judgment of them, and that she’s kind of Homeric. She just shows you stuff. And then you have to figure out if you think they should have done what they did.
Scott Hambrick 18:07
They all should have done everything they did.
Karl Schudt 18:11
I want to read the third, no fourth paragraph. The Santee Sioux sweeping down there’s Hannah Harris. There’s Mary Amanda. And then there’s, I think there’s another kid, I forget her name. Sara, Mary, Amanda put down the book she had borrowed from a distant neighbor and went unwillingly out of the cabin. She liked to read and was proud that she knew how, but she never had another book in her hands as long as she lived. Mary Amanda Harris was on that day in August in 1862, just barely 13 years old. So you have these two girls that are outgoing, I forget what they’re doing, go get more butter from the spring. Because that’s where you would keep your butter because it’d be cool. And you’d have that little these little hints that she’s putting you don’t know what, what’s going to happen. But for me, it’s like, like I said earlier, if you’ve got your homestead on your 500 acres, and you see somebody crest bridge in a western that’s a big deal in a city you know New York literature. None of those people matter. They’re not part of your story their landscape
Scott Hambrick 19:20
like that. Does passos garbage I just read.
Karl Schudt 19:24
Yeah, I read that, oh, something’s gonna happen. Well, they get set upon its killer. It’s not a true story, but it’s true to life. It’s the sort of thing that would happen. The lady that went on to become the mother of the last Comanche chief was taken away from her farm and all her people were killed. sort of thing that happened. cultural assimilation,
Scott Hambrick 19:54
this I get to tell the story. I want to tell a story. They go down to the spring or the Arias was talking to charities granddad. And he said that during the Depression, nobody had in a Dare County, Oklahoma. Hell, they barely have air conditioning or refrigeration there now, but they darn sure didn’t in the Great Depression said they’d go down, they’d put stuff in the spring too, and their neighbor’s wood as well. Just that was the best place to put it, you know, and it was a walk. And he said, during the Depression, it got it got to the point where you couldn’t really put stuff in the spring because people would eat it. You go back and you’re better wasn’t there? Or, you know, whatever your milk wasn’t there or whatever, because the neighbors took it. You got to understand that the neighbors would take that and eat it. Knowing that you would know it was them that did it. Like you guys live together. It’s not like you live in a giant apartment building. And someone stole your Amazon package. No, you’re like the Jenkins ate all the butter. And there’s going to be there would be consequences of that, you know, but what are they going to do? The better thing to do maybe would become an ask. But the magalies which is my grandfather’s are charities grandpa Ed’s family couldn’t spare it. That’s 1934 This story is placed in 1862. It’s not too far. None of this stuff. Is that too far in the past? For me?
Karl Schudt 21:37
Oh, yeah. The past is yesterday. Yeah.
Scott Hambrick 21:43
I’m impressed by it.
Karl Schudt 21:48
Yeah, I came across something really neat. Yesterday, I was looking up pictures of my paternal grandfather, because he looked like John Wayne and I couldn’t find any online and I’ve got some, but I don’t know where they’re stored. It’s watching a John Wayne movie with my daughter and setting up some furniture. She knew I liked the quiet man. She didn’t like it the first time. But I think she liked it better the second time, because she didn’t understand why Marina Hara would need for John Wayne to go and grab her and make her walk. She didn’t understand that said that’s what she wanted. That’s the happiest you ever isn’t that movie. So my dad loves John Wayne movies. And I like him too. And I said him one day. You know, John Wayne looks a lot like your dad. And he looked at me and said, Well, I’m glad somebody else noticed. So he had he had known this. He’d seen this the whole time. And then I saw it independently. But I found his bachelor’s thesis that he had to write at the University of Wisconsin in 1924. About the economic aspects of building highways in Wisconsin, because there weren’t any, and I’m gonna read it 1924 There’s nothing. That’s yesterday, I knew him. You know, this is not ancient history.
Scott Hambrick 23:11
And it will be back. No, it will. Yeah.
Karl Schudt 23:19
Born in Lita, Illinois. Yeah. So anyway, so the the Sue has showed up, but you don’t they don’t tell you the Sue have showed up? Okay. She doesn’t tell you. It’s just it’s a perfect story. So the two daughters are out walking. She shivered not because of any premonition, but simply because air was cool in the brush. By the spring, she glanced across the narrow Creek and saw a paint striped face. Before she could finish her scream. The Indian had left the creek and smothered her mouth. Okay, so now the kids are gone. Instantly. At the cabin, they heard that single throat turning scream instantly muffled. They knew what had to be done. They had planned it because this day might come to any frontier farm. Well now the plan. Hannah Harris scooped up the baby boy Willie and hesitated only to crowd the girls. The father unit doesn’t say anything. The father already inside the cabin handed one rifle to his eldest son as he took the other for himself to Jim who’s 16 He barked the axe boy. Well, what they’re going to do. Mom is going to take whoever she can and go hide. The men are going to go fight and die. That’s the plan. They’re going
Scott Hambrick 24:34
to find a delay action. They’re alone. And they know that if they are set upon they will be outnumbered.
Karl Schudt 24:42
Hmm, yeah. So this is on page two of the Ballantine. 35 cent edition. Asked Oscar and Jim and Zeke did not defend they attacked the father going first. They ran toward the spring and met the Indians in the brush fighting there they bought a little time for the three to hide down by The River and they paid for it with their lives. You know no story of how the fight went. It’s just one paragraph. Some people could make 30 pages out of that. What’s important dramatically is not how the fight went or who got in this blow or who got in that blow. It’s they went they fought they died. And such That’s all she says. It’s, I have a feeling, you know, like, like Woodhouse would write his Jeeves and Wooster stuff. He would write out the plot. And it’d be a page long and then he go put all the jokes in. Good enough. You feel almost like Dorothy Johnson wrote a longer story and then chopped out 90% of it.
Scott Hambrick 25:43
Perfect. She’s got a she’s got a good razor. Yet so the mother Hannah, the mother chose another way of buying time. She heard the invaders chopping it whatever they found in the cabin, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Then Then she thrust the baby into Johnny’s arms and said fiercely you take care of him and don’t you let him go until they kill you. She kissed Johnny on the forehead and she kissed the baby twice, because he was so helpless and because he was blessedly not crying. Oh.
Karl Schudt 26:16
So I don’t know if we just want to go through the whole story. But the two daughters end up living with the Indians. And one of them stays with them and one of them gets to go home. I think that’s all interesting. Well, I don’t know what to say me
Scott Hambrick 26:31
read a little chunk here bottom a four top of five. Dorothy tells us about it here in mid century American language. The mother Hannah was taken along by the same route the Indians have taken the girls and the mom. The mother Hannah was taken along by the same round about a mile behind them but she did not know they were still alive. One of them she saw again six years later, the other girl she never saw again. For our she went on stumbling praying Lord and thy mercy make them kill me fast but they did not when they did not she let hope flicker. And when they when they camped that night, she began to ask timidly God, would you help me get away? She had no food that night in the water and Indian had tied her securely. The following day her captors caught up with a larger party carrying much loot in driving three other white women. They were younger than Hannah. That was what saved her. When she was an old woman, bah bah, bah, bah bah, saved her from what?
Karl Schudt 27:31
saved her from death saved her from becoming one of them.
Scott Hambrick 27:36
I figure that they were younger than Hannah. Yeah, yeah. I think this is a Dorothy M. Johnson. Rape euphemism here. Yeah. She did not tell how she could still hear the piercing shrieks of the other women. Even when she was far enough into the woods, so that she that she dared to run. And when she she escaped.
Karl Schudt 27:59
She she gets back. And she finds Johnny Johnny is not that smart. Johnny is is special dole special child. So he has done what he was asked to do. He clutched the baby and saved the baby. You know, Hannah gets married to Lincoln Bartlett. And you read the middle of seven and this killed me. This is this is good stuff. The baby Willie did not live to grow up in spite of the sacrifices that had been made for him. He died of diphtheria. When Link Bartlett dug a little grave. Hannah sat stern dry out on the side bench of cradling the still body in her arms. The dole boy Johnny burst out hoarsely wasn’t no use after all, was it? And his mother understood and she told him strongly. Oh, yes, it was it was worthwhile. All you did. He’s dead now. But he died in my arms with a roof over him. I’ll know where he’s buried. It ain’t as if the Indians had butchered him someplace that I’d never know. And I thought that was just perfect on the value of life, you know? So this Willie’s not even a character in this story. He doesn’t live long enough to be one. Was it worth it that he ever lived? Assuming he was he was real? You know? Is it worth it that all of those babies lived or died? Over 1000s of years? Absolutely. That they die doesn’t change
Scott Hambrick 29:27
that they lived. Yep.
Karl Schudt 29:33
Yeah, that hit me between the eyes. I would have marked it if the the ancient papyrus upon which this was printed could have held a mark. Every time I tried to take a note in this book, it would push through the page.
Scott Hambrick 29:44
I always pretend that’s what would happen if I took notes, so I don’t know. She carried the body across the room and laid it tenderly in the box that had been Willie’s bed and would be his coffin. She turned to her other son and said Johnny come sit in my lap. He was a big boy. 12 years old. Olga was puzzled by this invitation, as he was puzzled about so many things. Always the mother I can’t even read the rest of it.
Karl Schudt 30:14
awkwardly, he sat on her knees and awkwardly he permitted her to cuddle his head against her shoulder. How long since your mother kissed you? She asked. And he mumbled back. Don’t know. She kissed his forehead. You’re my big boy. You’re my Johnny. Honor skipped down. Johnny says it was him that mattered most I guess because, you know, they gave. He was given the child and told you don’t give him up till you’re dead. And I looked down at him shocked. He was my child, and I loved him. She said, It was him I worried about but it was you I trusted. The boy blinked and scowled. His mother bowed her head. I never said so. I thought, you know that. When I gave him to you that day, Johnny Boy, I put more trust in you than I did in the Lord God. That was the thing. He always remembered the time his mother made him understand that for a while, he had been more important than God. That’s some gut punch writing. Yeah, you know, if you let yourself get caught up in the story, which is really what you want, right?
Scott Hambrick 31:10
Yeah. If you don’t want to do that, don’t read it. Go read John Dos Passos, the 42nd parallel, you can’t get caught up in Oh,
Karl Schudt 31:17
I have these silly audible things that I listen to when I’m doing repetitive work. And, you know, they’re fluffy and fine. And they never they never got punchy. If they did, you’d have to stop your work. Although sometimes they do. So we were talking about the list. I want to put a Dean Koontz novel on our list. Speaking of fluff, easy entertainment that hits you really hard. So I have one of those for us in the future.
Scott Hambrick 31:46
Yeah. Theologically suspect, right.
Karl Schudt 31:48
Yeah. Let me dilate on this point for a minute. So the the writers who write in who write for a living you may sneer at them and you may say well, they’re no they’re no JD Salinger who wrote his one important book. And then was silent. The Prophet didn’t speak again. You know, the guys that are putting out three books a year four or five books a year they know how to write you know, all those reacher stories, Jack Reacher stories, at least, namely styles. Lee Child yet they’re well written. I love all that stuff. Because they have to know how to write cuz I gotta sell it. I said this before, if they have good character have a decent metaphysics event, eventually, they’re gonna hit you really hard. They’re gonna write about true things. So there are authors that are really good that do not make anybody’s important list.
Scott Hambrick 32:49
This lady actually makes the list and you don’t know it probably listener, dear listener, she wrote the short story, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, which, you know, a huge important movie was made about were based upon, and then a man called horse which was made into pretty big budget Western and eyeliner like seven year 71. So you’ve heard of her work, she I said, who was on the on the last show. That’s not true. It’s Richard Harris, I think, which is odd, but kind of makes sense. You know, in this story, it’s a first Dumbledore, a Boston dandy that’s abducted by the Indians. So it kind of makes sense that you could put like Richard Harris in there, and it could be an Englishman, you know, adopted, you know, another kind of dandy. He’s not gay, he’s English, you know, abducted by the Indians. Two years later, they find that these girls are still around and they, they seek to ransom them. One of them comes back. One of them chooses not to, which is a something that’s important to understand. I think. If you care about this stuff, you can go out and do a little research about people who were abducted by the North American Aboriginal people. And you’ll see some famous pictures of the young woman in a cotton dress with the tattoos on her face that she had gotten while she was in captivity. You can read these people’s accounts and more often than not, and they were abducted, they didn’t want to come back. And I believe that there are the reasons there are twofold. One shame. And like Dorothy Johnson, I will leave that there and you can fill in all the blanks to to North American farm life homestead life in the 1800s was a no treat. Not that it was a treat for the American, North American Indian. But it was a different kind of thing. It was a more freewheeling thing a less structured thing. I think that you can read these stories. Let me go ahead and make some people mad because it’s just not a show if I don’t. You can read the stories and understand why some people that come to this continent do not assimilate. It’s hard to keep a schedule. It’s hard to quote unquote, act like a lady, or do what you’re supposed to do, or whatever. You know, Dorothy Johnson writes about the duties of these women that would be abducted, or just were just, you know, women of the tribe. Preparing food, tanning hides and so on. Their work was never done, but they weren’t dealing with Hester prim style Puritan bullshit, either. Right? civilization comes with a psychological cost that some people are just not willing to pay.
Karl Schudt 36:03
Well, there’s something else I thought that was put very. I scrolled in an exclamation point next to this one. This is on page 19. So Sarah goes home. Sarah, who had been called Blue Jay was hard to tame. They said in the settlement, her mother fretted over her heathen ways the girl could not even make bread, I can turn hides. I can butcher a buffalo and make pemmican I can pitch TP and pack it on a horse to move. But those skills were not valued in a white woman. And Sarah found the settlement not quite heaven. She missed the constant talk and laughter The close pitch teepees she had to learn a whole new system of polite behavior. There was dickering and trading and bargaining instead of a proud exchanging of fine gifts. A neighbor boy slouching on a bench outside the cabin talking to her stepfather while he got up courage to ask whether Sarah was at home was less flattering as a suitor than young warrior a painted and feathered showing off on a spotted horse. Sometimes Sarah felt she had left heaven behind her. But she never went back to it. But right there, you know, is without telling you what to think. Because Dorothy Johnson doesn’t do that. But there you are with Sarah and Sarah has got to sit in the house and wait for this. This guy to get up the nerve to come and talk to her. When she could have had warriors, you know, riding their horses. You can see both sides, couldn’t you?
Scott Hambrick 37:26
Yeah, nothing’s all good or all bad.
Karl Schudt 37:29
I got some daughters. I mean, if we, if we had some warriors show up here. Give me a horse for the privilege of walking out with them. Well, I don’t know.
Scott Hambrick 37:41
So this is interesting. Dorothy slipping the knife in over and over. So she marries Herman Schwartz, the blacksmith and their first baby was born six months later. Her oldest child was six and our second child was three when the Indian six months. No, no six. Well, no. So this is the third paragraph down on 19 Carl Sara’s oldest child was six and our second child was three when the Indian man appeared at the door of her cabin and stood silent period silently peering in. Get out of here she cried, seizing the broom. He answered in the suit tongue bluejay has forgotten. She gave horse ears a shrill welcome in his own language and the three year old started to cry she lifted a hand for an accustomed slap, but let it fall. Indian mothers do not slap their children. Now, they wrote in here where she got switched for putting something on the family bible. At once at home, she had been switched by her father for putting a dish on the great family Bible. Now, she also learned in the Indian village to not touch you know, medicine and, you know, and to be respectful of things there too. But then at the end, but anyway, women don’t strike your children, you see. And Dorothy just leaves it there.
Karl Schudt 39:03
Yeah, she left another thing I didn’t know if you caught it. That’s what I wanted mentioned when she was 17. She married the blacksmith Herman shorts. And the first baby was born. Not nine months later, six months later. But she doesn’t comment on it. It’s just we’ll just leave that there. That’s a bit of characterization. What kind of girl is Sarah?
Scott Hambrick 39:23
Well, I’ll tell you what she is she gone native? Yeah. I got one of them. Yes, so of course yours comes and he asks, display JS man make much meat is he a man with many honors and war he makes much meat. He has kind of come many times we are rich. I came to found out those things he answered on my Lodge. There was only one woman she understood in her heart leaped with the flattery he travelled far in some danger to find out that all was well with her. If not, there was refuge in his teepee. Not only now she realized but anytime forever. Get out the blacksmith ordered in the Indian Without a word, Herman’s road towards her in silent, awesome blazing fury she did not create and she braced her body against the table. He gave her a blow across the face that rocked her and blinded her. She picked up the heavy iron skillet. Don’t you ever do that again? Or I’ll kill you?
Karl Schudt 40:13
Yeah, and pause right there and you think, oh, things are bad. And this is where we moderns we all this isn’t right. This is, you know, domestic violence or whatever. He glared at her with fierce pride knowing that she meant what she said. I don’t reckon I’ll have to do it again. He said complacently you’ve ever said eyes and that savage again. I’ll kill him. You know that. Don’t you? Damn, squab. talk’s cheap. So there’s ugly, you know, some ugly talk here. Okay, forget that. So she goes back down to the spring. So we have a nice book end to the story. It starts at the spring it ends at the spring. She was singing as she went down to the spring for a bucket of water. She was singing her girlhood was gone, and her freedom was far behind her. She had two crying children and was pregnant again. But two men loved her. And both of them had just proved it. 40 years later, her third child was elected to the state legislature and she went a frightened white haired widow to see him there. She was proud, but never so proud of she had been on a summer day, three months
Scott Hambrick 41:15
before he was born. Throw in those red pills.
Karl Schudt 41:19
You know, when the two men came?
Scott Hambrick 41:23
Take your medicine. Dorothy’s passing out red pills.
Karl Schudt 41:30
With no comments, you know, just laying it out there. And you can think what you like. Yeah, that’s a heck of a story. If I had to teach creative writing, which would be terrible, because I don’t do it very much. All right, teach the story. How
Scott Hambrick 41:42
in the fuck would you write this story? I have no idea how she would even do this. unbeli Unbelievable.
Karl Schudt 41:50
It’s an iceberg story. Okay, so you know, like 90 91% of the iceberg under the water. And so you imagine the whole thing, and then you sink most of it. And then you just write the the bits that appear above the top. You let everybody else figure out the rest. Which I think I think is the way to do it. I’ve read a whole bunch of Walker Percy, and he I don’t think he always does it very well. But he writes about the vocation of the author. And he’s definitely got things he wants to say. I think he and Shelby Foote would argue about this. And Shelby would say, No, you can’t have that. But he probably did too. But you’ve got ideas and thoughts you want to get across, but you can’t let the reader know. Because once they figure it out, they’re being preached that it’s no longer a story. It’s no longer entertainment. And you’re gonna put it down. Or it might be like Handmaid’s Tale and you only read it because it has the message that you think ought to be put forward. And it’s not for its novelistic quality. So dear listener out there, if you’re going to be a writer, this is writing one on one. Whatever it is, you believe, great. Believe it real hard. Thank you, your story, write your story, do not tell your beliefs to your reader, they’ll come through fine in the store out, but you can’t make it happen. Let me argue with that. Go ahead.
Scott Hambrick 43:20
You know, I agree, actually. But if this is an iceberg story, and 90% of it’s below the surface, you have to have the rest of it as the reader, you have to have the rest of it. Most people to read won’t have it. They just they’re not going to have it. We’re gonna read this. And it’s just these terse little sentences. She put more trust in Johnny that day. And she threatened her husband with the skillet lighter, and the boy made it to the legislature, the Midwest and below, it’s going to read like a Dr. Seuss story, a doctor’s, you know, like a children’s book. So this requires a reading public that can do the damn thing. And it’s not just do it. Like you have to have something like you have to be a person, you have to have a personality and a sense of life when you come to it as a reader. I’m bad and good about projecting when I read this books, but I have a life and I bring who I am to the book. So when I read it, it can speak to me because I know what I am. One of these people aren’t anything. So when they read it, there’s nothing there. You know,
Karl Schudt 44:30
well, maybe they aren’t. But the typical modes of entertainment now, don’t leave a lot of room for you to be much. There are certainly people that aren’t going to these books are not for them. But there’s more. You know, that’s like OGB we’re not for everybody. Clearly not, you know. We’d like to be for more. So come on, join us. Maybe you’re one of them. But we’re not for everybody. But we’re far more than think that we’re for them. If that makes any sense. So there you are sitting on your phone, which, which gives you endless entertainment, scrolling through Twitter, watching Netflix, it’s all done for you. Even the visuals are done for you. You don’t even have to use your power of imagination. You don’t have to fill any gaps or the characters. Or even, you know, they just tell you, you can know exactly what Harry Potter is thinking, because rolling tells you rather than just having him be the hero astride the world, and then you have to figure out what he’s thinking. So the sorts of entertainments that you pick, I think, can probably open you up a little bit more your own experiences that will respond to the stories that leave enough gaps for you to fit in there. That’s kind of why I liked all of that. That Bach intellectual music. You know, that album, you hated the Hillary Hanlon?
Scott Hambrick 46:03
No, I didn’t know I didn’t hate it. I just don’t need that.
Karl Schudt 46:06
I like it. I like it when the music is somewhat sparse and geometrical because there’s a lot more room for me in that music. And I love I love the syrupy romantic stuff, too. But there’s not so much room for me in that. Yeah. I don’t know that. That makes any sense at all. Yeah, it does. So that’s flame on the frontier. That is a dynamite first story in this little collection. It’s only 200 pages. I expect when I check out this book, two weeks from now, when this comes out, when I check used copies of this book, I expect them to have all vanished. They’re listening for sure. From you snatching them up.
Scott Hambrick 46:43
The next story, I don’t know. It’s not that great. The unbeliever It’s okay, it’s good believer, but it’s not. It’s not what the first one is. A killer. The unbeliever is about a cynical fellow who had spent time with the Crow Indians and then as a as an elderly fading character, got a job as a scout for the cavalry, and had a very dismissive and cynical view of the spirituality and ways of the Crow Indians though. And he knew them and he knew those ways. Yeah, there’s a twist on the end. It’s, I don’t know, it wasn’t as great. I liked prairie kid.
Karl Schudt 47:27
Huh? Tell me what you liked. Elmer American Elmer America was 11 years old. He marched an outlaw off the Ainsworth place at the point of a gun. There you go, whether you got the plot,
Scott Hambrick 47:40
it’s just the story about a kid who had intuitions and understood the ways of people understood the stakes and understood the world about him and could act and did. I love that so that kind of, you know, if I if I had 11 year old boy, Well, too late for that. If I had an 11 year old grandson, I would hope that he could do this and would figure it out and would bad guy comes as designs essentially on his sister is a sister, mother, no, Charlotte Ainsworth Oh yeah, Miss Charlotte neighbor lady.
Karl Schudt 48:13
Who is lute was courting Charlotte Ainsworth and Elmer considered her fool in a tenderfoot. Yeah. Yeah, loot is his friend, his idol. And this pretty girl comes out and well, what’s the bad guy’s name?
Scott Hambrick 48:29
Oh, my goodness. Where does his name where is it? Where’s it was it? The Outlaws causing the stranger? Mr. Beck Sadler
Karl Schudt 48:37
book Sadler. That’s a good name.
Scott Hambrick 48:41
The boy all he has is an old Civil War era Catherine ball pistol. And the bad man shows up book. And he has designs on this young Eastern woman that’s there in Montana. Armor doesn’t care for that. It’s Captain ball pistol. These old revolvers you typically wouldn’t you’d carry an empty chamber they did not have a safety device that would block the hammer strike. So if you dropped the hammer, or you dropped the weapon on its hammer, it would fire if there was a cartridge under the hammer. Or if you bang the hammer wallets in your holster, it could fire and shoot you in the foot. So people mostly carried five rounds and those well this kid was worried he was his dad left and pretty much said you’re in charge. He loads the pistol up of six rounds. The bad guys their armor doesn’t like it at all. Charlotte’s dumbest pampered Well, she’s green. She doesn’t know what’s going on. She doesn’t know the book is a threat really? Elmer does and armor decides that he needs some help this man go away. The stranger said I can’t have a lady beating my time with this here little girl. I’m gonna give her a present to dug in his pocket, fished around a little and brought out a coin he opened marinas hands close for fingers over the gift tear stain. She stared stared at it. Miss Charlotte said Mr. Santo. You can’t do that. It’s a double eagle. He said with reproach we you wouldn’t want me to take back what I give her which Charlotte? No sir. That’s for the little lady. He looks so smug that number wanted to hit him. And then he said the thing that scared Elmer plenty more where that came from. No. Why Does that scare a double eagle is a one ounce gold coin. It’s over 90% Fine. Then I just looked at the melt value of 1870 Gold eagle is $1,793 He just gave a little girl. Two grand. That’s a nice present. For a few seconds Elmer forgot to breathe. A man might possibly have one gold piece or a couple but if there’s plenty more where that come from? I’m gonna realize he never earned it.
Karl Schudt 50:55
Yeah. And he he’s the only man there because his dad is sick. He’s going to spoiler slope ends up dying. But they’re taking them off to the doctor. Lute. Who is the the gentleman that Miss Charlotte is involved with? Yeah,
Scott Hambrick 51:13
they took they took the dad to Dr.
Karl Schudt 51:16
Elmer has the responsibility to take care of the two women is his sister and the tenderfoot. Charlotte. He doesn’t know anything.
Scott Hambrick 51:26
PAGE 49. And never before had he been able to see so clearly what was in an adult’s mind. The revelations startled him so much for a moment. He was dazed by his own cleverness, and then with desperate coming here cutting, he arrived at the answer to that dismal question, what are you going to do about Farina? Now, he had been worried about what he was going to do about this little girl because she, she’s his little sister. She can’t do anything. She’s a pain in the ass in every respect. And he didn’t he wasn’t sure what he would do if he had to make hard choices like the mom and the dad did in the first story. If his dad dies, what does he do with the girl with his sister? He’s been put in charge. He doesn’t know while he’s starting to figure it out. So he sits down and he says worm I think Steve’s got a worm here I want to unload my gun. This will dirty remarked Buck watched him slit I’d not moving armortek his own sweet time never wants to move quickly. He kept the old cavalry coat carefully pointed at the wall only worked with the casual carefulness of one who would always handle firearms and and not pointed again at anyone since he got his ears box forward at the age of four. Delicately he pried four caps off the nipples and laid them on the table in plain sight. painstakingly he renamed the powder and ball from those five chambers, and but could count if he chose. Buck relaxed enough to come in. Mighty pretty tune you’re playing there girly? Miss Charlotte did not relax at all.
Karl Schudt 53:03
Yeah, if she’s sitting at the melodeon, I can imagine her sitting ramrod tall. Just that’s a good way to get the tension to the scene. So he’s unloaded all five. Because that’s all the five that you would have loaded as a trick to make Buck thinks that he’s defenseless.
Scott Hambrick 53:29
Yep, that he stands up yawning bucks out or demanded where you think you’re going person can go outside, can’t they? He answered with elaborate dignity. Maybe I’m going to hunt rabbits. But grand hunting rabbits was what gentlemen passengers were invited to do when stagecoaches with Lady passengers made a comfort stop. Ladies picked flowers.
Karl Schudt 53:53
Yeah, I’m gonna use that. When we’re driving, we gotta go hunting rabbits.
Scott Hambrick 54:00
powder your nose. You ladies go pick some flowers. He was gone quite a while but comment. It’s a little later. I come back. I’m gonna pointed out your horses down. I’ll get the land. And if you’d like to take a look. There was nothing wrong with that horse is cornered and puzzled. And how could he be cornered by a small boy had just unloaded his gun in plain sight, but sadly relaxed and grant. We’ll be right back. He promised me Charlotte and a little girl can play me another team. So complete with his disdain that he did not even reach up to the pig for his gun belt. Elmer came close to choking because he wanted to draw a deep breath of relief and could not that had been one of the maybes. So
Karl Schudt 54:42
yeah, so a couple of pages before Elmer has figured out he’s got to do some plan and he works it all out. He began to figure if I do this, he’ll do that and maybe he won’t. Well, if I do that, what will he do? How do I get rid of this grown man? This bandit, this Armed Bandit and I’m the only Same guy in the house. He doesn’t think to himself, should I get rid of him? He thinks how is what I tell my kids. That’s what being a grown up is all about. At least the grown up, man is when the shit job comes along. There’s nobody else that’s going to do it. And so you don’t think, well, am I gonna do it? Yep. Just think how am I gonna do it? Mike when that time when the rabbit died in the window, well it’s starting to smell and everyone say, oh, there’s a dead rabbit with flies and maggots in the window. Well, I’m not gonna say, you know, to anybody. I’m not gonna say Melissa, go clean out that rabbit. There’s no hope I’m the only one that’s getting that rabbit out. Which is not as bad as Buck Sadler. But that’s what it is. That’s responsibility. Elmo is a cool character.
Scott Hambrick 55:57
He go out he says, I hate your horses down the hill. And bucks. Like no horse is fine. I’m just like, well, I got I’ll get the land or you can go look and he thinks well, the kid doesn’t have a gun and he’s unloaded the gun. He’s not armed. Whatever. I’ll go. I’ll go look. There’s nothing wrong with that horse the ground nothing. Not a thing. Agreed Elmer he’s all cinched up and ready to travel. Sadler laughed. I ain’t traveling. No, we’re not till I get ready. You’re ready. Now? We’re told him softly in this gun says so. On her sneered. I’ve seen you unload it. You’ve seen me unload five chambers. I got one left. And that’s all it takes. You’re gonna find out for sure.
Checkmate, dummy. Yep, perfect. Perfect.
Karl Schudt 56:49
Yeah. The one mistake the kid makes is he doesn’t have it cocked yet.
Scott Hambrick 56:54
Yep. That’s okay. But
Karl Schudt 56:59
luck didn’t think of that. Single action you have to it won’t fire will it might fire if you drop it, but it won’t fire it until you pull that hammer back. And it’s a big gun and he’s a little guy. Yeah, for me the best part of the story. He’s thinking that he’s gonna get rid of Marina because he can’t take care of her. He doesn’t get rid of her. So as bottom of 54 He’s gonna give money to miss Charlotte to take care of his sister. If you were to take her back east with you, I turn over our stock to your brother and maybe bring enough to pay for raising her. I can earn the rest after I get bigger. And she says the tenderfoot Oh, Elmer I might not go back East. I don’t want to raise out here Elmer cried out frantically Mom always said This ain’t no country for women. It will be Miss Charlotte promised it’s going to be before long. Men like you and Mr. Kimball will make it so this is going to be a good place to live.
Scott Hambrick 58:08
I got to read the rest of it. If I can keep it together. He was not a man anymore. He was 11 years old and had nothing more to do with problems that were too big for him. He had already ran off the bad guy. And now Vereen is taken care of she’s taken the load is gone for me. He put his hands up to his face and began to sob he cried for a long time, and neither loot nor Miss Charlotte said a word or made a move. When he was through loot spoke as if nothing had happened tomorrow he said you can be a kid if you want to. If you haven’t forgotten how you got that coming to you. But tonight I need a partner. Until Dawn Elmer stood in the doorway with his new gun in his hand the peacemaker that had been bucks Adler’s loot proud around farther away with a rifle listening and watching. Nobody came 12 years later, freeing America span her double eagle to buy her wedding clothes.
Number stiff and solemn and a new suit tall and sturdy. The good hand at anything he undertook gave the bride away. Yet almost forgotten how hard he tried to give her enough away once before. Oh my god. That’s a 17 page story.
Karl Schudt 59:26
That’s good story.
Scott Hambrick 59:28
The roller coaster