There should be an impressive mustache. Something like an animal pelt there above the mouth. Majestic. Lush like a walrus. The mustache is the sidekick. The amigo. The drawn gun cocked and quivering above the lip. It bristles like a werewolf when threatened. Threat that pours like hot steel from the eyes.
If you have any decency as a human being, this picture I’m painting for you about facial hair and steely glints should only lead you to one conclusion: Sergio Leone (don’t you dare skip any part of this video).
This is the West as it should be. This is a West filled with sweat like wax on the skin. Sunsets of lava on the silhouettes of Men. Men who can deliver any threat raspy and slow through a constantly burning cigarette. That’s an art form in and of itself, kids.
Before I wander 600 words into the desert on the back of my wild western stallion: historian Earl J. Hess has another shade of West to show you. One also of dust and guns and grit. One also of actual reality. And decidedly less mariachi music, most likely (that’s a shame).
With his new book, The Civil War in the West, writer and history buff, Earl J. Hess brings the Western theater of the Civil War front and center at The Filson Historical Society. With a presentation tonight, Thursday, February 21st, Hess will discuss the battles that stretched from the Appalachians to the Mississippi, recounting true campaigns of wartime tactics, leadership and peril in vast stretches of difficult territory.
Starting at 6pm Hess will examine both the Union and Confederate sides of war, exploring the geography of the land, as well as the use of manpower, resources and smarts that ultimately gave victory to the Federal troops. Hess, the current Stewart W. McClelland Chair in History at Lincoln Memorial University, is the author of several books discussing the Civil War, including In the Trenches at Petersburg: Field Fortifications and Confederate Defeat and Pickett’s Charge: The Last Attack at Gettysburg.
Stop by The Filson tonight for a free look at how the West was really won – odds are it was also good, bad and ugly.
The Filson Historical Society is located 1310 S Third Street. For more information call (502) 635-5083. This event is free, but reservations are totally a thing.
Image: Courtesy of Amazon www.amazon.com