Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Horses, Skies, and Poetry and Cowboys?

 Post by Doris McCraw

writing as Angela Raines

Photo by the Author

April 26, 2022, is National Help a Horse Day. the week is Sky Awareness Week, and April is National Poetry Month.

Cowboy and horse, setting a course by the stars. The lone rider wandering the mountains or desert. Who hasn't read or imagined themselves as that rider?  

Those movies and television shows some of us grew up with sparked an idea. For this post, I thought I post some famous horses and the actor(s) who rode them. But I just can't make it easy. See if you can match the actor and horse. (Answers will be at the end.)


1. Lightning                 A. Roy Rogers

2. Silver                       B. Gene Autry

3. Champion                C. Tim Holt

4. Tarzan                      D. Andy Devine

5. Trigger                     E. Ken Maynard

6. Joker                        F. Bob Steele

7. Brownie                   G. Buck Jones

8. Thunder                   H. Wild Bill Elliott

TV Shows

1. Topper                      A. John Smith

2. Razor                        B. Clint Walker

3. Diablo                       C. Dickie Jones

4. Little Buck                D. Guy Madison

5. Lucky                        E. Chuck Connor

6. Buckshot                    F. William Boyd

7. Brandy                       G. Robert Horton     

8. Alamo                        H. Duncan Renaldo

I can't let National Poetry Month go by without sharing a poem. Although both Charles Badger Clark and James W. Whilt were born before 1900 and wrote about Cowboys and the West, the chosen poem doesn't have an author.

A Prairie Song - Anonymous

Oh, music springs under the galloping hoofs,
Out on the plains;
Where mile after mile drops behind with a smile,
And to-morrow seems always to tempt and beguile,—
Out on the plains.

Oh, where are the traces of yesterday's ride?
There to the north;
Where alfalfa and sage sigh themselves into sleep,
Where the buttes loom up suddenly, startling and steep,—
There to the north.

Oh, rest not my pony, there's youth in my heart,
Out on the plains;
And the wind sings a wild song to rob me of care,
And there's room here to live and to love and to dare,—
Out on the plains.

For those who'd like to read more:



Charles Badger Clark

James W. Whilt


Until next time, Happy Reading and Writing: Doris McCraw

Answers: Movies: 1-C, 2-G, 3-B, 4-E, 5-A, 6-D, 7-F, 8-H 

                TV Shows: 1-F, 2-E, 3-H, 4-G , 5-C, 6-D, 7-B, 8-A

Monday, April 25, 2022

This Plane Went Down in the Pacific…

And someone you know was on board.

Douglas A-1 Skyraider (AD-4NA, 126965)


You may wonder at first why this post is included on a Western-themed blog. But bear with me. All will be made clear by the time you finish this story.

Sampson wasn’t his real name. It was a nickname affectionately given to him by the nurses at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital where he was born in 1930. Weighing over eleven pounds when he was born, the name seemed appropriate. By the time he was eighteen years old, Sampson stood an imposing six-feet, four-inches tall.

As a young boy, he was a bit of a disciplinary problem. He was held back in middle school because of his poor academic performance, and it’s not even known if he graduated from high school.

Sampson had just turned twenty, a couple of months earlier, when the Korean War started in June of 1950, and it wasn’t long before he was called up in the draft and on his way to Fort Ord east of Monterey, California for basic training. However, after basic training, rather than being shipped overseas as part of a combat unit, Sampson was assigned lifeguard duties at the base pool in Fort Ord where he remained throughout his time in the military. Sampson was a good swimmer and enjoyed his duties as a lifeguard. He would spend his days at the base pool, then he would work as a bouncer in a local bar at night to make some extra cash.

After about a year at Fort Ord, Sampson took some leave to visit his girlfriend in Seattle. Military personnel could travel on any military flight free of charge if they could find one that was headed where they were going. So, finding a plane leaving Fort Ord and heading to Seattle, Sampson secured a seat as a passenger.

After spending a few days with his girlfriend, he had to start making arrangements to get back to Fort Ord, but the only military flight that was leaving the Seattle airport for Fort Ord was a WWII model Douglas AD Skyraider. The Skyraider was a fighter-bomber that was in popular use at the time. The only problem was that it was a single-seat aircraft that was only meant to be occupied by the pilot.

Sampson begged and pleaded with the pilot, a man named Anderson, to let him stow away in the radar compartment of the plane, saying that he didn’t have enough money for a commercial flight and that if he didn’t return to Fort Ord by morning, he would be AWOL. The pilot took pity on him and agreed to let him ride in the radar compartment – if he could fit. It was a small space that wasn’t meant to be occupied by anyone, especially someone as tall as Sampson.

The only opening to the radar compartment was through a hatch on the outside of the plane, so Anderson opened the hatch to let Sampson crawl inside. The pilot closed the hatch while Sampson settled in. It was a tight fit and it would be an uncomfortable ride, especially if they ran into any turbulence along the way, but Sampson said he would be fine and thanked Anderson for the ride back to Fort Ord.

It was during take-off that things started going wrong. Just as the plane was gaining speed to lift off the runway, the hatch to the radar compartment flew open. Sampson tried to reach out of the plane to get a good enough grip on the door to pull it closed, but the wind was so strong, that it pinned the door against the fuselage. Try as he might, he was unable to get the door closed, so he retreated as far back as he could into the little compartment, away from the door. Sampson wasn’t really worried about falling out of the plane, although that was a distinct possibility. There was a much greater concern that had his attention. Because the radar compartment wasn’t meant to carry any people, there was no radio and therefore, no way to contact the pilot. Sampson knew that at their cruising altitude the oxygen would be thin and not able to support him. Normally, when they reach their cruising altitude, the pilot switches on the oxygen pumps which supply oxygen to the rest of the plane, including the radar compartment where Sampson was. But with the hatch stuck open, all of the oxygen would be sucked right out of the plane and he would suffocate.

At some point during the trip, the pilot, Anderson made a chilling discovery. An error had been made during refueling and they didn’t have enough fuel to make it to Fort Ord. Nor did they have enough fuel to return to Seattle. To make matters even worse, Anderson discovered that the oxygen supply had failed. He immediately dropped the plane to a lower altitude so there was sufficient oxygen. At least that problem was solved. He then attempted to radio any nearby airports where he could make an emergency landing. But things had gone from bad to worse because he discovered that the radio wasn’t working. As the plane’s engines started to sputter out of fuel, he knew that they were going to crash into the Pacific.

In the meantime, Sampson had passed out in the radar compartment when he ran out of oxygen, but he regained consciousness moments later when Anderson dropped the plane to a lower altitude. He woke up in time to hear the plane’s engines go silent and realized that they were going down. He braced himself for impact.

As the plane hit the water, it jerked to a sudden stop. The icy waters of the Pacific started pouring into the open hatch of the compartment where Sampson was tucked away. He tried making his way out of the hatch, but the water rushing in had too much force to fight against, so he had to wait until the compartment had filled with water before he could make his way out and then up to the surface.

As Sampson’s head pushed above the surface, he looked toward the front of the plane and saw Anderson crawling out of the cockpit. Together, the two men were able to pull two life rafts out of the plane before it sunk out of sight. Although the water was very choppy, both men were able to make it into their life raft.

They took stock of their situation. Anderson believed that they had gone down no more than two miles off the coast of Point Reyes, California. There was a thick fog that obstructed their vision so that they couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of the life rafts, and it had gotten dark out, which made it even worse. Fortunately, Anderson had a compass, so he got their bearings, pointed toward the east, and the two men began paddling their rafts toward where they hopped the shore would be.

Before long, the fog got thicker and the waves grew higher. Suddenly, a huge wave capsized the raft that Sampson was in, throwing him into the icy waters. He tried to grab for the raft, but the current quickly carried it out of his reach. When Anderson saw what happened, he tried frantically to paddle his raft to aid Sampson, but the waves easily tossed his raft around and carried him away until Sampson was lost in the fog and darkness.

When Sampson saw Anderson disappear in the fog, he felt a moment of helplessness and despair. But he wasn’t about to give up. He knew that he was a good swimmer and that the shore was somewhere between one and two miles to the east. But which direction was east? He couldn’t see more than a few feet in any direction, and Anderson was the one with the compass. Sampson was also aware that these waters were known breeding grounds for Great White Sharks. Finally, Sampson picked a direction and began to swim, knowing that he could die of hypothermia, be pulled under and drown, or be attacked by sharks before he reached shore – IF he was even headed in the right direction.

After what seemed like at least an hour of swimming, Sampson’s arms ached and his chest hurt from the exertion of swimming through such choppy waters. He had been pulled under several times and had fought to regain the surface, gagging on the saltwater he swallowed in the process.

Then the fog began to lift. Off in the distance, Sampson saw what appeared to be lights. With renewed vigor, he made his way towards the lights. His arms and legs were like rubber, and by the time he felt sand underneath him and crawled out of the ocean onto the shore, he was completely exhausted. He lay there, face down in the sand with the waves washing over him for some time. He was too weak to walk, so he crawled toward the nearest light, vomiting up seawater several times as he got closer.

It had taken Sampson forty-five minutes to crawl from the beech to the source of the light, which turned out to be coming through the window of a building that happened to be a radio station on Point Reyes. With the last of his strength, Sampson crawled up the stairs and banged on the door.

The employee of the radio station opened the door to find the body of a man dressed in a soldier’s uniform, soaking wet and passed out on the stairs. He dragged the man inside to find that he was only half-conscious. He was hypothermic and shivering uncontrollably. The man wasn’t able to talk, but it was obvious to the station employee that he had gone through something terrible and that he needed medical attention. There was a coast guard station only a couple of miles away, so the employee gave them a call and within a few minutes, the coast guard arrived to take Sampson back to their station where medical treatment was available.

At the coast guard station, Sampson was also eventually reunited with Anderson, who had made it to shore in his raft.

A lot of things went wrong on that flight for Sampson; the mistake with the fuel, the radio going out, the oxygen quitting and eventually having to ditch the plane in the Pacific, being capsized, and losing his raft with no directions and in shark-infested waters. But there were a lot of things that went in his favor as well. If the hatch had not been stuck open, he may not have been able to open it by himself once the plane had crashed into the frigid ocean. After all of the directions that he could have chosen to swim toward, he chose the one direction that brought him safely to shore. He could have drowned or been eaten by sharks before he made it to shore, or he could have made it to a deserted section of the beech where he would have died of exposure before being found.

We don’t know if Sampson ever counted his blessings when considering that night. We don’t know if he ever felt some sense of purpose or destiny that wouldn’t allow him to be taken before his work was done. But it’s for certain that he still had much to accomplish.

He completed his military service at Fort Ord, remaining the lifeguard at the base pool until the end of the war. Then, he wound up in Hollywood. Over the next sixty-five years, Sampson would have one of the most successful careers in show business, winning multiple awards as an actor, director, and producer. He contributed, in those capacities, to over fifty films, including over twenty Westerns. His films have won a total of thirteen Academy Awards and eight Golden Globes.

Because he still had work to do; because he wasn’t destined to sink to the bottom of the Pacific back in 1951, we all have been able to enjoy the brilliant talents of Clint “Sampson” Eastwood.

Mike is an award-winning Western author currently living in a 600-square-foot cabin in the mountains of Western Montana. He has been married to his redheaded sweetheart, Tami, since 1989. He is a Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award Finalist three years in a row and his short stories have been published in numerous anthologies and are available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online retailers as well as brick and mortar bookstores. His first Western novel, The Sons of Philo Gaines, was released in November of 2020. It was a Peacemaker Award Finalist in two categories and won the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Western Fiction. It is available everywhere books are sold. Mike is a member of Western Writers of America and Western Fictioneers. You can find him on Facebook at MichaelRRittAuthor, or on his website at MichaelRRitt.com.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Bonesetters and Doctors


      Aloes, frankincense, dragon’s blood, myrrh, sarcocolla, egg white and hair of hare, excluding myrrh.  Ibn al-Quff (1233–1286 AD)’s    (to help cure a broken bone)                        


Bonesetters and Doctors

                                                      By Julie Hanks, Ph.D aka Jesse J Elliot

             Before the practice of medicine became licensed and regulated, many 19th Century citizens had to rely on traditional health practitioners such as midwives, bonesetters, barbers, and blacksmiths. Though some of these providers were charlatans, most of the health care practitioners such as bonesetters and midwives were trained or apprenticed to those who knew and understood their field of medicine. A traditional bonesetter is a lay practitioner of joint manipulation. He or she is a practitioner who takes up the practice of healing without having had any formal training in accepted medical procedures. Whereas, physicians work to maintain, promote, and restore health by studying, diagnosing, and treating injuries and diseases

            Bonesetters traditionally passed their knowledge from father to son, sometimes daughters. They were the forerunners of orthopedic doctors and chiropractors. One family in early New England that practiced bonesetting was so effective, that it was written up in 1954 (Bulletin of the History of Medicine © 1954 The Johns Hopkins University Press), the “Bonesetting Sweets.”            Bonesetters relied on touch to determine the prognosis or extent of the damage. They would run their hands over the damaged area and determine how to manipulate the bones. Shoulders, knees, elbows, hips, etc. were diagnosed through touch and then pushed, pulled, placed, or manipulated.

            Bonesetting is nothing new as can be verified by the discovery of healed bones in prehistoric man. Bonesetters were adept at fixing bone fractures just by feeling the fracture and then assuring that the bone was reset and made stationary and immobile until healed. The broken limb could be pulled if necessary (traction) to enable the proper healing. That this practice continues through today is a good indication of its medical value.

            Some wonderful articles have been written on bone manipulation in the Paleolithic eras. One is by Peter A. Huijbregts PT, MSc, MHSc, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT, FCAMT, in Pain Procedures in Clinical Practice (Third Edition), 2011.  Many of the bones in this period were set and healed completely—by touch. These discoveries are not just European finds, but can be found all over the world. Not only were bones set and healed, but in the Mayan ruins in Oaxca, medical schools for brain surgery were found. And in Asia and Africa, bonesetters date back to prehistory as well.


            By the 19th Century, trained doctors knew most of the names and functions of bones, muscles, nerves, etc. They were knowledgeable about the need to set the bone correctly, use traction if necessary, and immobilize the break until it healed. They were able to set a broken arm or leg, and often it healed. The problem remained, however, for compound fractures—infections.

            In the Civil War, doctors working on and off the battle fields were faced with the dilemma of mass infection in the soldiers whose bones were shattered or so badly fractured, that the inevitability of death by infection, gangrene, or blood poisoning forced the doctors to amputate. Some patients were fortunate enough to be sedated by morphine or ether, but that was not always the case, and instead of nurses handing doctors sterilized instruments as they do today, these nurses (most often males) were there to hold down the unfortunate patients.

            If the patient was lucky enough to have a simple fracture, the doctor would feel and set (or pull if necessary) the bone into place. Bedding or wood was wrapped around the wound and held together with ropes/ties with sticks holding the appendage immobile. Interestingly enough, though plaster of Paris (gypsum) was used in Europe in the early 1800s, it wasn’t used during the Civil War. However, by 1870, it was used regularly when available throughout the United States.

            If one had a broken bone and was away from medical care, the broken appendage was set and placed in a box frame of clay that would harden and be left on until the bone healed. If the wound was a simple fracture, this did the job though the patient was stuck with a heavy burden to wield. However, if not set correctly or the bone was broken in several places, the patient could die or end up a cripple with ongoing pain.

            Several years ago, I began having excruciating pain down my left side. I was diagnosed with sciatica by my primary physician, and it was confirmed when my ex-ray identified a slipped disc. I was given a set of exercises and pain pills. The problem became bearable, and it only came on sporadically.  Now, sciatica has come to stay. I am unable to walk any long distance or traverse any hills—up or down.  My neighbor recommended his chiropractor who does diagnosis and treatment “by feel.” Those bonesetters knew their business all right.

Wish me luck—I go there next Thursday.










Sunday, April 10, 2022

'Zeke' Ziemann: A Love For the Old West

 It has taken me some time to get back into the swing of the interviews.  I apologize in advance to 'Zeke' for the delay. Much like the cowboys we all love, here is a man of few words. Instead, he uses them in the stories he tells. 

From the author's Amazon Author Page

* What decided you to start writing for publication

                My love of Old West History

Do you like to write short or longer stories?

               I prefer short stories 

* Do you write for the market or yourself? 


What life experiences influenced your writing?  

                I have loved Western Movies since my youth


Where did you get the idea for your latest release? 

                Doing research on the history of cattle drives. 

                Title:  Alex, Hank, and Hawk, Cowboys, Gunmen and Road Agents

* Is there a writing routine you follow or do you write when the muse strikes?  

                Most often I write in the evening after my wife is in bed and I am in my office with my dog Duke.

* Is there anything else you feel people would like to know or would be surprised to learn about you?  

                I am a retired mathematics teacher and basketball coach, then a financial planner, and finally the Compliance Supervisor for the Wall Street Firm of an Arizona Office

* Do you write in other genres? 

                Not yet, considering “Baseball history”

Research, do you find it important? 

                Absolutely  I am fussy about the correct historical setting for my stories.

What advice would you give to those who dream of writing, or what advice would you give your younger self? 

                Just START.  Start when you get “That Feeling that someone will enjoy your story,"                  Elmore Leonard. my favorite writer

Have you considered writing a series, either by yourself or with a group?

                 Yes, I am now in the process. of writing a sequel to my book Alex, Hank, and Hawk, Cowboys Gunmen and Road Agents.

Thank you for the insight into your writing life. Wishing you the best with the new series.  For more information about 'Zeke', below are some additional links.

Amazon Author Page

A.L. Shane Books - Amazon

Thursday, April 7, 2022

On This Day in the Old West: April 8

Today, the milkman cometh … with glass bottles! On April 8, 1879, glass bottles were first used for milk delivery in New York City. It took a while for them to catch on but catch on they did, and the rest is history.


Until this time, people carried their milk in whatever containers they had handy: buckets of all sorts (and of all levels of cleanliness), repurposed jam jars, and even recycled kegs. Milk delivery was hardly a sanitary industry and it’s little wonder disease was rampant in those days. However, in 1979, Echo Farms Dairy in Litchfield, Connecticut first introduced their purpose-made glass milk bottles to New York City customers. Other dairies waited to see how much breakage Echo Farms would incur before they jumped on the bandwagon, and some customers didn’t care for the drugstore-look of the bottles. But the new method of delivery eventually caught on. By the early part of the 20th Century, some cities even required milk to be delivered in the new-fangled glass containers.


The new bottles were not only cleaner than the odd pail or bucket, they looked better as well. Many had the name of the dairy embossed into the glass. They came in many shapes, too, including models with stoppers on wire loops, like the types of bottles still used today by European and specialty breweries.


Since milk has such a short shelf life, consumers used up their allotment quickly and returned the bottles whenever they went into town—or whenever the milk truck next came by their house. The average milk bottle made 22.5 round trips in the early 1900s before being broken, lost, or used for other purposes by the consumer. This loss of bottles, as well as the expense of returning them to the factory for washing and sterilization, eventually led to the downfall of the glass bottle.


Milk producers and consumers alike were also concerned about the cleanliness of carrying unwashed, empty bottles in the same space as the supposedly clean, full bottle. And the milkman was no help. If you wanted a pint, he’d just pour out half of a quart bottle into an empty—and not-yet-washed! —bottle to fill your order. Or combine two pints in the same way. 


All these concerns led to the development of the single-use container. The first wax containers appeared in the 1890s. They came in various shapes, from cylinders to truncated pyramids to cones—even some that mimicked the look of the original glass bottles. The shape that eventually won out in the 1940s was the rectangular column, with a flat top and a small, round pull-up cap. These took up little space in a milk truck, being lightweight, compact, and uniform in shape. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the flat-topped containers were replaced with a gable top, which opened into a spout for easy pouring, a design that had actually been patented in 1915.


Your characters may or may not have had milk delivery, depending on how far out on the frontier they lived, but by the end of the century they’d have encountered a glass milk bottle or two, even if it had been co-opted for some other use. Just keep in mind that before this date in 1879, they’d have carried their milk home in a pail or bucket, not a bottle.


J.E.S. Hays




Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Hand-Me-Down Family Recipe - Dutch Babies (Puff Pancakes) by Kaye Spencer #recipes #westernfictioneers

My mom and I have been going through her recipes. We’ve talked about who in the family made this or that. Apparently, my great aunt Orba made a spectacular white cake. (I don't remember her cake.) My maternal grandpa’s fried frog legs were a summer treat (I remember these.) Some of my mom’s recipes I remember fondly. Others still make me cringe (her meatloaf...with nutmeg...)

Breakfast isn’t my favorite meal of the day – it comes too early in the morning – but I do love ‘breakfast’ food any time of the day. One of my mom’s recipes I’ve always liked is Dutch Babies aka Puff Pancakes. She remembers them as a staple for breakfast when she was little (born 1933). She assumes her mom made them for her older siblings, so the recipe is older than the “c. 1930” date I put on the recipe.

Anyway, Dutch Babies have few ingredients, are easy to make, and don’t take long to bake. 

My kind of cooking.

Dutch Babies (Puff Pancakes) c. 1930

*Bake at 400° for 25 minutes.
*Recipe fills one pie plate (pan)
*Serve with syrup, sprinkle with powdered sugar, or sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar


2 eggs
½ cup flour
½ cup milk
¼ tsp. salt

2 tblsp. Butter


*Melt butter in pie plate – Pie plate MUST be hot – Put plate in oven while you mix the batter
*Beat the eggs
*Add flour, salt, & milk – Mix Well
*Pour batter into hot pie plate
*Bake until lightly browned and puffed – edges tend to be darker brown

Until next time,
Kaye Spencer

writing through history one romance upon a time