Discussion Outlaw Josey Wales: Who knew? The real Ten Bears...

Lubliner

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I always enjoy the discussion of Civil War movies at CWT and like a lot of you I have a real fondness for the Outlaw Josey Wales, the fictional story of a Confederae soldier who loses everything in the War, and then looks west to fnd a new life.

I never looked for historical versimilitude in the movie because, well, that's not the point. I was surprosed then to learn last week that the movie character of Ten Bears, the Comanche chief who makes peace with Josey, was a real historical figure. My son recommended the book The Comanche Empire and I started reading last week. Turns out Ten Bears was an important Comanche leader during the Civil War and that there is even an extensive documentary record of his life.

View attachment 367573

The movie scene with Ten Bears is, of course, fictional, but the man had an interesting, if tragic, life. His efforts to maintain Comanche freedom and independence were ultimately doomed to failure but he had some successes before his death in 1872.

Since this is a CWT thread, it must be mentioned that the Comanche were guilty of enslaving other human beings, although they never attempted to build a society based on the mass enslavement of Africans. I haven't found any part of the book that talks about whether Ten Bears owned slaves, or not.
If you can find a book about Qannah Parker it is an interesting life, preceding Ten Bears. The Parkers were waylaid by two tribes, one was Comanche that took Qannah as a young boy and the other tribe took his sister Cynthia. They killed about 4 to 8 members of their immediate family. Their history is written.
Lubliner.
 

7thWisconsin

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
I can totally sympathise with your view point but I wonder if there’s another way to look at the Asa Carter legacy.
Asa Carter obviously held with values and was also responsible for things that are completely abhorrent but I think it’s important to remember that he was born in the 1920’s when race riots, lynchings and shootings were at their worst, he was a product of his time and from the little that I’ve read about him he was indoctrinated into racist ideology at a very young age, of course it’s obvious to all that he chose his own path when he decided to promote his racist ideology and he has to be held accountable for the crimes committed by his followers but just as we do with the CW especially when we attempt to put things like slavery into historical context maybe we should do the same with people like Asa Carter.
It’s not about making excuses for his behaviour or even trying to bury the past but just an attempt to look at things/people within historical context. It really helps me to gain a different perspective. I now know things about the author of Josey Wales that I didn’t know this morning, perhaps I’m wrong but I’ve managed to separate Asa Carter’s values/ behaviour from his writing which is important to me because when I watch the movie Josey Wales I just want to enjoy it for what it is.

with deepest respect (Waterloo50)
I don't want to highjack the thread into an Asa Carter conversation, but I appreciate your position. Some people like to separate "Asa" Carter the speech writer from "Forrest Carter" the western author, pointing out that his fiction has a number of sympathetic Native American characters. I can see that point. "Little Tree" almost seems like an atonement (and it is a beautifully written book). Carter's hard life, alcoholism and early death didn't give him a chance to evolve and mature as a writer, which is a shame. "Gone to Texas," though, is one of the best westerns I've ever read. Grim, accurate, atmospheric, very vivid, a great compliment to the movie. I'm not as fond of "The Vengeance Trail of Josey Wales" because it is shockingly over-the-top violent. Then there's "Little Tree;" I wanted to build a still after reading that.
 

Hoseman

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Oct 20, 2016
Location
Virginia
I always enjoy the discussion of Civil War movies at CWT and like a lot of you I have a real fondness for the Outlaw Josey Wales, the fictional story of a Confederae soldier who loses everything in the War, and then looks west to fnd a new life.

I never looked for historical versimilitude in the movie because, well, that's not the point. I was surprosed then to learn last week that the movie character of Ten Bears, the Comanche chief who makes peace with Josey, was a real historical figure. My son recommended the book The Comanche Empire and I started reading last week. Turns out Ten Bears was an important Comanche leader during the Civil War and that there is even an extensive documentary record of his life.

View attachment 367573

The movie scene with Ten Bears is, of course, fictional, but the man had an interesting, if tragic, life. His efforts to maintain Comanche freedom and independence were ultimately doomed to failure but he had some successes before his death in 1872.

Since this is a CWT thread, it must be mentioned that the Comanche were guilty of enslaving other human beings, although they never attempted to build a society based on the mass enslavement of Africans. I haven't found any part of the book that talks about whether Ten Bears owned slaves, or not.
The Outlaw Josey Wales has always been one of my favorite movies and it is interesting to know about Ten Bears. The comanches were some really, really bad dudes. They seemed to be able to impose their will against other indian tribes any time and at any place. They made the apaches seem like girl scouts in comparison.

The author SC Gwynne wrote an excellent book called Empire of the Summer Moon about the comanche Indians and it is excellent and I highly recommend reading it to fully understand the history of this tribe. Gwynne also wrote a book about Stonewall Jackson which is my favorite book about the general and it is named Rebel Yell. Gwynne is a great author and his writing style makes it hard to put his books down.
 

dgfred

Private
Joined
Apr 13, 2020
Well, Mr. Carpetbagger. We got somethin' in this territory called the Missouri boat ride.

We'll do without molasses. Anything from Missouri has a taint about it.

Haha
 

Valen

Private
Joined
Jul 25, 2020
They say that....as I don't see really how, as Stand Watie was an active participant the whole war, and highest ranking indian of either side with a field command.


Off topic, but for a really interesting look at the Cherokee involvement in the ACW (including Watie), I recommend "Blood Moon" by John Sedgwick (not the general).
 

Boonslick

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The Boonslick area of Central Missouri
I'm a big fan of westerns, I have watched Josey Wales many times as Eastwood is one of my favorite actors.
I wish there were more westerns made today.

I too am an aficionado of western movies. The best western film that I have seen lately is "The Ballad of Lefty Brown. In fact I liked it so much that I purchased a copy and added it to my collection of classic westerns. Watch it- you wont be disappointed.

1595948223382.png
 

damYankee

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Aug 12, 2011
I too am an aficionado of western movies. The best western film that I have seen lately is "The Ballad of Lefty Brown. In fact I liked it so much that I purchased a copy and added it to my collection of classic westerns. Watch it- you wont be disappointed.

View attachment 367702
We watched it, and I agree it is one of the better westerns I've seen in a long time!
 

dgfred

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Apr 13, 2020
Me too. When young I use to break the cardboard things on clothes hangers to make my cigars... then I had a poncho and my holster/guns of course. Swore I was 'the Good'.
 

lupaglupa

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Apr 18, 2019
Fiction is just that, simply for ones entertainment.........I didn't really get what a bio on him added or takes away from one of the best westerns of all time..........I still enjoy it the exact same........

Dont know much about Charles Portis either, but whatever someone digs up isnt going to take away from True Grit for me either.
Funny, I read an article just recently about Portis and what a lovely person he was!
 

Waterloo50

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England
I too am an aficionado of western movies. The best western film that I have seen lately is "The Ballad of Lefty Brown. In fact I liked it so much that I purchased a copy and added it to my collection of classic westerns. Watch it- you wont be disappointed.

View attachment 367702
I was wondering if you could start a thread in campfire chat where you and others could recommend good western movies and perhaps some good books etc. I think a lot of people would appreciate it, I know that I’d appreciate it.
 
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David Foster

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Aug 3, 2013
Asa Carter portrayed the main character Josey Wales as a victim and may have saw himself as a victim. However, the historical reality is Asa Carter was a victimizer and served time in prison for his actions until pardoned.
 

Bruce Vail

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Joined
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Asa Carter portrayed the main character Josey Wales as a victim and may have saw himself as a victim. However, the historical reality is Asa Carter was a victimizer and served time in prison for his actions until pardoned.

Yes, the politics of Josey Wales is that the Southern everyman was the victim of Northern rapacity and hypocrisy. Like a lot of Lost Cause narrative, it simply ignores the cruelty and greed of the Southern elite (slaveowning planter class) as a cause, or contributing cause, for the War and all the pain inflicted on the Southern everyman.

Outlaw Josey Wales is a good example of why one doesn't want to look too closely at the politics of most Hollywood entertainment products. It spoils the fun of moviegoing.
 
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96Ohio

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Valdosta, GA
Asa Earl Carter the author of the book was a member of the KKK and a speech writer for Gov. George Wallace.
He was one of the KKK group that attacked and beat Nat King Cole on stage in Birmingham Ala. in 1956. After shooting two of the co-founders of the local KKK group he was a member of over finances.
George Wallace granted his a pardon in 1963. The original name of Outlaw Josie Wales was Rebel Outlaw,
in 1970 he ran for gov. of Alabama on the white supremacist party.
His nom d'plume: Forrest Carter
 

dgfred

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Yes, the politics of Josey Wales is that the Southern everyman was the victim of Northern rapacity and hypocrisy. Like a lot of Lost Cause narrative, it simply ignores the cruelty and greed of the Southern elite (slaveowning planter class) as a cause, or contributing cause, for the War and all the pain inflicted on the Southern everyman.

Outlaw Josey Wales is a good example of why one doesn't want to look too closely at the politics of most Hollywood entertainment products. It spoils the fun of moviegoing.

It wasn't so much the 'Northern' stuff... mostly focused on the 'Redlegs' as the problem.
 

Irishtom29

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Kent, Washington
The comanches were some really, really bad dudes. They seemed to be able to impose their will against other indian tribes any time and at any place.

Not really. As Southern Cheyenne migrated south into Comancheria the Comanche made an accommodation with them and in the early 1870s some Cheyenne were living as far south as the Texas panhandle.

The Comanche were also unable to intimidate Indians from the Midwest who were removed to Indian Territory and took up hunting on the Plains--Shawnees, Delawares, Miamis and such. The Comanches suffered several bloody noses in fights with the well armed and warlike Midwestern Indians and reached an accommodation with them and often traded with them. The Shawnees and Delawares also acted as the middlemen in a racket in which the Comanches would steal Texans and sell them to the Shawnees and Delawares who would then return them to Texas and collect a rescue payment from the state.
 

Hoseman

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Not really. As Southern Cheyenne migrated south into Comancheria the Comanche made an accommodation with them and in the early 1870s some Cheyenne were living as far south as the Texas panhandle.

The Comanche were also unable to intimidate Indians from the Midwest who were removed to Indian Territory and took up hunting on the Plains--Shawnees, Delawares, Miamis and such. The Comanches suffered several bloody noses in fights with the well armed and warlike Midwestern Indians and reached an accommodation with them and often traded with them. The Shawnees and Delawares also acted as the middlemen in a racket in which the Comanches would steal Texans and sell them to the Shawnees and Delawares who would then return them to Texas and collect a rescue payment from the state.
All I can say is read the book Empire of the Summer Moon and you may change your mind. It took 50 years and the introduction of the Colt revolver for the US cavalry to be able to finally beat them. From the book, it said that the Comanches traveled just about anywhere they wanted without regard to other tribes and moved from Texas up into the plains and as far west as Colorado. I am talking about historically over hundreds and hundreds of years. By the 1870's just about all the Indians had been either pushed out of their normal territories or defeated.
 
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