Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Types and techniques of folk construction are attributed to origins else-
where in the United States, Europe, or Africa. Even the implementa-
tion of the long-lot survey is alleged to have resulted from French influ-
ence, and a particular courthouse square is said to have been used
earlier in Tennessee. One is left wondering whether Texans were inca-
pable of any innovations.
This readable book would make an ideal text in a geography course
on Texas. The authors, however, should have included a chapter on the
state's growing recreation and tourism industry. Notwithstanding this
omission, every public secondary school and university library should
add this book to its reference section.
Bowling Green State University ALVAR W. CARLSON
The Reel West: Classic Stories That Inspired Classic Films. Edited by Bill
Pronzini and Martin H. Greenberg. (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday
& Company, Inc., 1984. Pp. ix+ 177. Introduction. $11.95.)
This book reprints ten short stories that served as the sources for ten
"classic films," as the subtitle puts it. The idea of bringing these stories
together in one convenient volume is sound enough, but the notion
that all of the films made from them are classics is nothing more than
commercial hype. In fact, only three of these films could be called clas-
sics: Fort Apache, High Noon, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. A
couple of others are solid films: Three-Ten to Yuma and Tribute to a Bad
Man. But several others are simply routine works at best. For example,
Tennessee's Partner, a Ronald Reagan vehicle, is strictly B quality.
Admittedly, the editors faced probably unresolvable difficulties. It
is simply not possible to put together a volume of classic stories and
classic films. Westerns have been made from novels, from original
screenplays, from historical sources, and, indeed, from short stories.
But not enough Westerns have been adapted from short stories to find
ten "classics." As literature, the collection is of mixed quality as well.
The first three stories are predictable choices, and yet the movies made
of them all fall short of the mark: Bret Harte's "Tennessee's Partner,"
Stephen Crane's "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky," and O. Henry's "A
Double-Dyed Deceiver" (filmed as The Texan, 1930).
One of the most valuable stories to have back in print is James
Warner Bellah's Kiplingesque "Massacre," from which Fort Apache was
adapted. This story can be used by the critic to explicate the famous
ambiguous ending of the film wherein Kirby York (John Wayne) seems
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117151/. Accessed May 21, 2013.