The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958 Page: 320
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Another valuable contribution is that in Mody C. Boatright's
"The Western Bad Man as Hero." From his study of folktales,
pulp magazines, and grade-B movies, Boatright concludes that
the traditional bad man hero comes "from a respectable but not
wealthy family." Also, he "commits his first crime under extreme
provocation" during his unfortunate childhood. Then he goes
forth to "fight the enemies of the people," finding time to commit
acts of tenderness toward children, ladies, and old people. Finally,
atoning for his misdeeds, he dies at the hand of a traitor in his
own gang. Consistently, it turns out years later that the bad man
is not dead at all but "is now living an exemplary but obscure
life" under an assumed name. Strengthened by examples from
tales about Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Sam Bass, and others, the
account concludes that this pattern is "imposed by the popular
mind . . upon a prototypical historical character in order to make
his career emotionally intelligible in terms of American culture."
To the social historian at least, the findings of McNeil and
Boatright probably are the most significant in Mesquite and
As for Mexican tales, Americo Paredes presents a charmingly
told account of "The Legend of Gregorio Cortez." Startling is
the bloodthirsty behavior of a transplanted American folk char-
acter in J. Frank Dobie's "Br'er Rabbit Watches Out for Himself
Aside from further Mexican material, the late Victor J. Smith
presents humorous tales of the Orient Railroad. A thorough col-
lection of home remedies for arthritis is presented by Walter J.
Taylor, and ghostly boots tread across bloodstains that will not
wash out in John Q. Anderson's "Ghost of the Hutto Ranch."
Mesquite and Willow bears out Stith Thompson's statement:
"Most state folklore societies I've known ... have gradually
dwindled and sometimes died. The Texas Folklore Society doesn't
seem to do that at all. This means that there have been enthusi-
astic folklorists here all these years to keep things going."
Sul Ross State College
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958, periodical, 1958; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/m1/378/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.