"Each man has a song and this is my song." (Leonard Cohen)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Laramie, WY

The man from Laramie
He was a man with a peaceful turn of mind
He was kind of sociable and friendly
Friendly as any man could be
But you never saw a man out-draw
The man from Laramie

The man from Laramie
He was a man with a warm and gentle heart
But when they'd start the arguing and fightin'
Frightenin' and lightning fast was he
There was no coyote who could outshoot
The man from Laramie
He had a flair for ladies
The ladies loved his air of mystery
The west will never see
A man with so many notches on his gun
Everyone admired the fearless stranger
Danger was this man's speciality
So they never bossed or double crossed
The man from Laramie

So I needed to go to Laramie to see if this was true.

Coming over the high land from Cheyenne in mid-August, we had snow.

Laramie is now a university town in SE Wyoming, with a population of about 30,000. It is rather pleasant.

It grew in the nineteenth century when the Union Pacific crossed the Laramie River here.

Spenser came from Laramie, of course. You know, Spenser the detective. Robert B Parker.

And it was about 12 miles from Laramie that the famed stage station lay. If you watched TV in the early 1960s you will know whereof I speak. If not, click the link. In fact, click the link anyway.
I was tempted in town by an excellent 1950s metal advertising panel in an ‘antique’ shop which showed a cowboy in one of those red John Wayne cavalry shirts (he looked very like Tyrone Power) with the slogan ‘Real cowboys smoke and drink’ but it cost $125 so I left it for the next sucker.

The Man from Laramie was also, of course, the last, best and most stirring of the long series of Westerns in which Anthony Mann directed James Stewart and one of the few not made by Universal. Click the link to read more about this fine movie. Although to be fair Will Lockhart came from Fort Laramie, which is different.

Excellent town, Laramie. I may have to live there.


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