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indexPoor, Joey. Running in the dark crying out for Shane to come back.

I kept thinking of that line this past weekend as I was trying to dig out a tree stump in our front yard. If you remember, at the beginning of Shane, he starts chopping at the stump to show his gratitude for Joe Starrett standing up for him. Together they do a manly, man thing and finally get it out.

I empathized with that. At one point my wife walked by and I said: “I wish Shane would ride by right now.”

And she replied: “Why? So he can shoot you and put you out of your misery?”

It’s why we’ve been together so long.

I got the stump out without Shane and without being shot.

Shane is listed as one of the classic top 100 movies. There’s a lot more to the movie than the simple: Stranger rides into town. Which is one of the classic story ideas. The subtle romance between Shane and Starrett’s wife is intriguing– nowadays we’d have Bridges of Madison County where Joe Starrett would be out of town and . . .   But this is more about all the people, the interaction between Shane and the entire family.

indexIt was one of the first movies to use the real sound of gunfire; which is louder than most people who aren’t around guns know. Also, the director used wires attached to characters who are shot to pull them back as if actually being hit. The director had been in World War II and had seen people shot. Interestingly, Alan Ladd didn’t like guns and you can actually see him blink when he shoots Jack Palance. Also, I didn’t like the buckskins Shane wore. Made him look like a frontiersman not a gunslinger. On the cover of the paperback, Shane is dressed in a sharp black suit. That’s a gunslinger. Plus, note Shane is a lefty on the book cover and a righty in the movie. Everyone knows lefty’s make better gunfighters.

BTW Jack Palance was afraid of horses which is the reason he rides into town sort of slouching on a horse that’s barely moving. But it worked well, because it made him seem like a bad ass. The scene where he mounts is actually him dismounting run backwards. Jean Arthur played the wife and it was her last movie; she was also fifty at the time, looking good, much older than her male co-stars. Katherine Hepburn had been first choice and I just can’t see Hepburn playing a sod-buster’s wife.

IMG_2951Which is a long way of saying I got the stump out with a combination of axe, chainsaw, shovel, drill, Jeep winch, dynamite, and finally hooking Cool Gus up to it and holding a treat just out of reach, and a lot of cussing, you low-down dirty Yankee stump!

Now, Shane, please leave the valley.


A slideshare on Rogers Rules, which are still in effect today and always will be!

Part of Who Dares Wins: Special Operation Strategies for Success and The Green Beret Survival Guide.

WDW_B&N copySurvivalFinal_KindleBoards


indexRobert Rogers was a colonial farmer from New Hampshire who was recruited by the British in 1755 to serve in the French and Indian War.  Over the course of the following years he formed a unit of colonials called Rogers’ Rangers, the first Ranger unit.  Unlike the Redcoat British, they wore green uniforms and utilized unconventional tactics, many of which were written down as Rogers’ Ranging Rules, some of which are still used in the current US Army Ranger Handbook, called Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs). I’ll post on Rogers Rules of Rangering in a week or so.

The most significant engagement the Rangers fought was with the Abenaki Indians in Canada.  This tribe had been raiding the colonies and was credited with over five hundred kills, mostly of civilians, during the war.  A Ranger force of two hundred marched into Canada and destroyed the Abenaki village, a feat shown in the 1940 movie Northwest Passage starring Spencer Tracy.  This was a case of thinking outside of the normal parameters on Rogers’ part.  Conventional wisdom at the time dictated being on the defensive along the frontier.  Rogers realized that would be futile and leave the initiative in the hands of his enemies.  The frontier was simply too large to be adequately defended with the scant forces he had.

WDW_B&N copyHe decided that the only way to stop this scourge was to go to the source, which others told him was impossible as it was too far inside enemy territory.  He turned that thinking around, figuring that if the other side thought that too, it would increase his odds of success as no one would consider the raid a real possibility and be prepared to defend against it.  This open-mindedness is something is one of the seven character traits of the elite.  An elite individual is someone who finds new ways to tackle problems.  I discuss this in detail in Who Dares Wins Special Operations Strategies for Success.

The Rangers also fought in General Wolfe’s campaign against Quebec and the subsequent one against Montreal in 1760.  After the war, Rogers repeatedly petitioned the King to fund expeditions for the Rangers to explore from the Mississippi to the Pacific, almost fifty years before Lewis & Clark.  Think how history might have changed if he had done this (which gets my brain working on a possible mission for a future Time Patrol book).  Unfortunately, the King turned Rogers down and his persistence in trying to launch his own expeditions caused him to be arrested on charges of treason.  So much for loyalty from top to bottom, a key to effective leadership.  There are some who say the seeds of the Revolution were planted among the ranks of the Rangers because of this.  Despite their excellent service, the Rangers were treated with contempt by the British and in 1775 some of the men who fired upon the British at Lexington and Concord were former Rangers.

As part of this focus on Spec Ops, I’ve put together three discounted Special Ops bundles on Amazon:

Special Ops One: Green Berets Cut Out and Shadow Warriors: The Line

Special Ops Two: Green Berets: Chasing the Lost and The Jefferson Allegiance

Special Ops Three: Green Berets: Eternity Base and Shadow Warriors: Omega Sanction

Tomorrow I’ll post about Rogers Rules of Rangering, which we still use today!


Time Patrol: Ides of March

15 March 2016

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