Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens—silly idea or historical fact?

I mocked the first advertisements for the movie Cowboys and Aliens. The concept of cowboys shooting bullets at alien spaceships seemed too bizarre even for me, a Sci-Fi Fantasy fan. I thought it was a crazy idea for a movie. And I wasn’t alone. Chat groups filled up with negative comments about this movie long before it came out.

If reports of alien visitors go back thousands of years, then it would make sense that there should be reports of these strange occurrences in the Old West. And it seems there are.
Native Americans have stories about ‘star beings’ and the Thunderbird of Native American mythology is believed to have been either a large bird or an alien spacecraft—they could make lightning with their eyes and flap their wings to produce thunder. The Thunderbird has also been described as having metallic, bulletproof skin.

In the Arizonan desert in April of 1890, two cowboys saw a huge flying creature that had the body of a serpent, immense wings, two clawed feet and an alligator-like face. The cowboys chased the bird, opened fire and killed the monstrous bird. This is the story that was allegedly told to the Epitaph, a Tombstone newspaper. Was this a prehistoric bird like a pterodactyl or was this an alien spacecraft? Or a hoax as many people believe?

In 1897 in Aurora, Texas, a strange flying object reportedly crashed into an Old West windmill and broke into pieces. The occupant of this ‘spacecraft’ was described as ‘not of this Earth’ and given a Christian burial. Some people living in Aurora believe that an alien is buried in their cemetery.
It’s possible that Cowboys and Aliens is more than a ridiculous idea and might have some basis in fact. After seeing more trailers for the movie and hearing some of these Old West alien encounter stories, I stopped snickering. And I heard that Cowboys and Aliens is receiving some really good reviews.
Kelley Heckart
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Brenda said...

I can hardly wait to see this movie--as soon as I saw the first commercial for it, it went on my list of must see movies.

Allison Merritt said...

I saw this and as a historical writer, I nitpicked on every little detail available. When we exited the theater I asked my husband if he wanted me to tell him what was wrong with the movie right then or wait until he'd had time to digest it.

I think what bothered me most was that some of the character arcs never really developed. The plot fell flat in a way that didn't have anything to do with star trekking aliens. It didn't ring true to the western story. But then maybe it wasn't supposed to.

Brenda said...

Ahhhhh nuts! Maybe I'll wait for it to come out on DVD and rent it. I don't want to waste my hard earned $'s if it isn't as good as I'm hoping......