Appaloosa, A Book and Film Review

It was a long time ago, now, and there were many gunfights to follow, but I remember as well, perhaps, as I remember anything, the first time I saw Virgil Cole shoot. Time slowed down for him. He fought with an odd stateliness. Always steady and never fast, but always faster than the man he was fighting.

Last year I saw a trailer for Appaloosa, the cinematic adaptation of Robert B. Parker’s western novel, directed by Ed Harris, starring Harris and Viggo Mortensen. This trailer got me very excited, as I’ve been a huge fan of Parker’s for a very long time, I love westerns, and Ed Harris is not only a damn fine actor but a superior director as well (proven in 2000’s Pollock). And Viggo’s no slouch either, nor is Jeremy Irons, who’s also in the film.

But Appaloosa had actually sat unread on my shelf for a couple of years because Parker’s previous foray into the old West, Gunman’s Rhapsody (a novel about Wyatt Earp, one of my favorite historical figures), had been a disappointment. I’d intended to get to it (thus the fact it was on the shelf at all), but hadn’t yet. Since I generally prefer to read a book before seeing the movie it inspires, I immediately rescued Appaloosa from its lonely spot and dove in. Continue reading