Cowboys: Knights of the Old West
by Jacquie Rogers
A certain mythos of romance holds a strong place in my heart. And of course, when we talk about romance, the first thing we think about is a hunky hero. As a woman, and as a romance writer, men fascinate me. They’re so incredibly complicated but at the same time so basic. Women are complicated and basic in other ways, leaving the man/woman relationship mystifying as to how or why it ever works. The romance genre delves into this complexity in every book.
When a woman looks for a mate, and that’s what romance is all about, she’s hardwired to look for the three Ps in a prospective candidate: Provide, Protect, and Procreate. Now, nearly all men are ready at any time for the third P (although we ladies are a bit picky about who fathers our children), but quite a few men aren’t all that keen about the first two.
And that’s why we women love the whole idea of knights and cowboys. Yes, I lumped them into the same sentence. Take a look at the Texas Rangers oath for deputy rangers:
- Be Alert
- Be Obedient
- Defend the Weak
- Never Desert a Friend
- Never Take Unfair Advantage
- Be Neat
- Be Truthful
- Uphold Justice
- Live Cleanly
- Have Faith in God
You’d probably guess that was the Texas Rangers oath even if I hadn’t told you simply because its the crux of what an American cowboy is even now.
Now here’s the Knights Code of Chivalry described in the Song of Roland:
- To fear God and maintain His Church
- To serve the liege lord in valour and faith
- To protect the weak and defenceless
- To give succour to widows and orphans
- To refrain from the wanton giving of offence
- To live by honour and for glory
- To despise pecuniary reward
- To fight for the welfare of all
- To obey those placed in authority
- To guard the honour of fellow knights
- To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit
- To keep faith
- At all times to speak the truth
- To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun
- To respect the honour of women
- Never to refuse a challenge from an equal
- Never to turn the back upon a foe
That’s just a longwinded way of saying the same thing as the Texas Rangers did.
Truth is, people haven’t changed much, if ever. Our idea of the US Navy SEAL, the 19th Century cowboy, or the 13th Century knight all bring to a woman’s mind the perfect man to give us children, provide for them, and to protect them from harm so they can thrive into adulthood.
Our ideal romance hero is intelligent, loyal, honest, brave, and oh-so-sexy. My cowboy in Much Ado About Marshals is placed in a situation that tests him, because if he is loyal, he can’t be honest, and if he’s honest, he will betray his best friend. What a dilemma for a man who lives by the Knight’s Code of Chivalry, even if he’s never heard of such a code, because that’s the way of the good guys in the Old West.
This same situation could have played out in Medieval England as well as in the American Old West. It was Sir Lancelot’s dilemma in the days of King Author and the glorious Round Table, and now it’s Cole Richards’ dilemma in Much Ado About Marshals, set in the dusty desert of Owyhee County, Idaho. The cowboy’s word is his bond. Honor is everything.
Men are men. They’re warriors, hunters, and protectors. It’s through that tough exterior that women find his core of loyalty, honor, and most of all, love. The sweetest of women can tame the hearts of the toughest of men. This is our fantasy—this is what we’ve dreamed about since we were little girls.
And that’s why men in chaps and spurs melt the ladies’ hearts.
♥ ♥ ♥
Jacquie Rogers grew up on a dairy farm outside of Homedale, Idaho, in Owyhee County. She has fond memories of riding horseback all over the hills where her western historical romance series, Hearts of Owyhee, is set. Those hills held exciting adventures both real and imagined. She currently lives in suburbia with her IT Guy (also has a license to sleep with him), daughter, and four grandsons. Their home is ruled by The Cat Annie, a feral rescue, who enjoys tromping on the keyboard in the midst of action or love scenes.
Besides the Hearts of Owyhee series, Jacquie also writes a traditional western series, Muleskinners. Under the house name of Ford Fargo, she writes collaborative westerns with Western Fictioneers. She also writes fantasy romance and whatever else tickles her fancy.
Jacquie is a member of Romance Writers of America and Western Fictioneers. Her books have garnered several awards, the most recent being the LASR Book of the Month for Mail-Order Tangle, a duet with Caroline Clemmons. Much Ado About Mavericks has been featured at Claudia’s Book Talk.
Hearts of Owyhee series
Much Ado About Madams http://amzn.com/B00RUJXEPM
Much Ado About Marshals http://amzn.com/B00RW84YRS
Much Ado About Miners http://amzn.com/B00RWUFB3C
Much Ado About Mavericks http://amzn.com/B00S05Q6ZK
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