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Oklahoma native Robert Knott talks about writing 'Ironhorse'

Robert Knott, who lives in Los Angeles, has an extensive list of stage, television and film credits, but also wrote “Ironhorse,” a novel that continues the classic Western tradition of the late Robert B. Parker.
by Bryan Painter Published: December 16, 2012

For years, Cole and Hitch have ridden roughshod over rabble-rousers and gun hands in troubled towns like Appaloosa, Resolution and Brimstone, according to Putnam's, publishers of the book.

In the novel “Ironhorse,” Cole is the territorial marshal and Hitch is his deputy marshal and in the opening chapter they are traveling by train through the Indian Territories. Soon, Cole and Hitch find themselves in the midst of a heist by a horde of very bad men and the lives of two young hostages are at stake. The heist is led by a killer with a vendetta he's determined to complete.

Knott said that while he understood the characters of the book, their use of fewer words made “more arduous the writing task than filling the page with descriptions and buckets of adjectives.”

Oklahoma in California

Knott and Linn have often made the trip from their homes in California to attend the Western Heritage Awards at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

As recently as 2011, Harris joined them. And it soon became evident they moved about in a covey. If you found one, you found all three.

“Well, there's no place like home, and the heart of Oklahoma people provides that sort of feeling for me, that feeling of home,” Knott said. “I feel like Oklahomans bloom where they are planted though. My many friends, including Ed and Rex from Oklahoma, are really my family and I'm most comfortable with them.”

Knott said Oklahomans carry a sense of humor, integrity, vitality and good fortune that is infectious.

“It might be because we grew up in a country that has a weather pattern like no other weather pattern on the planet,” he said. “Or that we were one of the last states to join the Union and we are only a few generations removed of being profoundly proud, thankful and grateful we have a place to call home.”

Knott grew up in Oklahoma City and graduated from Northwest Classen High School in 1973.

He lived in Norman and spent about two years in art school at the University of Oklahoma before entering the oil drilling business at the height of the oil boom, at which time he moved to Edmond.

Beginning in the mid-1970s, Knott worked for 13 years on rigs for a Tulsa-based drilling company in Oklahoma, Texas, Alaska and eventually Kuwait.

With the bust, Knott fell back on the only other business with which he was familiar, show business.

He turned his attention to theater acting and play writing, and then eventually to film acting and screenplay writing.

“He takes you on a journey when he's on the screen and he takes you on a journey when he's writing,” Linn said. “And that's a gift. Robert does an amazing job with this book, when you're reading it, you get a sense that ‘Ironhorse' is speaking to you.

“The good news for the reader is, you want to listen.”

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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