Images of an American West parched for water and hope during the decadelong Dustbowl in the 1930s. The adventures of a slave-turned-bounty hunter in the Old West.
An Oklahoma-born, full-blooded Cherokee transforming himself into a respected actor known for his fierce portrayals of American Indian warriors on film and television.
These images, personas and more received awards, honor and praise Saturday during the 52nd Western Heritage Awards. About 1,200 people attended banquet and reception at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63.
Established in 1961, the Western Heritage Awards salute works in literature, music, television and film that best portray the history and culture of the American West. This year's Wrangler awards, a bronze sculpture of a cowboy on horseback, were presented for works completed in 2012.
Wranglers were presented to creators of Western-genre works in 15 categories and to inductees into the Hall of Great Westerners and the Hall of Great Western Performers.
The iconic Cherokee actor Wes Studi, along with the late film tough-guy Robert Mitchum and the late actors Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carillo were inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers. Renaldo and Carillo became the nation's first regular Hispanic television stars for their roles in the popular series, “The Cisco Kid,” which originally aired in 1950-56.
Award-winning actor Lou Diamond Phillips and Wyatt McCrea, grandson of the late actor Joel McCrea, served as co-hosts of the black-tie gala.
Other celebrities attending were singer/musicians Lynn Anderson, Michael Martin Murphey and Red Steagall; actors Bruce Boxleitner, Barry Corbin, Robert Fuller, Rex Linn and Patrick Wayne; movie stuntman Dean Smith; cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell; actor and scriptwriter Robert Knott; musician/producer Rich O'Brien, documentary filmmaker and writer Dayton Duncan and Western personality Anita LaCava Swift.
During the festivities, there was a tribute to the late actors Ernest Borgnine, Dale Robertson and Harry Carey Jr., all of whom were past inductees into the museum's Hall of Great Western Performers and died this past year.
For induction into the Hall of Great Western Performers, actors must have made significant contributions to the perpetuation of the Western film, radio or theater. Through a solid body of works in motion pictures, radio or stage, the inductee must project the traditional Western ideals of honesty, integrity and self-sufficiency.
Studi, a native Oklahoman, actor, Vietnam veteran, sculptor, musician, author and activist, said he thought some of his best acting work has been in Western movies.
“I was struck that of the four of us (inductees), I've never played a cowboy role,” he said in an interview before the awards ceremony.
Studi said he is honored to be the second American Indian to be inducted into the Great Western Performers hall of fame. Actor Jay Silverheels, who played Tonto on “The Lone Ranger” TV series, was inducted in 1993.
In 1994, Studi received a Wrangler award that was shared with cast and crew for his lead role in the 1993 film, “Geronimo: An American Legend.” Studi said his 1994 Wrangler statue presently sits in an exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.
John Lacey and Kenneth L. Eade, both cattle ranchers from California were inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners. Lacey is a past-president of the National Cattlemen's Association and Eade was a pioneer in dry-land pasture irrigation methods.
The Chester A. Reynolds Memorial Award, named for a museum founder, was presented to longtime cowboy, Boots O'Neal, of Guthrie, Texas. O'Neal, 80, still works everyday on horseback for the Four Sixes Ranch, where he is the in-house brand inspector.
AT A GLANCE
Film, music and literary award winners of the 2013 Western Heritage Awards are:
• Television Feature Film: “Shadow on the Mesa,” produced by Larry Levinson and Lincoln Lageson, directed by David S. Cass Sr. and starring Wes Brown, Kevin Sorbo, Barry Corbin, Gail O'Grady, Greg Evigan and Meredith Baxter.
• Documentary: “The Dust Bowl,” directed and produced by Ken Burns, written and produced by Dayton Duncan and broadcast on PBS-TV.
• Fictional Drama: “Longmire,” an A&E television series inspired by the books of writer Craig Johnson; executive produced by Hunt Baldwin, John Coveny, Greer Shephard and Michael Robin; and starring Robert Taylor, Katee Sackoff, Lou Diamond Phillips, Bailey Chase, Cassidy Freeman and Adam Bartley.
• Television Film — Docudrama: “Hatfields & McCoys,” produced for the History channel by Thinkfactory Media; executive produced by Leslie Greif, Nancy Dubuc and Dirk Hoogstra; directed by Kevin Reynolds; written by Bill Kerby and Ted Mann; and starring Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton and Tom Berenger.
• Original Western Composition: “Trade Off,” performed by the Gillette Brothers and composed by Waddie Mitchell.
• Traditional Western Album: “The Usual Suspects,” recorded by Bill Barwick and produced by Jim Ratts.
• New Horizons: Given to a recording artist or band in the first five years of their career, Devon Dawson and Jessie Del Robertson of the Miss Devon & the Outlaw band of Ft. Worth, Texas, for their song, “Where in the Dickens RU?,” produced by Rich O'Brien.
• Western Novel: “Unbroke Horses,” by D.B. Jackson of Oakdale, Calif., and published by Goldminds Publishing, Nashville, Tenn.
• Nonfiction Book: “Geronimo,” by Robert M. Utley and published by Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn.
• Art Book: “Bob Kuhn: Drawing on Instinct,” edited by Adam Duncan Harris and published by the University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
• Photography Book: “National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West,” edited by Rich Clarkson and James C. McNutt and published by National Geographic Books.
• Juvenile Book: “The Quilt Walk,” by Sandra Dallas and published by Sleeping Bear Press of Ann Arbor, Mich.
• Magazine Article: “The Other Trail,” by Jim Logan and published in “Oklahoma Today” magazine, March/April 2012 issue.
• Poetry Book: “Proclaiming Space,” by John Dofflemyer and published by Dry Crik Press, Lemon Cove, Calif.