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Red Gauntlet , SASS 60619

All Gold Canyon; Jack London and Buster Scruggs

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I had a bit of recent odd serendipity, not significant in the greater scheme of things; but I was struck by it.

 

I've watched the Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the recent Coen brothers Netflix flic with many odd and interesting segments. It's been pretty widely discussed here. I really liked the Tom Waits gold prospector segment--Mr. Pocket.

 

Every year for 12 years a son-in-law and I do a big tent Winter campout with an outfitters' tent and stove, setting up in the remote snow; kids and grandkids, XC skiing out the front door, etc. I often bring along an ancient collection of Jack London stories, and read the grandkids To Build a Fire, and The Law of Life; great Klondike stories. This year after the campout I just decided to read all of the collection. I came upon All Gold Canyon, written in 1905, and it is the Coen bros. Mr. Pocket story. No doubt they credited London, but I hadn't realized it. It was one of those strange coincidences that seem to have meaning-- but probably don't....

 

One point I took away... when the Coens do a film from a story, they do a great job-- they do that one thing that so many in Hollywood don't do-- they are entirely faithful to the written story. True Grit is the greatest example-- totally true to the book. So also with All Gold Canyon-- from the pristine valley, the diggings, and even to the miscreant rolling a cigarette before going down into the hole.

 

Boy, I hope they keep doing Westerns!

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