Many readers of my novel The Irish Cowboy have shared how great it would be to see Clint Eastwood taking on the role of Hap, the aging and ornery Savage rancher who finds himself fighting against a government takeover of his land. Last year, though, the narrator for the novel, Greg Patmore, a talented actor in his own right, thought Sam Shepard would be the one to do the part real justice.
Shepard has long used his quiet, flinty-eyed strength to great effect during what was 50-plus years in film and on the stage.
He would have made a great Hap. Shepard was born in the Midwest, fled the west coast, learned to both love and despise the shiny darkness of New York, and who let very few into his solitary-by-choice personal world.
Sam Shepard died at the age of 73.
He was most recently seen playing mysterious family patriarch Robert Rayburn in Showtime’s award-winning drama, Bloodline. That role is now likely to be Shepard’s final great moment on screen.
For me, though, it won’t be Bloodline (which I loved) that I choose to remember Shepard for. It will be an unassuming little documentary titled Shepard and Dark which allowed us a glimpse into Shepard’s ongoing melancholy, cynicism, and desire for both forgiveness and redemption. It is honest, imperfect, and charming – much like Shepard himself.
D.W. Ulsterman is a bestselling, award-winning author and socio-political commentator.
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