The late playwright Sam Shepard is well known to Western fans for the laconic cowboy figures he played on the big screen. Frank James in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Butch Cassidy in Blackthorn. Wild Bill Hickok in Purgatory. Pea Eye in Streets of Laredo.
He came by it naturally. Shepard was cowboying in California in his teens. He competed in rodeo many times over the years. He even compared it to his primary job, saying rodeo has more real drama than a hundred plays.