Bendigo Shafter

Revealed – Focus Features and Ang Lee are currently facing a copyright infringement lawsuit from the estate of Louis L’Amour, whose Westerns have been bestsellers for decades. The lawsuit claims that L’Amour’s 1979 novel, Bendigo Shafter, was substantially copied by the filmmakers, who are said to have based their film, Brokeback Mountain, on L’Amour’s book:

“My fist is a hard one, toughened by many a day’s work with axe or blacksmith’s hammer, but he got up and came at me with a thick club he had laid a hand to. Clubs were not a new thing to me, and I went under his blow, throwing my left arm over and under his right and grasping his shirt front.” (Bendigo Shafter, p.51)

Hmmm… coincidence? The homoerotic overtones of L’Amour’s oeuvre have not heretofore been noted, but closer inspection reveals a definite bent in that direction. Indeed, even the title of L’Amour’s book, Bendigo Shafter, reveals much of L’Amour’s subplot, according to Dad Genn, an attorney for the L’Amour estate. “Ang Lee don’t have a corner on the gay cowpoke market,” maintains Genn. “Hell, he ain’t even been near a cow, far’s I can tell.”


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