Brokeback Mountain: Not Just Gay Cowboys Eating Pudding

The award-winning independent film “Brokeback Mountain” is a love story that happens to involve two men wearing cowboy hats and riding horses in Wyoming. It is, however, not a gay western.

More than just a gay cowboy flick (CTV)

You can call Brokeback Mountain what you want, but please, urge the film’s stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, don’t call it a gay western. It’s a love story, they insist. Plain and simple. “I wouldn’t call it a western,” Gyllenhaal told reporters at a Toronto Film Festival news conference. “I would call it a love story that happens to take place in the West.”

The 25-year-old actor says the movie is about a lifelong connection and love affair that goes beyond sex. “The relationship between these two characters was one of a deep friendship. They’re soul mates. And it doesn’t really matter whether they consummate it or not.”

Based on a novella by The Shipping News author E. Annie Proulx, the movie tells the story of Ennis and Jack, two ranch hands who are hired in the summer of 1963 to work together high up in the mountains of Wyoming. Though neither likes to talk much, they develop an uneasy friendship. Then, during a freezing cold night of too much whisky, they fall into each other’s arms and their relationship becomes something more. But when the summer ends and they must return to their conventional lives, they go their separate ways.

It is not, however, a gay western.

Rusty Shackleford notes that this film, which won the Venice International Film Festiva’s Golden Lion award over the weekend, “pro[ves] that everything Eric Cartman ever says is always true.”

Cartman: No dude, independent films are those black and white hippie movies. They’re always about gay cowboys eating pudding.

Wenday: No they’re not. Independent films are produced outside the hollywood system. They’re movies without all the glitch and glamour of Hollywood.

Cartman: Well, you show one independent film that isn’t about gay cowboys eating pudding.

Kevin Aylward has audio (from South Park, not the eating of pudding or this particular film) plus a delightful double entendre from the BBC.

Ironically, there was probably never a film about gay cowboys, eating pudding or otherwise, until now.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Ugh says:

    Eric Cartman: Super-Genius.

  2. Rusty says:

    I worship at the shrine of Cartman. All hail Eric Cartman. And butters.

  3. “Brokeback Mountain” is about love — nothing more, nothing less.

  4. AYB says:

    hmmm..makes you rethink that song “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.”

  5. texas judo says:

    Real cowboys don’t eat axx either.