New Mexico History Museum

Cowboy Movie Night Starring Ol’ Max Evans

May 06, 2013


Author, painter, and raconteur Max Evans is joined by Jim Harris, director of the Lea County Museum, to talk about his storied career, including the making of movies from his works, at 6 pm on Friday, May 17. After jawin’ about the cowboy life, the two will introduce a special showing of The Hi-Lo Country (1998), starring Woody Harrelson, Billy Crudup, and Patricia Arquette.

The evening, part of the exhibition Cowboys Real and Imagined (through March 16, 2014), is in the History Museum auditorium. Admission is free every Friday 5-8 pm. For more on the exhibit and a complete programming schedule, click here. (Or log onto

After growing up a cowboy in northern New Mexico, Evans served in World War II, returning to Taos as a painter and occasional miner, striking it rich in copper before going bust in copper. In 1958, he debuted his first book, Southwest Wind, and hit it big just two years later with The Rounders. The novel, about a pair of aging cowboys, caught Hollywood’s eye, and Henry Fonda and Glenn Ford breathed silver-screen life into it in 1965.

Evans, an Albuquerque resident, learned the cowboy life firsthand, beginning as a hired hand when he was just 11 years old and working a ranch of his own at 17 near Raton—a region he called “the hi-lo country.” In a 2011 article for New Mexico Magazine, Evans told writer/photographer Tim Keller how he changed upon that nickname:

The emotions I experienced in that country were so high and low, the mountains and mesas so high over the plains, and everybody kept on edge by the endless winds: I needed a title, and The Hi-Lo Country sounded just right.


Harris is the author of Frontier Land, Pioneer Spirit (2005, Lea County Museum Press), a collection of essays about Lea County history, and, with David L. Minton, From the Bull Barn to the Bucking Broncs (2010, Lea County Museum Press). The Lea County Museum is in Lovington, NM.

Cowboys Real and Imagined is generously supported by the Brindle Foundation; Burnett Foundation; Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation, Houston; Candace Good Jacobson in memory of Thomas Jefferson Good III; New Mexico Humanities Council; Newman’s Own Foundation; Palace Guard; Eugenia Cowden Pettit and Michael Pettit; Jane and Charlie Gaillard; Moise Livestock Company; the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association; and the many contributors to the Director’s Leadership, Annual Education, and Exhibitions Development Funds.

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