Why one-legged cowboys don’t carry a cell phone

By John C. A. Manley

Have you ever noticed how in Wild West novels the cowboys never carry a cell phone? They have a six-shooter, a saddle, a cool hat… but no smartphone.

You probably think it was because cell phones hadn’t been invented yet. And while that’s a fair point, the real reason is that it just makes for a better frontier story when Doc Holliday can’t call 911 if he gets shot in the leg.

Yes, that means he might lose the leg.

That’s what makes it exciting.

, I wrote about how thriller writers similarly don’t like cell phones in their suspense novels because they lower the life-and-death stakes.

One of my Blazing Readers wrote to agree with me:

“This is an awesome take on the cell phone dilemma. I have noticed in movies that it has destroyed a few stories.”

In my , I showed you how I overcame the cell phone dilemma in the climax of my novel, . But I realized, there was another scene where I faced the same plot problem. It’s in Part Three, when Vince, Stefanie, Mathéo, Léo and Raj are on the run from Constable Mackenzie (for the crime of gathering in groups of five or more). They end up in the bush, without any six-shooters and not a single cell phone.

Why did none of them have a cell phone?

Well, before they high-tailed it the guys were in the middle of a hockey game. Ice hockey can get rough. Not something you want to do with a $1400 iPhone in your pocket. And Stefanie, well, she never has a phone on her as she flat-out refuses to use wireless tech because… well, I’ll let her explain:


“Oh, yeah,” said Raj, sarcastically. “He’s probably sipping hot coffee in his nice warm cruiser, while we are standing on a frozen river, in minus three hundred degrees Celsius, in the dark, without even a freakin’ flashlight.”

Stefanie pulled a small flashlight out of her coat pocket, flicked it on and shone it in Raj’s face.

“How about a cellphone?” he said, covering his eyes now too.

“They give you cancer.”

“I’d rather risk leukemia than hypothermia.”


Ah, Raj. The reluctant cowboy. To my surprise, many readers tell me he was one of their favourite characters.

Anyway, is Stefanie right? Do cell phones, Bluetooth, cordless phones and WiFi increase your chances of getting cancer? And, if so, what can you do about it? These are the questions that are being asked of twenty experts in the field of electromagnetic frequencies at the 2024 EMF Hazard Summit.

Whether cell phones give you cancer or not, there is one thing we do know: If you were ever shot, amputating your leg with your credit card will make a far more exciting story to tell your grandkids than simply calling 911 on your cell.

But if you’d prefer some middle-path solutions between cellphone-induced cancer and becoming a one-legged cowboy then saddle up your horse and come on out to the 2024 EMF Hazard Summit. It’s free to attend and completely virtual. You can register here.


John C. A. Manley is the author of Much Ado About Corona: A Dystopian Love Story , the forthcoming All The Humans Are Sleeping and other works of speculative fiction. You get free chapters from his novels by subscribing to his Blazing Pine Cone email newsletter at https://blazingpinecone.com/subscribe/

Image: Pixabay

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