Biography •  Film and American West

$27.95 hardcover

Add to Cart

Goin' Crazy with Sam Peckinpah and All Our Friends

Max Evans
Robert Nott

Winner of the 2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Biography—Other

Almost as famous for the legendary excesses of his personal life as for his films, Sam Peckinpah (1925–1984) cemented his reputation as one of the great American directors with movies such as The Wild Bunch and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Max Evans, one of Peckinpah’s best friends, experienced the director’s mercurial character and personal demons firsthand. In this enthralling memoir we follow Evans and Peckinpah through conversations in bars, family gatherings, binges on drugs and alcohol, struggles with film producers and executives, and Peckinpah’s abusive behavior—sometimes directed at Evans himself.

Evans’s stories—most previously unpublished—provide a uniquely intimate look at Peckinpah, their famous friends (including Lee Marvin, Brian Keith, Joel McCrea, and James Coburn), and the business of Hollywood in the 1960s and 1970s.


Max Evans, a novelist, artist, one-time cowboy, miner, and dealer in antiquities, lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Among his many lifetime achievements are the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Western Writers of America’s Owen Wister Award for lifelong contributions to the field of Western literature, and, most recently, the Texas Institute of Letters Lon Tinkle Award. His novels The Rounders and The Hi-Lo Country were made into feature cult films.

Robert Nott has been a reporter for the Santa Fe New Mexican for more than fifteen years. Among his previous books are The Films of Randolph Scott and He Ran All the Way: The Life of John Garfield.


“There’s perhaps no writer who more vividly and colorfully expresses New Mexico cowboy culture than Ol’ Max Evans. . . . (This) book is chockablock with wild and woolly tales, but according to Evans, the Peckinpah who regularly visited him in New Mexico ‘was a whole different human being’ than the raucous, often dangerous Peckinpah of filmmaking lore.”



“An engaging . . . collection of a cowboy’s adventures in the moving pictures business during Hollywood’s last golden age.”


The Dallas Morning News

“This absorbing, lively book shows us both the Peckinpah we’d expect to see and a Peckinpah whom many may not have known existed: the dreamer, the romantic, the sensitive man. A must for film buffs.”


Booklist, starred review

“Readers familiar with Peckinpah’s work will no doubt be interested in (Evans’s) observations, as well as in the behind-the-scenes scoops Evans provides. But you need not be a Peckinpah fan to enjoy this memoir, which is interesting and entertaining enough to serve almost as a novel about a loose-cannon filmmaker and the people in his orbit or as a sort of roughneck-cowboy version of a Rat Pack tell-all. . . . There is great warmth in Goin’ Crazy and a type of open-hearted storytelling that serves as a counterpoint to so many serious academic treatments of Peckinpah’s life and work.”



“This intimate biography shares dozens of colorful stories for the first time, including some featuring the likes of Lee Marvin and James Coburn.”


Cowboys & Indians

“Evans’s clear-eyed memoir not only relates the stories of booze- and drug-fueled binges that have become a standard part of Peckinpah lore, but also provides surprising glimpses of tenderness and sensitivity that enhanced Peckinpah’s art and drew people like Evans into his orbit. . . . Film buffs, fans of Sam Peckinpah, and friends of Max Evans (who are legion) will enjoy this revealing book.”


The Journal of Arizona History

6.125 x 9.25 in. 304 pages 38 halftones