ETHNIC MALE COMPANIONS

   A common place facet of American fiction is that the hero’s closest male companion is a person of another race; thus we have Leatherstocking and Chingachgook of James Fenimore Cooper’s frontier tales, and Huck and Jim of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Cinema Westerns continue this pairing. The Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore) and Tonto (Jay Silverheels) of The Lone Ranger(1956) are perhaps the most familiar pair, but Ethan (John Wayne) and Martin (Jeffrey Hunter) of The Searchers (1956) continue the tradition. The ethnic companion ordinarily possesses skills and social characteristics that complement the hero and make the pairing a completed whole. These relationships are often so closeknit that for all practical purposes, the men are joined in a sexless marriage. Speculations on the homoerotic nature of Western male companionships are common.
   See also HOMOEROTICISM.

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

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