SOCIAL ROLE OF GUNFIGHTER

   Gunfighters are an essential part of the culture of the world of cinema Westerns, but their social role is always suspect, always ambiguous. In classic Westerns, gunfighters are always men. The code of the West justifies gun fighting if played according to the rules: (1) the gunfighter must never draw his gun first; (2) he must never shoot another without giving the person a fair, fighting chance; and (3) he always looks the other in the eye when he draws. The gunfighter is not an outlaw. However, all Westerns look to the future and to the steady encroachment of civilization—to the day when men and women cannot live by the code of the West. In the new order, the gunfighter is taking the law into his own hands. He is a man torn between the old order and the new.
   In film after film, the town, which one day will criminalize the gunfighter’s activities, needs him badly. The gunfighter himself often has an ambivalent attitude toward his role. Some like Shane regret that they used to live by the gun. Others such as Will Munny (Unforgiven) feel like they had no choice in their role. Whatever the case, the town’s reaction toward the gunfighter is always, first, repulsion, and then tentative acceptance. Usually, though, there is little gratitude for his services.
   See also HIGH NOON; SHANE; UNFORGIVEN;

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Role-playing game — A role playing game (RPG; often roleplaying game) is a game in which the participants assume the roles of fictional characters.cite web url = http://www.darkshire.net/ jhkim/rpg/whatis/ title = What is a Role Playing Game? accessdate = 2008 09 09 …   Wikipedia

  • BRYNNER, Yul — (1920–1985)    Yul Brynner traded in mystery and exoticism throughout his career, whether as the lead in The King and I (1956) through countless productions; Pharaoh Rameses in The Ten Commandments (1956) ; the Mongolian emperor in Taras Bulba… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • literature — /lit euhr euh cheuhr, choor , li treuh /, n. 1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays. 2.… …   Universalium

  • Jesse James — For other uses, see Jesse James (disambiguation). Jesse James Jesse James c. 1882 Born Jesse Woodson James September 5, 1847(1847 09 05) …   Wikipedia

  • John Wayne — For other people named John Wayne, see John Wayne (disambiguation). John Wayne Born Marion Robert Morrison May 26, 1907(1907 05 26) Winterset, Iowa, U.S …   Wikipedia

  • American Old West — Wild West redirects here. For other uses, see Wild West (disambiguation). For cultural influences and their development, see Western (genre). American Old West The …   Wikipedia

  • Western (genre) — Justus D. Barnes, from The Great Train Robbery The Western is a genre of various visual arts, such as film, television, radio, literature, painting and others. Westerns are devoted to telling stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th… …   Wikipedia

  • Tom Laughlin — This article is about the actor. For the wrestler who shares the same real name, see Tommy Dreamer. Tom Laughlin Born Thomas Robert Laughlin August 10, 1931 (1931 08 10) (age 80) Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. Other names Tommy Laughlin …   Wikipedia

  • EC Comics — Entertainment Comics, plus connu sous le nom de EC Comics est un éditeur américain de comics qui connut son heure de gloire durant la première partie des années 1950 avec la publication de séries d horreur (The Crypt of terror, Vault of Horror et …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Martin Sheen — in 2008 Born Ramón Antonio Gerard Estévez August 3, 1940 (1940 08 03) (age 71) Dayton, Ohio …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.