Typical Western plots are built from such traditional binary oppositions as freedom versus responsibility, the town versus the wilderness, East versus West, civilization versus savagery, and strong masculinity versus weak femininity. The cowboy herooften is a loner, yet he restores community at the end of the film, community of which he cannot be a part. Thus, Shane rides back into the distant landscape at the end. Occasionally opposites merge, as when Wyatt Earp marries Clementine, but more often one opposite will dominate the other.

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

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