A Silver-Screen Western hero never goes off half-cocked, meaning, in a metaphorical way, that one’s hammer, or firing pin, which you had thought you’d set at half-cock to keep your metaphorical gun from firing, fails just when don’t want it to, and your misplaced or uncontrolled rage shoots you in the foot, leg, your prize-winning cow pony–basically any place you don’t want your verbal bullets to go.
A Silver-Screen Western Hero always has his or her gun (stay reel metaphorical with me, guys–no real-life blood baths here) oiled, primed, and ready. But a shot doesn’t ALWAYS have to be fired, unless you’re the villain. (In that case, why are you reading this? Go sell your soul to Beelzebub or something.) Better have a reason for a showdown, and we’re not talking about a noisy neighbor bugging the heckola out of you. We’re talking a cause, like a situation that could hurt children, the elderly, the vulnerable, the ill, or small animals. Even if you’re the mercenary Man with No Name, you have a soft spot for the villagers getting screwed. Standing down can be a manly choice, especially if you have a good line to use to deflate the situation.
Remember, a real gunslinger is utterly disciplined, and ready to pick his or her battle. Not a whole lot is worth bringing things to a showdown, which is something Jimmy Ringo has learned through bitter experience (Gregory Peck, The Gunfighter, 1950). If someone is being hurt and it isn’t you, there is a good chance you need to get into your hero mode. Otherwise, let the other person shoot him/herself in the foot. Or, well, like Jimmy Ringo, as you’re shot and dying, let the punk kid look real fast with a gun and see how he likes the wretched, paranoid life of a gunslinger.
- Well, there was this movie I seen one time,
- About a man riding ‘cross the desert and it starred Gregory Peck.
- He was shot down by a hungry kid trying to make a name for himself.
- The townspeople wanted to crush that kid down and string him up by the neck.
- Well, the marshal, now he beat that kid to a bloody pulp
- As the dying gunfighter lay in the sun and gasped for his last breath.
- Turn him loose, let him go, let him say he outdrew me fair and square,
- I want him to feel what it’s like to every moment face his death…
- –”Brownsville Girl,” Bob Dylan, referencing The Gunfighter (1950) starring Gregory Peck
Next step: Practice, Practice, Practice
Great review of The Gunfighter, good pics, like the amazing newspaper clipping above, at Greenbriarpictureshows.blogspot.com