The End of the West

The Western has it gone West?


Good  versus Evil. White hats against Black. Territory folk should stick together. Annie get your gun. Oh my darling don’t forsake me. What a man’s got to do. Son look after your mom,youre the man now. It’s a Big Country. One day all this will be yours. The Cheyenne are on the warpath we’ll be lucky to get out of this alive. Lets cut them off at the pass. There is always a faster gun. Where the deer and the antelope roam. I think you’ll find my four aces takes the pot. If I don’t go this territory is never going to safe . He’s coming in on the Deadwood stage, we’ll be ready. Not the boys from the Lone Star ranch.

And whatever happened to the  men as they shot it out on the high street or the range ,Kitty was always there in the bar, good natured, big hearted  and above all pretty. The Western whats not to like? OK some of the more recent ones had men in not so white shirts and maybe a bit of mud on their boots but the message was still there. Out on the prairie with the horse as my friend and the stars as my companion. Fill em up bartender and leave the bottle.

Then along comes Homesman with Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank. This is billed as a feminist Western. That is all the women are either mad, plain or sex starved. Some are all three. Is that a feminist message?Tommy Lee is a ne’er do well who just about keeps the wagon on the road.

Not a bad movie if you like the idea of the hero humiliating the heroine and she then  topping herself. If this was going on how was the West won? The birth rate alone would have  suffered. We have  only just got used to the idea of toilets being part of a film script and now this. The men are cowards and the women mad, no wonder the US has lost its way.

The Western was a statement of American confidence and certainty, its manifest destiny. The film ends with our hero drunk and having morphed into the hero of a geezer-the eternal youth-movie. I’m just glad Yul Brynner, Steve Macqueen ,Lee Marvin and the others in the Seven were not around to see this. They certainly wouldn’t have dared make the film if the Duke had still been here. He would have seen them off. He’d have made sure that Hollywood was still a town where decent, God fearing  folk could watch their Westerns without a therapist.

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