| by Danielle Vincent

The flawed yet formidable character of the Classic Westerns

The cowboy walks into a dusty town.

No back story.

No shrinking insecurity.

No directional confusion.

He walks into town and identifies the evildoers and the victims, not from their clothes or nicely appointed home, not from the color of their skin or their job, but from their deeds.

The cowboy doesn't care about the stuff that doesn't matter... all that matters are actions. Not past actions, not potential actions, but present actions.

Part of this is because the cowboy might have had some judge-able actions in the past, too. He's in no place to judge anyone else's past. He knows that his former actions don't have to define his present or future actions, they're just "some things that happened in the last town."

Maybe it was trouble. Maybe it was love. Probably, it was a combination of both. But it's all behind the cowboy, now. He's not judgin' himself about it.

This is one of the many things I love about classic Westerns. The hero is walking in, stepping up, and refusing to back down.

When I feel intimidated, frustrated, outmanned and outgunned, I remember the hero of any of my favorite westerns... usually the wonderful drama of Once Upon A Time In The West (if you haven't seen it, really you should).

The main hero, Jill, refuses to back down even as a bloodthirsty gang threatens her land and murders her husband and his family.

After all that, she still maintains her dignity, her poise, and her determination. And if she can, I can.

What are your favorite Westerns and what do you love about 'em?

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