Comparison of Tom Doniphan and Ransom Stoddard

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  • Topic: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Andy Devine, John Ford
  • Pages : 4 (1497 words )
  • Download(s) : 2249
  • Published : June 1, 2006
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Tom Doniphon and Ransom Stoddard are the two key characters in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, directed by John Ford and filmed in 1962. Tom Doniphon is played by John Wayne, while Ransom Stoddard is played by Jimmie Stewart. In this movie Ransom Stoddard is a well educated attorney from the East who comes to the West to find new opportunity and a place to practice law. He finds out real soon while traveling to the town of Shinbone that the West doesn't really care about law or city folk. Liberty Valence played by Lee Marvin gave Stoddard a dose of reality by robbing him and beating him till he was close to death the first time they encountered one another. So this brings us to the place that we know there has to be a hero to save the town from the tyrant Liberty Valence.

Ransom Stoddard's character plays a very untypical role of hero. It was very unconventional in a western that a man from the East would be a hero on the western frontier. The character of Ransom Stoddard was a very book-learned attorney who had very little knowledge of the real world that was the West. He also was portrayed in the movie as very thin, gangly, and somewhat a bumbling man. The camera shots make the audience feel as if he was less of a man or not able to even be compared to the statue of Tom Doniphan. Ransom's situation is simple. He was a recently qualified lawyer from the East, suffered a brutal introduction to his new home. His stage was jumped by outlaws, resulting in a savage beating as he defended a female passenger. To me this shows a lot of strength of his character and that he was no coward. Luckily he was found by Doniphon, a hard-bitten and sharp-shooting character, and brought into the town of Shinbone. Here Ransom finds out a few facts, a gun is the only law in the area and that the town is in dire need for a man like himself. The result is that Ransom vows to put Valance in jail, using the law not a gun, by using his education and principles. This is...
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