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Montana 1948
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Montana 1948 is a story of debauchery and the abuse of power. It is also a story of great courage and decency.’ Do you agree? Montana 1948 is a story about power and corruption. The story focuses on a dominating father, a guilty son and a courageous son, whose personalities and actions result in the tragedies that occur in the summer of 1948. As characters, Julian and Frank’s abuse of power are what causes county sheriff Wes’ dilemmas. When we first meet Wes, he is viewed as ‘prosaic’ and ‘inevitably, inescapably dull,’ however he is in fact the true ‘hero’ of the story who shows great courage and decency in standing up for what he believes is right. Julian’s abuse of power and Frank’s position as the town doctor, which he uses to his advantage, illustrate the damage unbridled power can cause but also illustrate the strength of character needed on the part of the only man who can do something about it. Grandpa Hayden’s ‘need for power’ makes him a ‘dominating man, who drew sustenance and strength from controlling others.’ As the former sheriff of Montana, Julian Hayden passed the job on to his son Wes to ensure the position was kept in the ‘proper hands’. Julian’s demanding approach and Wes’ need for affirmation from his father meant that it ‘never occurred to him to refuse’ this position. As boys Julian allowed both sons to ‘run wild’ and as a result the boys took different paths. But it is Julian’s favouring of Frank which leads Wesley to be the obedient child – the child that did everything he could to please his father. It is not until too late that Wes really discovers that he will never meet his father expectations. When Julian scoffs, ‘You – investigating?’ Wes is made fully aware of his father’s opinion. Yet it is the latitude given to Frank that encourages the real abuse of power. Grandpa Hayden’s dismissal of Frank’s early behaviour, ‘the Indian girl down on her knees’, really sets the pattern for Frank’s ongoing...
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