The Measure of a True Western Hero
What defines a true western hero? A typical western hero is usually a frontiersman, cowboy, or sometimes an authorative law abiding figure, such as a sheriff, who has qualities, ethics, morals, and talents that stand above common standards. What exactly are the qualities that separate the true western heroes from the character that has good intentions, but is not a true hero? In the classic Western film Stagecoach directed by John Ford, John Wayne’s character, Ringo Kid, and John Carradine’s character, Hatfield, undoubtedly both performed good deeds, but there is no argument that Ringo Kid is a true western hero. Hatfield did not demonstrate true western heroic traits that could compare to the traits that Ringo Kid exemplified in the film. Heroic traits such as honesty, courage, being non-judgmental, and selflessness prevailed in Ringo more so than Hatfield. After the town received a telegraph message that provided evidence of Indian trouble near Lordsburg, the passengers of the stagecoach departed. Having recently bolted from prison, Ringo Kid, a rugged, well-known escaped outlaw was consequently heading for the same final destination as the passengers in the stagecoach. Sheriff Wilcox, who was along for the ride, noticed Ringo on the way out of town on the side of the road and had the skittish driver pick him up in anticipations of getting him back in jail after the voyage was over. Ringo realizes that he will have to return to prison after the journey is over and he easily agrees. One of the travelers in the stagecoach automatically catches Ringo’s eye; the woman’s name is Dallas. Dallas, portrayed by Claire Trevor, came from a scandalous and troubled past and is resentful for having to resort to prostitution after having to depend on herself for so long after the passing of both of her parents. In the film, the high-minded women of the community not only treated Dallas with the least amount of respect, but also banished...
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