Monday, 27 July 2009


There are those who say that they have never read or watched a western in their life.
Except that they have through various guises.
The western may not be the original concept after all fiction does not begin or end with the format. Long before the wild west began to form there were works that ranged from Homer through to the Mort d'Arthur. The Welsh myths as well as those of the Greeks, the Romans and the Norse heroes.
Somehow along the line grew a new myth and all that had gone before was condensed into the style that we know today.
Here are a couple of western style scenarios:
1. A drifter comes into town. Now the sheriff runs a peaceful town and tells the drifter to move on. The drifter does not like to be told where he can and can't go, so the sheriff shoves him into the jail. Just to make the message clear the sheriff has his deputies beat the drifter up. Only the drifter fights back and escapes. There is a persuit and, eventually, the drifter returns to town and the final showdown takes place.
2. A town is massacred by a bunch of Indians. A green cavalry troop is sent in but they are ambushed and take heavy casualties. Reinforced, the cavalry troop head for a fort only to find that the soldiers there have been massacred and that a trap has been set for them. Again the few survivors escape and the hero is promoted. A larger contingent of troops go on the attack and defeat the Indians and capture the chief.
Do you want to know more?
The first example is easy. David Morrell's 'First Blood' filmed as 'Rambo'.
The second - substitute aliens or 'bugs' for the Indians and it is 'Starship Troopers' based on the novel by Robert Heinlein.
It doesn't matter whether it is the 'Die Hard' John McLain 'yippy yi yoing' through the storyline or Stanley Goodspeed and John Mason banding together to stop some bandidos from using stolen weapons 'The Rock' like many of their type follow the basics of a good western.
From Conan to Thor the premise of the good guy and the bad and the trail to the final showdown come down to one thing - they are westerns in disguise.

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