Big Iron: A Cowboy Western Hero Narrative

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— Scott Allison and George Goethals

3 thoughts on “Big Iron: A Cowboy Western Hero Narrative

  1. This song is pretty much the archetype of the standard Western story seen in movies and TV. The Western’s cinematic heyday from the 30s to the 50s usually had some character coming into town that was under sway of some villain. The one movie version of the OK corral fight “My Darling Clementine” molds real life events into this kind of story. The TV westerns of the 50s and 60s also played into this. And more recently “Open Range” used it.

  2. I had never heard of this song until now; I see that it’s become a comic strip, too. This character is an example of a sub-type of hero, the kind that people fear– although in this case that’s a passing phase of his story. Other heroes– the Shadow, Green Hornet, Spider-Man– remain scary figures to the public at large throughout their careers.

  3. The mysterious stranger seems to be becoming a commonality in contemporary literature. these heroes tend to represent the ambiguity of morality in the world, because most situations that individuals encounter do not have one clear moral choice, just as the stranger cannot be easily identified as good or evil. These heroes also tend to be popular because they embody the results of hard work (as in the ranger’s skill with his gun) and the benefits of humbleness.

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