Essay on Heroes in Western Film

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Heroes in Western Film

In the genre of western films, the hero plays a key role. Humanity portrays civilization overcoming the hostile country (Miller 66). In many films the American civil war is over, and people have turned their attention to more constructive pursuits. Battling nature to progress America's future, rather than each other. In between this wild country, fraught with danger and corruption lies the role of the hero. A hero is an individual with exceptional skills and through his abilities is able to rid a stricken town of the corrupt elements within. In many cases however, the hero's skills are not enough. His relationship with the community can define how successful his help can be.
In the films Shane and Dodge City we
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It is for this reason he is incensed to defend the community from Ryker (Emile Meyer). He has become personally involved with creating a community that he wishes to continue to see flourish; even if his choice dictates that he has to leave in order to succeed.
Wade Hatton, (Errol Flynn) in Dodge City, is a much more extroverted hero than Shane, and has greater plans to reform the town than merely just driving out the criminal element. Hatton's entry to the film is also much more grand. He is a "soldier of fortune transplanted to the American frontier." (Abel 18). This alone creates the illusion of Hatton being a much more romantic hero and having greater plans than merely just wanting to build a community. He wishes to clean out the wickedness and lawlessness that Dodge City has become. To do this, he introduces sweeping reforms that not only remove the criminal element, but also set a moral tone for the community. This establishes him as a community leader who is willing to do whatever is necessary to curb the violence and death that has stricken the town. He even arrests his friend Rusty (Alan Hart) for carrying a gun to prove that no one is above the law.
People respect Hatton for who he is and what he has done for the community, not necessarily for who he is as a person. This fact sets him apart from Shane. Hatton's actions are dictated by his own morals and beliefs, (the desire to make the community 'safe for women and children')