“My youth was filled with heroes, and as a kid you wanted to emulate those heroes. Most of them were bad asses in some fashion like Evel Knievel doing the impossible with motorized vehicles, the Incredible Hulk doing his best (and most the time doing good) with situations that are out of his control, even Andre the Giant, a wrestler that played a bad guy but in person was a very big man with a very big heart and gentle demeanor. But when we weren’t being sucked into a TV dinner, watching variety shows we were watching western movies….”
To be honest, most Western stories are basically the same. An unruly town or wilderness, the victims are often simple people that the bad guys (people with lack of moral compass) take advantage of. They compromise the lively hood of the victims who have no option to escape the terror .
But what always made the genre attractive was the hero. The hero was a complex variety of people reflecting many flaws we all have in the human condition. Thus we all tend to relate to the hero. An every man or a woman that wants nothing more than to pursue the best life they can scrape together, but due to circumstance, they are locked into walking the thin line of good and bad to face or correct the actions of the evil bad guy. Putting their life on hold for the sake of good, and facing the impossible to free others and enable them to lift them selves up.
At the end of the movie, after the mostly impossible conflict was resolved, the hero sometimes passes away with out pursuing their dreams, but giving the victims a chance to be leaders. Thus showing the masses they have strength to over come the odds and make the future they dreamed about.
Then there is the ending I sometimes cringed to see. The hero riding into the sun set, off to the new day and the next adventure. We are left with the feeling that the place the hero is leaving is in good enough shape. That the victims will always remember who lead them out of the quagmire. Redirecting the moral compass of humanity…
We need those lessons that make us strong as individuals, moral as a human and humble as a leader. Yes a leader! A leader with enough grit be that hero. People that set the example by their actions not their rhetoric. We are bombarded daily by media filled with name calling, virtue signaling and bad behavior. After all, none of us are perfect. But the hero is the example that we all have something virtuous in side of us, something valuable to share. As in the any western the hero was often flawed and reluctant that is true with most of us. But there is something truly special about the reluctant leader.