6 Guns and the Wild West by Paige C Gross

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 12.49.34 PMI watched the western “6 Guns” about a woman who seeks revenge on the gang of cowboys that killed her husband and two sons with the aid of a bounty hunter. Set in 1930s, after their murders, the women, Selina falls into a downward spiral of drinking until she meets Frank who promises to teach her how to gunfight. After weeks of training, they track down the gang and kill them one-by-one, herself killing the man who killed her husband. In the final scene, she says goodbye to Frank, and she rides off into the sunset, now a bounty hunter herself.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 3.40.20 PMBefore I started watching, I consulted some sites to tell me what I should expect, what exactly, made a western movie, western? I found that they are usually set between the ending of the civil war and the early 1900s, the West’s aversion to modernism and change, a conflict usually surrounding the “good guy” and outlaws of some sort and surrounds some sort of stoic hero. Visually the movie was exactly what I would expect a western to be: dusty, old-fashioned and filled with some of the iconic images the class drew– deserts, horses and cowboys, saloons and guns. Another major point to westerns is to let the setting “play as another character” in the storytelling.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 3.40.43 PMThe language and acting was just as poor as I was expecting to be but fit many of the themes in an idea western- the main character, although a women, was isolated after her family was killed and sought to get revenge in their honor against the “outlaws.” Many of the more cinematic moments in the film, like when Selina meets Frank for the first time and the shootout scene fit the iconography of what westerns are made out to be. We discussed the idea of the cowboy as an icon of western culture, but I think western films could also be added to the list of American icons after researching the fandom and culture around it.

This film, and I’m sure all westerns, are American because of their link to the “Old West” an idea that is exclusively American. The idea of expanding west and the “manifest destiny” has become part of the American ideology and that is really exemplified through western films.



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