‘High Noon,’ ‘Gunsmoke,’ ‘Shane,’ and other Western memories
Jul 21, 2013 | 946 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I was visiting some men the other day when we got on the subject of old Western movies and TV shows, and those heroes of another era. Some of these old boys are getting long in the tooth and remembered Gene Autry and Roy Rogers as their heroes.

Another hero was World War II veteran Audie Murphy, who was a Congressional Medal of Honor winner. He reportedly killed more than 250 German soldiers and, although, he only weighed about 115 pounds, he was one of the toughest men on the battlefield. He, also, became a hero in the Western movies.

It is so funny how real life has reflected those story plots even now, during these modern times. The bad guy is always trying to take from others. Property lines and water rights were fought over. Easygoing folks became mean and disruptive when partaking of the “devil’s brew.”

Cowboys vied for the affections of the pretty young maidens with these rivalries settled by engaging in fisticuffs or a shootout in the streets.

When I was a kid, I always wanted to be the good guy. The writers of the Western stories led us to believe that when we had the right on our side, we would be faster on the draw, shoot straighter and hit harder than the bad guys. The good guy always won the heart of the town’s prettiest and smartest gal. Then, for the most part they lived happily ever after.

Gary Cooper in “High Noon” tried to warn local folks that real trouble was coming on the next train. They didn’t take him too seriously. They told him to go on and leave town, not to worry.

As the morning passed, trouble began to manifest itself. Cooper, the town marshal, tried to recruit people to help him, but reality began to set in and they became paralyzed with fear. No one wanted to face the danger alongside the marshal.

In years past I have responded to dangerous situations with my backup becoming timid with fear. So, I know something of what Cooper (Marshal Cain) experienced in the movie.

Other plots of these Western movies have been played out many times right on up until today. The bad guy vs. the good guy with the villain always plotting and scheming to undermine and tear down the good guy.

The villain always has a certain charm that fools some of the people much of the time. Their motive is always the same. Greed and selfishness energize and justify the actions of the bad guy.

Today, self-centeredness and greed have certainly become a problem at all socioeconomic levels. Even some church folks. A group that I always admired, have separated their business dealings from what their church teaches.

Many of the old fictional Westerns were true to the times and to the historical facts of the day. It seems that justice was swifter and more harsh than today. Law enforcement officers were few and far between, but the promise of harsh treatment by the state of the criminal kept crime down.

As you are probably aware, there is a long time from the time the criminal commits a crime to the time he has to pay for his deeds. The courts now have large dockets. There are too many criminals and not enough lawmen, prosecutors and judges — or jail space.

Recently, in the Bradley County jail, we had 495 prisoners, which made us very overcrowded. Many of our prisoners are probation and parole violators who sit in jail awaiting a hearing on their violations for months.

While they are in jail the Bradley County taxpayers foot the bill, not the state. This is a big burden we have to bear.

I still enjoy the old cowboy movies. Today’s headlines and new stories still mirror the old cowboy days. We, too, are living the high adventures, but do not see it as such.

Again, thanks for reading, “pardner.”