From cap gun to wheel gun, a cowboy searching for a western.


The Western and Freedom

or When Freedom is Gone

One of the appeals of the western is a sense of freedom. The protagonist of most westerns has the ability to control his or her own fate. It’s this freedom to make his own choices that allows the protagonist to live a particular way. But what happens if the lifestyle the protagonist wants to live is contrary to the greater society’s way of life? What happens when the freedom once enjoyed is no longer an option?

Easy Rider movie poster 31
Easy Rider

At first glance the movie Easy Rider may not appear to be much of a western, but if you look closely you will find many features common to traditional westerns. What makes Easy Rider an exceptional movie is that Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda take these common features to their logical conclusion. Many traditional westerns have an underlying plot line regarding freedom. The protagonist, although he may not fit in with society, has the freedom to make his own choices. The protagonist is allowed to make his own way through life as long as he doesn’t stray too far from the law and order that is required by civilized society. Easy Rider addresses this idea of freedom. The protagonists Wyatt (Fonda) and Billy (Hopper) are two men perusing their idea of freedom and although they can be viewed as outlaws they have not strayed too far beyond the law. The movie shows us how their search for freedom is contrary to what civilized society allows and the subsequent  fallout of that conflict (that may be a bit vague but I don’t want to ruin the movie for anybody who hasn’t seen it).

This month’s “Dose of Dr. Gonzo” is a telling quote concerning freedom. It is important to use our freedom lest it die, but the good doctor didn’t mention that freedom is something  people will try to take away from you. Easy Rider, a modern western, takes a close look at how important freedom is and how others may try to take it away.


Easy Rider (1969) with Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson. Director by Dennis Hopper.

Some Thoughts on The Western

Dated or Timeless?

Have you ever thought or dreamt of riding off into the sunset? Do you wish the good guys and bad guys could be easily identified by the color of their hats? Would you aprreciate it if people were true to their word and a handshake actually meant something? These are just a few of the common elements of the western. Although some aspects of the western genre may be dated others are timeless.

I grew up watching westerns (and play acting them too). I remember watching old western show reruns on Sunday mornings as a child and buying western movies on VHS as I grew older. I played cowboys with cap guns as a child and saved my money for snake skin boots as I grew older. I took certain elements and ideas of those western shows and movies to heart at an early age. Someof them remain while others didn’t stand the test of time and experience. This month will focus on the western and examining what about the genre is still relevant.

Sunset Drive (DV8800-editj20.64)
“Sunset Drive”

Good guys and bad guys may not be so easy to identify these days, and it would be nice to live in world where a person is true to his/her word.  Of course, wouldn’t we all like to ride off into the sunset for an adventure?


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