This week, Zach travels to Wyoming and learns what it means to be a man, a gunslinger, and may even learn a thing or two about hero worship in the 1953 George Stevens’ classic, Shane.

A weary gunfighter attempts to settle down with a homestead family, but a smoldering settler/rancher conflict forces him to act.

As a bonus, here is the result of the discussion we had about The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

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About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

1 Comment

  1. I have been a fan of the Western Genre since long before any of you were born. Although I can’t say that I’ve seen every Western that’s ever been made – there were far too many for any one man to ever view them all – I have seen and own more than my fair share of Western movies. There are too many bad Westerns out there to count, but there are two – and only two – highly acclaimed Westerns which I detest. The one I dislike the most is High Noon. This movie is considered by many to be the best of the psychological Westerns but not by me. On first viewing I thought I understood what all the praise was about, but on repeated viewing I realized that it’s nearly two hours of nothing but waiting for the other shoe to drop and, quite frankly, it puts me right to sleep. The other highly acclaimed movie I really dislike is Shane. Maybe I don’t care for Shane because the kid is so annoying. I keep wanting Shane to boot him in the teeth before he rides off. Maybe it’s because there’s really nothing original in the story. It’s as if the producers went down the list of Western Tropes and made sure they included them all. The only thing they didn’t manage to work in was having wild Indians attacking with the cavalry riding over the ridge in the nick of time. But I think that what really killed it for me was that I really don’t care about any of the actors or the characters they portrayed. I can forgive a mediocre or stereotypical story if the acting is great, but the opposite is not true for me. I had the same problem with the original Andromeda Strain movie. A great, suspenseful story was pretty much ruined by a lot of actors whom I didn’t care for. They either dished out wooden performances – I’m looking at you, Michael Wayne – or they chewed the scenery like a Shatner on Steroids. I much prefer the modern version, solely because the characters are played in such a way that you actually care about them. If you, personally, liked Shane, more power to you. It just didn’t do it for me.

    You mentioned the homestead act, Stephen, as granting people something like 20 acres. It was actually a quarter section – 160 acres. A person had to live on the land for a period of 5 years and improve upon it, or pay an up front fee of $2.50 cents an acre to buy the homestead outright. Single women and married women were allowed to take out homesteads, also, so a homesteader could take a wife and claim another 160 acres in her name, and when a child reached maturity, they could also take out 160 acres in their names. There was much abuse of the system, with timber companies sending out proxies (usually skid row drunks that they rounded up in droves) who would locate a homestead on valuable timber lands and pay the $2.50 and acre fee with money supplied by an agent of the timber company, and then they would sign title away to the timber company and walk away with a pocket full of drinking money. Unscrupulous ranchers would hire extra laborers and send them out to file on lands adjacent to their ranches and supply the fee money in exchange for title to the land. (By the way, In the land of fiction it is implied, though not explicitly stated, that this was how the Cartwrights built up the ten thousand plus acres of the Ponderosa Ranch in an era when a person could not claim any more than 160 acres of Federal land}. Yes, I am a History Geek.

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