BOWLING WITH COYOTES; or, the Hero's Quest Complete

by cowboylands

Reach for the sky!

 Cowboy Shoot ’em Up with Stagecoach ©2008 es

Hey, that’s good advice.

 

All movies and stories (all that are worth hearing) have the common theme of conflict that leads to resolution and the return. A theater play with no conflict at all resembles virtual reality. Where’s the fun in watching that? Might as well watch a saguaro cactus grow. At least it has a plot, even if it takes 100 years to develop! A radio play with no gunfight, no terse and clichéd argument, no shot-up stagecoach driver, is just one long Marlboro commercial.

Just hand me that cold Canada Dry, buckaroos and buckarettes, here come the coconut shell hoofbeats again!

And now, all you boys and girls, it’s time for the last thrilling episode of the Phantom Empire, 1935 Mascot serial! Gene Autry is facing death! 

  

Everything in the movie has mythic significance. This is the storyteller’s way. The Hero comes to life again as the last cliffhanger rebirth flickers on the silver screen. His vegetative self has evolved out of his mineral self. His aura is pure now, and his strength of will formidable. He vanquishes the dragon, or is it the disintegrator? The queendom of Murania is destroyed–all its inhabitants and its advanced science. But the heroes keep their home, Radio Ranch. 

(Lean stories are good stories. Even if the action is in the back lot of 20th Century Fox.)

When the heroes return from Murania to Radio Ranch, no one believes where they were. No one says anything about seismic activity. No Geiger counters pass over them after they come out from the primal cave, where they withstood all their trials and came out onto the Surface World once again. (Whatever happened to the Queen’s Thunder Rider Valkyries anyway?) 

Disbelief On Return From Underworld.

I’ll say.

The modern myth, the Western movie, stars the hero, with a quick draw six-gun and a prancing horse with lots of chrome, back in the mythological frontier days of the Old West. If you say the Western legends are not all true, I think you missed the point. Heroes are to be admired, emulated, because you can rationalize all the fun out of it. A pair of spurs doesn’t make you a Cowboy Hero, while an altruistic deed will (although the spurs and cool horse don’t hurt a bit). Happy endings and altruism are common in Westerns. The Hero, when he is hardest up, discovers people that give those shining human qualities of loyalty, kindness and generosity. You can’t be a hero unless you plan to give up everything. Unless you make choices and live by them. Even if it means destroying a disintegrator that sounds like a Jiffy Pop popcorn popper.

 

by guest blogger batboy42!


 

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