Last Updated 20 Apr 2022

Young Guns

Category Gun
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In the 1988 movie Young Guns we will analyze William H. Bonney, better known as Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez) as the outlaw hero, and Patrick Floyd Garrett (Patrick Wayne) as the official hero. This movie was closely based on real life events of the Lincoln County war of 1877-1878, but because the real life events weren’t nearly as controversial and exciting, the movie was minimally changed in various ways to make it more appealing to audiences.

The movie starts out with a group of wayward young men in Lincoln County New Mexico, supply shopping for their benefactor, London native John Tunstall (Terence Stamp). Tunstall owns and operates a cattle ranch and mercantile, and this puts him in direct competition with local rancher and mercantile/bank owner and all around bad guy, Lawrence Murphy (Jack Palance). After hearing a mysterious gunshot, we see a young Billy running through the storefronts, chased by several of Murphy’s men.

He jumps into a cattle arena and hides among the livestock. Tunstall then comes to his rescue, pulling Billy from the cattle arena and whisking him off to the ranch. It becomes apparent very early on that the portrayal of a young, volatile, and sometimes ignorant Billy is a key trait: He laughs and giggles quite a bit and bumbles around foolishly, seemingly to show his youthful playfulness, while also seeming to seek the approval of elder men like John Tunstall and Pat Garrett.

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He obviously craves the attention of a father figure and that lends credence to the youthful exuberance that makes Billy “the Kid”. The characterization immediately begins following the model of the traditional outlaw hero-official hero dichotomy, according to Ray, when he wrote that one of the competing values associated with the outlaw hero-official hero opposition is aging: “the attractiveness of the outlaw hero’s childishness and propensity to whims, tantrums, and emotional decisions derived from America’s cult of childhood. This much is shown in the very first few minutes of the movie. As young and childish as Billy and the other young wards appear, nearly every other adult male in this film is the opposite and therefore pegged as the official hero, aged and wise with a seriousness and sense of great responsibility. Just as Ray observed “While the outlaw heroes represented a flight from maturity, the official heroes embodied the best attributes of adulthood: sound reasoning and judgment, wisdom and sympathy based on experience. The politics and law aspects also fit Ray’s theory because he sees the outlaw as having a distrust of politics as a collective activity. The Murphy gang murders John Tunstall over the feuds about their competing businesses and the young men are left to their own devices, and of course they choose to break the law, they will exact revenge upon the Murphy crew. The orphaned young men collectively decide to brush off any worries of becoming wanted outlaws in the name of revenge; it gave them the rationale of a good cause.

Avenging death with death is not often how our society chooses to take care of the rule breakers, there is a judicial system that we must trust to take care of the revenge and justice aspect of murder into today’s society, and the average American today will not go out and become an outlaw to bring justice upon the bad guy himself. Citizens tend to leave that to the court system, although many would like to feel the self-righteous gratification of avenging their loved ones themselves.

Even with Ray’s views of how the outlaw hero responds to women and society, in this movie there is nothing but agreement. The young outlaw men in this movie have very little interest in women and society as a whole. There is a scene where one of the men marries a Mexican woman while the group is on the run, but he ultimately leaves his new bride behind to rejoin his “regulators” on a self-destructive mission from which he never returns. The women are in this movie almost as token pieces, there only because it is somehow silently required by some unspoken rule.

The few women in this movie play no big part in helping make decisions and add absolutely nothing to the outcome of the men's lives. In the real life Lincoln County war, there was no “China Girl” mistress to Murphy, but she was added to Young Guns and pursued by Josiah “Doc” Scurlock, who in reality was married. Adding a submissive, abused female character is pure Hollywood and only confirms Ray’s observations about the “bad” woman stereotype (380). Choosing a movie from the same time frame as when he wrote “The Thematic Paradigm”.

Leads me to believe that had I chosen a film from the last decade, the outcome would have been much different because today’s films seem to reflect our society’s new realities and the fact that social norms have been changing. There are no longer clear-cut roles in reality or film; the once defined edges are now blurred. There used to be a saying in my parent’s generation about thinking outside of the box but no one really says that anymore because honestly, the boxes are gone. Our society no longer has these outlaw, official hero roles that are as distinguishable from the rest of us, at least as they were in he 1980’s, because we are all striving to be a little bit of both, we are no longer always on one side or the other. Works Cited Ray, Robert B. , "The Thematic Paradigm. " Signs of Life in the USA. Sonia Maasik and Jack Soloman. Seventh. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2012. Print. Cain, Christopher, dir. Young Guns. Writ. John Fusco, Perf. Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, and Lou Diamond Phillips. 1988. Film. 11 Nov 2012.

Young Guns essay

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on Young Guns

What is the plot of Young Guns?

Young Guns is the fictionalized story of William H. Bonney, later to be known as the notorious outlaw Blly the Kid. Estevez plays Billy, a likeable if antisocial young fast gun who is taken in by John Tunstall, a local merchant.

How accurate is Young Guns?

See ‘Hell’s Kitchen: Young Guns’ cast: Meet the 18 chefs for Season 20 Trenton Inc. takes no responsibility for the content or accuracy of the above news articles, Tweets, or blog posts. This content is published for the entertainment of our

Who are the characters in Young Guns?

Score albumScars (5:10)Small Hands (3:04)Lynch Mob (4:11)Finish the Game (2:50)Yoo Hoo (2:43)Devil's Deal (1:26)More Than Hello (2:34)Tom Sees the Light (1:30)Coy Dog (2:38)Ride to Guano City (1:09) ("Guano City" on Blaze of Glory)

Who is Billy the Kid in Young Guns?

Young Guns is a 1988 semi-historical Western that purports to tell the real story of Billy the Kid. The film stars Emilio Estevez as William H. Bonney , aka "Billy the Kid", who was taken in under

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