Today we look at the classic western, Shane.
Which is about, of course, a gunfighter… but the fight scene we will examine isn’t a gun fight (though there is a great one in there) but an actual fight scene, with fists and guts and will power…
Some backstory, Shane (Alan Ladd) has wandered into a homesteader’s place and found work there by a sodbuster named Joe Starrett. We don’t know what Shane’s done or been through in his life, but he’s quiet and put his guns up, doesn’t have anything to do with them, won’t even wear them. He finds himself welcome into the Starrett home, particularly Joe’s young son Joey and works the land hard with them.
But there’s tension between the homesteaders and a cattle baron Ryker, who wants all them off the land, and hires men to bully them away. Conflict as more homesteaders leave, and it’s why Starrett hasn’t been able to keep a hired hand, they keep getting beat up by Ryker’s men.
Shane has gone into the bar to get soda for Joey before, and been ridiculed for it before. This time, however, it goes differently. Two parts, first one:
I only have clips, so there’s going to be a bit missing, but after that first great punch, Shane goes onto launch into them, but even though he handles himself well… there are too many, and he’s overcome.
Then Joey goes to get his father, and that’s when we have one of the best, most classic Western bar fight scenes of all time, right here…
Notice when the music starts… right as they look over their shoulders at each other… up to this point, there’s been a wary respect for each other, both are stubborn men, but it’s at this point they become brothers.
It moves me even to write that, it really does. It’s one of my favorite scenes.
If you’ve not seen the whole movie, I urge you to, now. And it’s based on a book, which I’ve also read and is equally good. Both are classics for a reason.