I was recently interviewed for a documentary on the popularity of the lone gunman, which, in light of recent events, made me wince. It's true I have made it my life work to illustrate the gunslingers of the Old West, but when I am asked a question that begins, "Why do you think the idea of a lone man with a gun is so popular?" the core concept seems a bit tainted in this day and age.
Hugh O'Brian as Wyatt Earp with his extra long appendage pointed in the right direction
Of course, the real Wyatt Earp knew a thing or two about gunfighting:
Daily Whip Out: "This Fight Has Commenced"
One guy basically invented the idea of the frontier gunslinger, and he was notorious for having two pistols:
Daily Whip Out: "Wild Bill Hickok Draws Iron"
And, street fights elicited random gunfire which almost always produced a victim, or two:
Daily Whip Out: "Shot Down"
As time went on, in the age of atom bombs, the idea of the gunfighter became somehow antiquated and "safe," to audiences of the 1950s:
Daily Whip Out: "Big Iron On His Hip"
So, in today's world the idea of a guy walking around looking for solutions with a hog leg, can be perceived as somewhat primitive.
"Nobody ever forgets where he buried the hatchet."—Kin Hubbard
"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."
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