Ross 2's Liked Comments

"True West" magazine has a lot of great information about real gunfights, though a lot of them sound like the teenage drama I hear as a high school teacher, with alcohol and guns thrown in. Some of them are almost humorous to read about, like the two guys who chased each other around a stove and continually missed each other at less than five feet, or the man who tried to draw on Luke Short but got his gun caught in his suspenders. Humorous, that is, until you remember the homicidal intent in all the stories!
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Two of the movies pictured actually have fairly authentic gunfights. The OK Corral shoot out as portrayed in 1993's "Tombstone" is very close to eyewitness accounts of the event, from what was said by the participants to Wyatt Earp carrying his pistol in his coat pocket to who shot who. The major problems are Ike Clanton running through C.S. Fly's studio and shooting from a window-he actually ran as far and as fast as he could-and Doc not getting wounded-he was actually grazed on the hip. I don't count the firearms firing too many shots, as the filmmaker showed some of the action from multiple angles, essentially showing the shots twice, to portray the confusion of a gunfight.

"Young Guns" touches on the "get an edge whenever possible" philosophy of gun fighting with Billy's fight with Texas Joe Grant. In the movie Billy asks to see Grant's gun, as he has boasted he will kill Billy the Kid with it. While looking it over, Billy removes shells from the cylinder so that Grant's first pull of the trigger produces only a "click!". In real life, a drunk Grant had exchanged guns with a cowboy with Billy. Billy, knowing that pistol had been fired and not reloaded earlier in the day, asked to see it and spun the cylinder so that the next three pulls of the trigger would cause the hammer to fall on an empty shell. When Grant subsequently tried to shoot Billy in the back, Billy quickly drew his own pistol and killed Grant.

One last movie that is pretty good as far as authentic feel to a gunfight is "Open Range" with Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall. The end gunfight has problems, like Costner firing way more than six shots from his six-shooter at one point, but the start of the fight is excellent, you can tell the different between pistol, rifle and shotgun shots by their sounds, there are misses, ambushes, horses and bystanders are hit, and men trying to surrender are shot down.

With all of that said, most gunfights that come out of Hollywood are indeed pure invention, but they sure are entertaining!
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  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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