Which young woman wouldn’t like James Stewart to stroll into her store with a delivery in a small town where there’s no one to keep law and order and men have to be men in the archetypal glamorous fighting for honour and justice way that this hero embodies?
The wide open country is a dangerous place with Apache attacks and murderous lawless settlers. James Stewart is attacked, threatened, lassoed and dragged through the dust, his wagons burnt and his mules shot dead and that’s in the first few minutes.
Distinctly untraumatised, he persists, having revenge in mind for his brother’s death and that sort of instant love in his heart that we can’t help wanting to work out well with the young woman he met at the store.
I’ve seen it before and I lie back to enjoy the confident hero’s drawling laconic bravery.
When they say we need a winner to lead the Labour Party, and they generally mean by that not a woman and certainly not one who is only 40 years old, is this what they want? A cowboy with a quick draw to command respect and save us all?
I was brought up with these strong brave heroes, and it didn’t really help to make relationships with the opposite sex easy when they were all modelling themselves on men on horses who said very little, didn’t commit or settle down and rode off into the sunset.
But haven’t things changed?
Who has endless bullets in his six shooter and who’s the traitor in the posse?
The mainstream media are the baddies in the black hats. Someone’s selling arms to the Apache. The dramatic music is playing and we hope our hero can save the day.
It turns out the traitor was the one pretending loyalty, James is galloping over the rocky terrain and the proud Apache are on the skyline. Selling them guns makes the bad one guilty as hell but James lets him go so an arrow finishes him off.
Maybe the girl might pass through Laramie, but James as ever rides away and Cathy O’Donnell has to be content with that. And the election for Labour leader in the UK, hoping to be elected to lead a future government, has one man and three women to choose between. Can a woman be the one although the hero in the stories is almost always male?
Volume 34 no 4 March/April 2020 p 34