Jun 3, 2011
James Arness Dies--What Can We Learn From Old Westerns?
James Arness has died at age 88. He played Matt Dillon for twenty years on Gunsmoke, which is arguably the best western ever on the small screen. He was also in four different John Wayne movies. In fact Wayne endorsed Gunsmoke and his friend Arness before the first show aired.
Sometimes I miss the old westerns. I know that movies such as "3:10 to Yuma" have more "realism", but sometimes it is better to see authentic heroism. Back in the day a hero was a hero and right and wrong were actually right or wrong. Integrity and upright characters are hard to find in today's cinema. All of our heroes have been tainted or have some dark element in them in order to make them "realistic".
As I reflect, I find myself longing for shows like Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and The Rifleman. Longing to see characters who stand for justice and defend the weak and oppressed. Perhaps I long for them because our society and not just our cinemas are devoid of this type of character. Its not to late for a few "Matt Dillons" to man up--take responsibility in their fatherhood, love their wives, and stand up for the weak. Thats who I wanna be. What about you?