Thursday, February 18, 2010

It becomes apparent by the end of Red River that there are two alpha male cowboys; Tom Dunson and Matt. At first, Dunson was the only alpha male cowboy. He was on his way to start his own ranch by himself; Matheson states “the Wayne persona is an antisocial loner” (891). Being alone is often a trait of the alpha male cowboy. Another trait the alpha male cowboy possesses, which Matheson quotes from Robert Porfirio “man’s contingency in a world where there are no transcendental values or moral absolutes, a world devoid of any meaning but the one man himself creates” (896). She then goes on to say that Westerns and film noirs emphasize “life’s meaninglessness and man’s alienation” (896). This meaninglessness is displayed after the death of Dunson’s significant other when he continues on his journey to Texas, showing little to no sorrow.
When Dunson encounters Matt Garth, Garth tries to fight with Dunson. Garth is a young male, who has been on his own ever since Native Americans attacked his ranch. Dunson takes Garth underneath his wing. Garth, however, ends up turning against Dunson and stealing his cattle. This shows Garth’s ruthless side which Matheson refers to as “callous” (896). Looking at Matt’s appearance, you would think he is an alpha male cowboy; he is clean and well shaved. Matheson addresses the appearance of alpha males stating “cleanliness (or the lack of it) has played a crucial part in their coding of character” (892). Garth’s heroism is displayed towards the end of Red River when Garth fights the Native Americans when trying to save the people on the train wagon. Garth also does not stay with his significant other, claiming his lifestyle is too dangerous. This is similar to the beginning of the movie, as stated earlier, when Dunson leaves his significant other.
Both Dunson and Garth are isolated individuals who live off of the land and nature. Both men use their guns, but only when it is necessary. Both men have a sense of duty to protect those in danger. Both men live in the desert and away from the town. Both men have a sense of morals and a sense of the greater good. Both men are alpha male cowboys.

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