Thursday, February 18, 2010

Liberty Valance

The Man who shot Liberty Valance was not the man who truly shot Liberty Valance. In fact, Rance Stoddard, although being the hero of the film, is somewhat the opposite of the alpha male cowboy in the story. Matheson describes the alpha male cowboy as a someone who not only comes from the land, but someone who can defend themselves and a town. Tom Doniphon is the alpha male cowboy and at the same time, he is the antihero of the story. Tom is from the land and has the rough and rugged exterior to support the theories of the alpha male cowboy. He is never fully able to express himself, is the only one who will stand up to Valance, and is the one who knows it is his duty to protect and propel Rance from danger and into prominence. However, by committing murder and becoming irrational (Burning down the house etc.), he becomes the anti hero or character who becomes the answer to Rance’s rising star.
Rance is not the alpha male cowboy in the film. He is of language and books, of civilization and laws. All things that do not apply or make sense to the Alpha male cowboys. He comes from the land of brick and mortar, not of dirt and dust. He is a hero in the film, but only with the assistance of others.
Valance is also not an alpha male cowboy in the film because of his actions, dress, and demeanor. He dresses very gallantly and with almost pride. He bullies the townspeople into doing what he wants and giving to him what he wants. He uses the people, not the land and himself to gain things. All things which go against the alpha male cowboy persona.

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