“No, sir. This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” As always the legend of the west always portrays characters in opposing lights, emphasizing each character, while keeping all three men in the limelight. In the film, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” the audience gets a taste of three prominantly singular characters, each holding a divergent attribute. Tom Donophin, Rance Stoddard and Liberty Valance, a daring combination of the epitome of western alpha male ( Tom Donophin), the smart honest senator ( Rance Stoddard) and the vigilant vilian (Liberty Valance).
In Sue Matheson’s “The West-Hardboiled: Adaptations of Film Noir Elements, Existentialism, and Ethics John Wayne’s Westerns.” Her observations show the distinctions of each character yet the similarities too. “You’d better start packing a handgun….I know those law books mean a lot to you but not out here. Out here a man settles his own problems” this depicts the differences between Rance and Tom, yet it creates a sense of brotherhood between Tom and Liberty who go by the same rules, each trying to settle their problems their own way. From this ideaology although they might share differences due to their personas and characteristics, the west changes the characters into people with the same perspective, a perspective inspired by the sand, by the heat, by the desert of the west.