Thursday, February 18, 2010
Towards the end of the film, it becomes clear that there are two alpha male cowboys within "Red River." Dunson initially appears to be the only alpha male, as he heads west on his own to start up his own ranch. Despite hearing that his love interest was murdered in an Indian attack, Dunson continues on to Texas. This is characteristic of the alpha male cowboy, as he is emotionless. WHen Dunson encounters Matt, he agrees to add an "M" to the brand, once he has earned it. Once Matt transitions into the role of an alpha male cowboy, Tom follows through with this promise. Matheson states that "only the fittest, the strongest, and the most ruthless survive in the noir frontier, those who...draw a gun faster than anyone else" (891). This statement especially pertains to Dunson, and later Matt, who ultimately is able to draw a gun the fastest. Matt also displays the characteristics of an alpha male cowboy when he leaves Tess behind in a hurry. Matheson also states that the cowboy "can be counted on to act in good faith, however grudgingly," (899) which is reflective of when Matt and Tom make peace with each other.