In the movie Two Mules for Sister Sara, Sister Sara represents the female other to the alpha male cowboy. Sara is a typical female in a western in the sense that she cannot protect herself and needs the alpha male cowboy’s help, but she is also unique since she lies to him and helps him. He cannot figure out why she acts the way she does and is intrigued by her since he does not understand her. Sara knows she needs his help in order to survive, so she lies to him the entire time, pretending to be a nun since he said if she was not a nun he wouldn’t continue to help her, and Sara, in turn, helps him. One night she tries to tell him the truth, which talking is typical of a female in westerns and seen as a weakness, but since he is an alpha male cowboy, talking is not his top priority, so he does not find out until they return to the brothel she is from. Sara does many things the typical western woman would not do, such as climb the supports the hold up the train tracks to place the dynamite under the tracks so they can derail the train, destroying the war cargo.
In Johnny Guitar, Vienna and Emma are both others and Johnny Guitar is the alpha male cowboy and Kid is another cowboy. Johnny does not understand why Emma hates Vienna even when Vienna explain to him that it is because Emma is in love with the Kid but the Kid is in love with Vienna and how Emma’s feeling for the Kid frighten her. The Kid does not understand the emotions of either Vienna or Emma but is sure that he loves Vienna. Emma is a foil of Vienna. Emma acts on emotions while Vienna stays calm and in control of the situation. Vienna and Emma are both powerful women, but Vienna’s calm and control benefit her while Emma’s loose emotions hinder her especially when she tries to get the men to listen to her. Vienna does show her true emotions to Johnny, and their romance continues due to her weakness for him. Vienna says that she hired him for protection, showing that she is weak and cannot fully protect herself. Johnny rescues Vienna when she is about to be hanged, the typical damsel in distress who needs to be rescued. Emma wants Vienna dead but is scared of killing someone, which is evident by her telling others to make the mule move, resulting in Vienna’s hanging, but she eventually does it herself. Although the film seems to be focused on the actions of the women, it is still about the alpha male cowboy since he is the character who has changed and the film is named after him.