Classic Westerns by Anthony F. Hughes

In my younger days there was a breed of man that young and old referred to as ‘a singing cowboy’. Among those who fitted into that particular category were Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and Tex Ritter whose voice features in the opening clip of the magnificent movie that is High Noon (85 mins.)

As Ritter sings “don’t forsake me, oh my darling on this our wedding day”, there are a couple of happenings occurring simultaneously in and around Hadleyville, New Mexico, that set the tone for what is to come.

For starters there’s an unsavoury-looking character called Jack Colby (Lee Van Cleef) sitting on a rock in open countryside close to the settlement itself. His gunbelt has two holsters attached and each of them carries a shooting iron.

Two other men soon rendezvous with Colby. The pair – Ben Miller (Sheb Wooley) and James Pierce (Bob Wilke) are like Colby in the sense that they too have the look of desperados about them. Without much ado the trio swing their mounts around and head for town.

The three riders arrive in town and pass by the offices of the local Peace Commissioner just as a bride and groom are exchanging wedding vows. The room in which the civil ceremony takes place is adjacent to and under the same roof as the Town Marshal’s Office.

The office’s incumbent is a man called Will Kane (Gary Cooper) and it is he who is getting married to one Amy Fowler (Grace Kelly). Amy, a Quaker, has a strong dislike of guns, or rather what guns can do when it comes to people’s lives.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own