Yesterday, I mentioned that a blogger called President Bush a cowboy ... like that was a bad thing. And I said that my impression of a cowboy is of a good guy. I mentioned The Lone Ranger,John Wayne, andThe Magnificent Seven.
Despite my feeling that cowboys are heroes, I've never considered myself a fan of Westerns. Sure, I used to watch the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, and such when I was a child. And I consider The Magnificent Seven one of the best films ever made. But I'm not really a fan of the Western.
But if you haven't seen The Magnificent Seven, you really should. If you can't recall how long it's been since you've seen The Magnificent Seven, it's time to watch it again.
If you're not familiar with it ... or theThe Seven Samurai on which it is based ... here's a little about the movie.
*** SPOILER ALERT *** (If you consider the plot summary of a 46-year-old movie to be a spoiler)
It opens in a small, dirt-poor Mexican town. The bandit Calvera and his 40 thieves makes their regular raid on the villiage, killing a villager before they leave ... and promising to return. Again.
The villagers, on the advice of the Old Man, decide to fight back against those that are terrorizing them, and send a committee go buy guns across the border.
Once in the small, south Texas border town, they hear the undertaker telling two travellers that he can't bury Old Sam, the Indian who dropped dead in the street, because there's "an element in town that objects" to Sam being buried with Whites. And that because of the threat of being killed, his hearse driver quit.
That's when Chris Adams (played by Yul Brynner) says he'll drive the hearse. Vin (Steve McQueen) offers to help ("First time I've ever ridden shotgun on a hearse.") and the two of them take Sam to be buried.
Seeing that Chris is a man of honor in addition to being a gunfighter, the committee from the villiage asks him for help in securing guns. Chris explains that men are cheaper than guns ... and offers to round up whoever he can.
He secures five other gunmen who are desperate for money ... plus a tag-along ... bringing their total to seven.
After arriving at the villiage, the Seven eventually face Calvera ... and run the bandits off.
Unfortunately, Calvera's men are in dire straights and depend on their raids on the villiage to survive. So they plan to attack again.
The Seven go out to meet Calvera's men, but find nothing.
Returning to the villiage, they discover that some in the villliage don't have the stomach to face down Calvera. They undermine the Seven ... and the rest of the villiage ... and turn on them, welcoming Calvera into town.
Rather than kill the Seven, Calvera sends them away ... not wanting to face the comrades of the Seven from back in Texas ... and that is that.
Until the Seven return to finish the job. The Magnificent Seven don't walk away from their promise, from their commitment to the villiage ... despite the ungrateful few that undermined their efforts.
In the end, most of the Seven are killed ... but the town if finally free of Calvera.
The Magnificent Seven isn't just a great movie. It's a great example for us all.
And there's a lesson that we need to learn..