Bison (or buffalo as they are known in the United States) are of course an iconic animal of the American plains.
They are now reduced from the huge numbers there were before the opening up of the West.
Ah, the West and Westerns.
I’ve always been a fan of Westerns – even trashy TV Westerns that were really just soap operas.
Abandoned towns and the open space of ranges and deserts give characters settings in which to play out themes without the clutter and distraction of civilisation.
For me growing up, a good Western could be practically transcendent.
Westerns have helped me understand life.
The film Shane was the first example I saw of it. For anyone who hasn’t seen the film, it’s about a former gunslinger (Shane) – a man who wants to put his past behind him.
Ostensibly, that’s the story. But the real story is how it plays with us, the audience.
We are waiting most of that time for the showdown.
The lesson that the homesteader choosing to lead an industrious and peaceful life is the real hero of the film, is a myth.
The real meat is in the gunfight.