Yesterday, my husband and I watched the newer version of 3:10 to Yuma. Although we watched the movie purely for entertainment, I couldn't help but notice the conventions of the western within the movie. The one that stood out the most was that the good guys were wearing white hats while the bad guys were wearing black hats. Although there were a number of gunfights throughout the movie, the showdown at the end was very exciting. After the good guy (Christian Bale) was killed in the showdown, I half-expected the bad guy (Russell Crowe) to take the good guy's son home and settle down with the good guy's wife. The audience was able to connect with the bad guy because he wasn't all bad. Although he was an outlaw, he respected the good guy and ended up doing a good thing in the end (he killed the rest of his gang and got on the train for prison). Alhtough, the bad guy didn't turn completely good. After he stepped on the train, he whistled for his horse so that he could escape from prison again.
I also started comparing Christian Bales' character, Dan, to John Grady Cole. Dan volunteered to take an outlaw to the train that would take the outlaw to prison. In the end, he had to make a decision on whether or not to go through with it even after everyone else abandoned him and he was outnumbered. However, Dan chose to continue on his mission and do the right thing. Just as John Grady lived his life by a code, Dan tried living his life by the code. Both men strove to do the right and honorable thing. It was this determination to do what was thought to be right (even if it was foolish) was why the bad guy came to respect Dan.