Barbed Wire: The Fence That Changed The West

940 Words4 Pages
In the movie Shane, many characters are relying on individualism to get them through life and be successful. Joe Starrett’s family is a hard working frontier family living on a cattle farm in the west. Along with them are several other families who have settled around them in the country, around a small town. Conflict begins when the Rykers come and demand that Starrett has squatted on his land and that he need to give up is homestead. A stranger, Shane steps in and sides with Starrett. Starrett learns that Ryker and his gang have been threatening the other homesteads around him and they decide to get together to discuss what they are going to do. Meanwhile, Shane is being discriminated against in town for his background. The men decide that…show more content…
Turner wrote, “As has been indicated, the frontier is productive of individualism. Complex society is precipitated by the wilderness into a kind of primitive organization based on the family.” Starrett discusses in the movie how each of the homesteaders built up their lives around them with their own hands, relying on their own works provide for their families. Barbed Wire: The Fence That Changed the West by Joanne S. Liu also discusses this topic in the west, discussing on page twenty-six that when people came to the west, they immediately staked out their land for agriculture. Homesteaders wanted to make a life for themselves, everyone seeking their own success. Turner also discussed, “But the democracy born of free land, strong and selfishness and individualism, intolerant of administrative experience and education, and pressing individual liberty beyond its proper bounds, has its dangers as well as benefits.” Individualism both helped people and made struggles for the rough environment of the west…show more content…
Ways that they stuck up for themselves was physical fighting. They would punch each other and bring each other to the ground until one person was forced to give up. An example of this is when Shane and Starrett are fighting on who should go to the gunfight. Shane brings out his gun, knocking Starrett on the head and knocking him out cold. Shane had won.This also leads to another form of violence used to settle disputes in the west, which was gunfighting. This was part of who Shane was and what his past was lik. He wanted to go to the gunfight against Ryker because he was experienced in the business and wanted to stick up for what the homesteader’s wanted and needed. He killed all of Ryker’s gang, winning the dispute for the homesteaders and getting their rights back. Another form of violence was Ryker cutting Starrett’s fences, giving the message that he wanted him off of his homestead. Shane just repaired the fences and they ignored the threats. This was a major theme of violence to get a point across in many parts of the west, leading to large disputes. Many of these disputes were settled because of personal issues, which should have been legal issues but the law was too far away to enforce. The movie quotes that “the law is three days from here” indicating that they would not be able to go get a government official to settle a dispute for them, leaving them to their own devices to settle any conflicts.

More about Barbed Wire: The Fence That Changed The West

Open Document