Saturday, September 22, 2007

Good and Evil

Right and wrong. Wow, what subjects? My Dad use to say all the time, "Son, always try to do what's right." I never realized as the years stretched out and I became my Dad, the truth, right and wrong, adinfinitum would be so complicated but also so simple. And, there's nothing that conveys doing the right thing more than old time cowboy movies. I think so anyway.

My hero has always been Randolph Scott and a close second, Joel McCrea: you could count on those guys to do the right thing.

Recently, I watched a special on Sam Peckinpah who made many cowboy movies with Randolph and Joel. His best was Ride The High Country, which was Randolph Scott's last. I had already seen it several times but saw it again. Watching it through different lens, based on what I had heard on the Penkinpah Special made it even more meaningful.

Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea are aging former lawmen. Randolph Scott and Joel get locked in a good or bad, right or wrong confrontation. Randolph is the realist of the two and sees all the hard work as less than principled and now is the time to maybe cash in. Along the way, Randolph, who in this movie and most I have seen, is ever the renaissance man. He has taken as a partner a young potential ne' the well. There's a young girl who forces Joel to be her protector, simply because it is the right thing to do. When asked by Randolph why he is so straight and narrow and everything is black and white, Joel says, "I want t go into my house justified." Who knows what that statement means? Here's my take: I want to live my life in such a way that when it's over, I have done my best. Just about sums it up.

In a world where nothing anymore seems to be black and white, looking back to Ride The High Country seems mighty good.