Gunfights are part of the western, aren’t they?

Gunfights occur in almost all westerns. People expect them. Can a western be complete without one? On the other hand. they have become a cliche.

Gunfights were part of the history of the West, weren’t they?

The American West was a violent lawless place. A lot of people died of gunshot wounds. After all, lots of Americans carry guns and, not surprisingly, lots become victims of gun violence. Why should we not see gunfights in fiction about the Wild West?

How were guns used in fights?

  • Criminals in any age do not often want a fair fight. They shoot without warning. Is that a fight?
  • When people were expecting trouble, they usually drew their guns in advance. They might have used pistols, rifles or shotguns. This would often lead to a lot of shooting between two groups, such as a posse and a gang of bandits.
  • I expect you can imagine several kinds of scenario where guns would have been fired.

In what way was the gunfight a myth?

I have posted before about myths of the Wild West and here is another. The classic confrontation between two men to see who was the quicker on the draw seems to have been rare. People who wanted to play fair more often fought duels as in Europe where they took ten paces, turned and fired with single-shot weapons.

Are there any gunfights in The Cowgirl Murders?

No! Not the classic kind, anyway. A lot of shots are fired in various ways, but there are no formulaic one-on-one confrontations. Some characters find other means of killing people. Murder doesn’t always require guns. Neither does justice.

The cover of The Cowgirl Murders. There are no classic gunfights in this story.

There are no classic gunfights in this story.