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Young Guns 1&2: A Movie Review

Updated on September 19, 2011

First I have to say it pays to go back and rewatch older movies...you never know who you will find in them. I had watched Young Guns 2 a couple of times...But before Lord Of The Rings, I had no clue Viggo Mortenson was in it...heck, I didn't even know who he was. So when I went back to watch these two in preparation for a hub I am planning, imagine my surprise to discover him hiding in Young Guns 2. Sadly he was not one of the good guys, though he was just as good looking as always.

William H. McCarty, AKA William H. Bonney, AKA Billy The Kid was, as one of his companions used to say...Not all there. He may have thought he was doing the right thing in killing the killers of John Tunstall...But it seems to me he was a little to quick to kill. There were many who came to Billy's defense, stating he was an honest boy, loyal to those he cared about, intelligent, charming, fun-loving, and the best kind of man to have at your back in a tough situation. They will say that Billy was forced into the life of an outlaw. And perhaps in part this is true. But I think, maybe, there were opportunities, at least in the beginning, to get out, head south and quit the killing.

It is difficult, in the comfort of our modern lives, to say what he should have done. Men thought differently back then, were driven to do things by their own codes of honour. It is possible that Billy, being the decisive man he was, made his decision to hunt the killers down, and if that meant his death then so be it, better that then to allow his killers to get away with what they did. Perhaps the acceptance of the what might happen lead to a certain fatalistic outlook on things. He was ready to die at any moment, so was willing to take many risks. And maybe he felt if he was so committed, the others should be to, and if he would die for them they should be just as loyal to him...PALS.

Sadly, like any landslide, what started out small and fairly doable, soon turned very large and got out of control. He thought that killing Murphy would end it...But it did not, it only stirred up the hornets nest. There is very little just one man, or even five men can do against the government. The government will always win. They have more money and more weapons and more manpower. Once Billy shot where soldiers were, he was a doomed man.

Like Ned Kelly, Billy's tale is a tragic one. These happen to be made famous by storytelling...how many lives fell by the wayside...lives fighting for equality or justice or even just survival, that no one knows about?

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