The Perversion of the Violent Frontier – Essay Example

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According to Webb, in the situation of the West and the hostile existence beginning from the Native American, the passive farmer transformed in to a rancher equipped with weapons and ammunition inspired by the non conforming natives riding over Spanish horses. Then the armed rancher further evolved his weapons in order to fight back the challenge of native warfare game. Web recognized violence as the compulsory act of evil on the Plains during 1940s for one’s survival and progress. His research on the relationship between the settlers and the natives can be classified as a fact based story of the conflict between the civilized and the savages.

Webb acknowledged that the natives were constantly terrorizing innocent people including men, women and children while he also identified the failures of the civilized apart from their successes. Webb further identified other reasons towards Western violence in addition to describing the role of the native settlers as the dominating form of violence over the plains. The Mexican war brought with it the necessity of weapon that could be easily and efficiently used over the back of the horse.

The solution to this problem was found by Colonel Samuel Colt in ‘Peacemaker’ that was the six shot pistol turning out to be the deadly weapon creating violence by the Westerners in the decades to follow. Webb also a very important cause of violence from the Turner’s theory apart from the cattle ranchers and the advance weaponization that the disbelief of the pioneer in the law concluding that the violence has peaked on the Plains due to the lawlessness. Turner explained that in initial days of Western advancement when individualism of the frontier was preserved as an ideal then an increasing number of these individuals fighting with one another and dealing with enlarging problems covering vaster and vaster areas in every day life considered it important to unite under the leader ship of the strongest.

Webb acknowledged this in his example of the ‘Cattle Kingdom’ that was a system making its own law which was known as the Code of the West and being done mostly upon the extra legal basis. Webb considered that the laws of the West were formulated by the men in East but Turner argued that the pioneer actually had individual law.

According to Webb’s observation, the plains’ man found this law inappropriate for him and thus, was called lawless for breaking it. Webb also enhanced the unique brand of Social Darwinism which was a theory, first presented by Turner in his essay, of the survival of the strongest.


Webb, P. W. (1931). The Great Plains. New York: Grosset & Dunlap.

Smith, N.H. (1950). Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Lenihan, H.J. (1980). Showdown: Confronting Modern America in Film. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Red River (1948). Directed by Howard Hawks and Arthur Rosson, screenplay by Borden Chase adapted from his short story. Hollywood, CA: Charles K. Feldman Group and Monterey Productions.

Halloween (1978). Directed by John Carpenter, screenplay by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. Hollywood, CA: Compass International Pictures and Falcon International Productions.

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