The assignment was to describe a favorite scene from a movie, such that the reader can see it in his mind with some of the clarity as when I saw it. I chose a street scene from a 1944 western movie “Tall in the Saddle”, with John Wayne, as my favorite scene. I’ll do my best to describe what happened. You are welcome to leave a comment, either pro or con, regarding my effort.
The scene starts in the office of the Red Rock Stage Depot, with Rocklin (John Wayne) discussing some business with the depot manager. At this moment, old Dave (Gabby Hayes) bursts into the office to come face to face with Rocklin, saying excitedly, “Rock, George Clews heard what you did to Bob (George’s brother), and he’s in the saloon and is out to get you!”
In a calm voice, Rocklin says, “Tell George I’ll be out in front of the saloon.”
Old Dave, still excited and grinning now, says, “Uh huh, uh huh!” and races out. To everyone he meets on the street as he runs along, he warns them, “Better clear out, there’s gonna be trouble!” He arrives at the saloon, pokes his head between the swinging doors and shouts at George Clews, “Rocklin says if you don’t come out, he’s gonna tear you apart!”
Clews sneers and throws a full mug of beer at Dave, who hastily withdraws his head from between the saloon doors. An older man at the bar complains to George, “Hey, did you know that was my beer?” George puts his hand in the old guy’s face and pushes him down, saying, “Well, if he puts his head in again, I’ll throw you at him!” He turns back to the bar, saying, “I’m gonna get his ears!” At this point we see that the bartender is wielding a double-barrel shotgun. Grimly, the bartender says, “His ears is outside.” George tosses down the rest of his whiskey, telling his brother Bob to pay for the drinks.
Now George is moving somewhat unsteadily across the saloon, heading for the swinging doors, on his way to the street. From outside the saloon doors, we see him exit, still somewhat unsteady, reaching for a porch column to hold onto. He hikes up his gun belt and, weaving slightly, moves out into the middle of the street and waits.
Now we see Rocklin come out of the stage depot, and he spots George waiting for him. He does his own sneer, seeing Clew’s unsteady condition. He strides purposefully down the middle of the street toward the saloon. He never breaks stride, watching George as the distance diminishes. His face is set, showing little emotion, with a tight jaw and determination showing in his stride and body language.
George Clews is showing no fear at this point, and just waits for Rocklin to do all the walking. As Rocklin gets within about 30 feet, Clews decides to act, and we see it in his face. Rocklin sees it too, and, again without breaking stride says, in a low voice, “You touch that gun and I’ll kill you!” Clews freezes.
Rocklin walks right up to him, about a foot away, and says, “You wanted to see me?”
Incensed, Clews screws up his face in a determined grimace, and begins to clumsily draw his gun. Rocklin draws his own gun, smoothly, and strikes Clews down with a blow to the side of his head, using the barrel of his pistol. Clews collapses in the street.
As Rocklin starts to walk away, he is accosted by a newly-arrived old biddy from the East, who shouts in his face, “I saw you! You struck that poor man on the head!”
Rocklin replied, “Yes ma’am, just as hard as I could.”