Back to an era of fast guns, El Paso and Shane’s farewell

Country Living with Francis Farragher

There’s a friend of mine, who like myself is partial to a sup of beverage that’s a tad stronger than Coke, who at times has a hankering to go back to his childhood days when most times there really was only one game in town.

Back in the 1960s, political correctness really hadn’t been invented, and probably just as well for us kids of the time, who spent many of our hours of leisure hours in a manic pursuit of Indians, that we mowed down by the tribe with timber rifles and cap gun revolvers.

No arrival of Santa Claus was ever complete without the presence of some kind of shooter and even though access to black and white television was very limited, we quickly got to know the key times for the showing of the likes of The Virginian and The High Chaparral.

We all knew that the Colt 45 had six chambers for bullets and that no cowboy was complete without his Winchester repeater rifle, always to be used honourably in the defence of honest people and in keeping at bay the marauding Indians.

Of course, as we grew up and learned a bit more, we realised that the Indians had really got a shocking ‘bad press’ in those times for instead of being the ‘baddies’ the Native Americans, had endured some shocking treatment as the ‘white men’ gradually colonised and took control of what is now the United States and Canada.

The Lone Ranger was also something of an inspiration to us aspiring young cowboys as he, Tonto and horse Silver, tracked every villain across the Western Frontier, but at times we worried about this compassion when he wouldn’t kill off the bad guy at the key moment. Instead he would try and disarm him, take him alive and get him to change his ways.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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