(David) Sam(uel) Peckinpah Jon Landau - Essay

Jon Landau

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Sam Peckinpah thinks the Old West offered men the last unambiguous set of values and is fascinated by attempts to hold fast to them in a world where they no longer mean anything. In his disjointed, confused and generally inept Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, he makes just two choices available to a pair of old friends: go down before the encroaching new order, or go to work for it at the cost of those unambiguous values. He sympathizes with Pat Garrett's instinct for survival in throwing in with the government, becoming a sheriff, and hunting down Billy the Kid; he admires Billy's refusal to run to Mexico and abandon his only true identity, that of an outlaw, but he believes in the inevitable spiritual death of...

(The entire section is 538 words.)