John G. Cawelti (essay date fall 1975)
SOURCE: Cawelti, John G. “The Gunfighter and the Hard-Boiled Dick.” American Studies 16, no. 2 (fall 1975): 49-64.
[In the following essay, Cawelti compares the image of the hero inherent in hard-boiled detective fiction with that found in Western fiction and films. He notes that the hard-boiled hero embodies a darker, more violent, and more anarchic view of the world than his Western counterpart.]
The thriving little frontier settlement is suddenly beset with outlaws. Coming out of nowhere they viciously attack, beating the citizens and killing the old sheriff. Desperately the citizens gather in the church. After prayer for divine guidance, a debate breaks out...
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