The movies talked about here in the title are “High Noon”, and “Shane”. I have to compare and contrast the attitude of the movies “High Noon” and “Shane” regarding guns. But first, a little bit of what each movie is about.

“High Noon” was a western classic film made in 1952. According to Google, “Former marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) is preparing to leave the small town of Hadleyville, New Mexico, with his new bride, Amy (Grace Kelly), when he learns that local criminal Frank Miller has been set free and is coming to seek revenge on the marshal who turned him in. When he starts recruiting deputies to fight Miller, Kane is discouraged to find that the people of Hadleyville turn cowardly when the time comes for a showdown, and he must face Miller and his cronies alone.”

“Shane” was another western classic film made in 1953. According to Google, “Enigmatic gunslinger Shane (Alan Ladd) rides into a small Wyoming town with hopes of quietly settling down as a farmhand. Taking a job on homesteader Joe Starrett’s (Van Heflin) farm, Shane is drawn into a battle between the townsfolk and ruthless cattle baron Rufus Ryker (Emile Meyer). Shane’s growing attraction to Starrett’s wife, Marian (Jean Arthur), and his fondness for their son Joey (Brandon de Wilde), who idolizes Shane, force Shane to realize that he must thwart Ryker’s plan.”

Each of these movies has a different attitude towards guns. Like many other western movies, both of these movies’ climax’s ends with a gunfight. In “High Noon”, Kane fights the gang alone, but Amy, Kane’s wife, decides to help her husband by shooting of of the henchmen and giving Kane a clear shot to Miller’s head, which kills him. Because the townspeople did not fight the gang out of their own fear, Kane leaves the town with Amy without another word. In “Shane”, a final confrontation is inevitable as Ryker invites Joe to negotiate with him. However, Ryker plans to double-cross Joe and kill him. A former henchman warns Joe and Shane that Ryker plans to kill them. After that, Joe and Shane fight over who should go to the meeting. Shane wins, and kills Ryker, plus three of his henchmen. However, he leaves the town, knowing he cannot stay after killing four men.

In these movies, both men, Shane and Kane, do not want to use violence, but they believe it is necessary to maintain, or even restore, the safety of the towns. Kane was a former marshal, so his job was to use occasional violence to defend himself and others. Whereas Shane, being a former gunfighter, he did not want to hurt anyone, but he could not let the gang bully the townspeople away from their land. Both movies present guns as a tool that, in the right hands, can be used to help people. However, in the wrong hands, it can be used to hurt people. We need to use guns as a tool to protect people, never to hurt them.