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Gabriel Wright
Gabriel Wright

Broken Trail [PATCHED]

Back on the trail, they meet Capt. Billy Fender and his five Chinese girls. Fender asks if he can follow along and Prent agrees. That night, Fender offers the cowboys sex with one of the Chinese girls, but they decline. Later, Fender drugs the cowboys' whiskey, and while they sleep, he steals their money and saddled horses and escapes with one of the girls (later given the name of #4), leaving the other Chinese girls behind. The next morning, the men realize what's happened, and Tom rides off in search of Fender. He finds him in a drunken sleep after he's raped the girl. For being a horse thief and other transgressions, Tom hangs Fender from a tree and heads back to camp with the girl.

Broken Trail

Back on the trail, Prent and his outfit meet up with two strangers, one of whom Prent identifies as Smallpox Bob, and proceeds to gun him down. He orders Tom to kill his companion and his horse. Smallpox Bob infected thousands of Indians by selling them smallpox-infected blankets. Afterwards, they burn Bob and his companion and their horses and blankets. As the flames rise, the ghosts of their Indian victims dance over the flames. That night, #3 notices a hole torn in Tom's shirt, and she mends the shirt while he sleeps. A silent attraction has grown between the two.

Director Walter Hill takes the Western milieu seriously, seldom sugar-coating or sentimentalizing the bitterness of life on the trail. Instead of a pretty boy, the role of Tom Ritter went to Church, who looks like he was carved from a block of knotty pine.

Families can talk about the authenticity of the old West setting. As opposed to more lighthearted "oaters" like old-time singing-cowboy movies, The Wild, Wild West or Jackie Chan in Shanghai Noon, there is mud and dirt on this trail, a horse that develops leg trouble is shot to death, and when gun battles begin the Chinese characters duck and cover -- rather than bust out into kung fu. Do your kids prefer this vision of the West, or Hollywood's standard fantasies? While this is one Western that gives due credit to the large numbers of Chinese settlers in pioneer America, you might mention that blacks (not very visible here) also comprised up to a quarter of all working cowboys. One of the girls in this movie is subjected to the practice of footbinding, which could open up discussions about the devaluation and exploitation of women across cultures.

This trail enters the Three Sisters Wilderness shortly after leaving the trailhead. Wilderness Permits are required for both day use and overnight stays from this trailhead. See "Permit Info" below for more details.

A paved trail leading from between Loops K and I in the Broken Arrow Campground crosses FR 4795 to reach the John Dellenback Trail here, just east of the South Shore Biker Camp and the South Shore Day Use Area.

Framed by a solid introduction and, at the back end of it, an excellent filmography and a first-rate bibliography, Hollywood's West: The American Frontier in Film, Television, and History offers both canonical and revisionist insights into the Western. The editors plunge into their introduction with all the vigor of a Sooner land rush, attending to Western history, art, and scholarship at breakneck speed. What they choose to see along the way, however, does not always accord with one's view of "The West, Westerns, and American Character," as they title their introduction. In the review of scholarship, for example, they give Henry Nash Smith (Virgin Land) his widely acknowledged due as trailblazer, but the pursuers of trails as adventurous as Smith's own do not fare so well here. It is disappointing to find Patricia Limerick credited with an idea-la frontera- first put forth by the late Gloria Anzaldua (does contributor Kimberly Sultze know this?). The editors cannot do better for John Cawelti's genius for concision and classification than to reduce it to "enthusiasm and ingenuousness." Moreover, they briefly discuss-and all too soon dismiss-Richard Slotkin's magisterial work as "wrongheaded," though Slotkin is likely the most cited author in the collection. In truth, these editors want their Westerns good and simple-if not downright nostalgic. And this is, perhaps, why an important movie like Little Big Man gets short shrift, or why Soldier Blue and Ulzana's Raid receive no mention at all-as if the Vietnam War had never touched the Western. 041b061a72


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