Cowboys tend to be pretty badass, whether it’s by being totally stone cold while staring down another person, cheekily evading capture or romancing a lady he wasn’t supposed to. Maybe even shoot someone from the hip with a cigar hanging from the mouth and have a whiskey later. We all have our inner cowboys and that’s what makes them such appealing characters to us.
With the release of Cowboys and Aliensfast approaching, we take a look at five remarkable cowboys.
Marty McFly – Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future 3)
McFly! A dead on shooter who honed his skills playing Wild Gunman at his local 7-Eleven, Marty finally learns how to ignore the “Are you chicken?” taunts and wisely avoids a gunfight with Biff Tannen’s ancestor, Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen, and saves his life in the process. Not to mention, he told everyone that his name was “Clint Eastwood”. That’s pretty darn cool.
Here, Marty avoids a straight gun fight and fools him with some future knowledge aided trickery, before sending yet another Tannen into a manure cart.
Woody – Tom Hanks (Toy Story)
Woody’s not reckless nor full of bravado but that’s probably because he’s a sheriff, not an outlaw. Though prone to bouts of jealousy as we’ve seen over the films, he always seems to redeem himself. He’s the leader of the toys and he does that with earnest effort and dogged determination. In the recent Toy Story 3, he never does give up on Andy and doesn’t leave his toy friends even though Andy wishes to keep him. He’s pretty much the ultimate friend.
Here, Woody and friends say their last goodbye to Andy, in one of Cinema’s best tear-jerking scenes.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – Paul Newman/Robert Redford
They aren’t cowboys per se, but they’re pretty much the 20th century hell raising equivalent of it. Smooth talking Butch is the one full of ideas, while Sundance is the silent, take action type sidekick. The duo were brash and elusive, carrying out train heists, escapes to Bolivia and even robberies in broken Spanish while over there. They even try to go onto the straight path while on the run, becoming guards but alas they return to their life of robbery and seemingly go down in a blaze of glory at the end.
Perhaps no scene best exemplifies the relationship between Butch and Sundance as this one. Here, they are forced to make a choice between jumping into a gorge or staying and dying at the hands of their captors. It is here that Butch finds out what’s holding Sundance from jumping. To Butch’s delight, Sundance can’t swim! They continue grumbling even when they’re in the water. Riveting stuff.
Han Solo – Harrison Ford (Star Wars)
Well well, if it’s not Harrison Ford, the elder statesman of Cowboys and Aliens, himself. Solo was the original space cowboy and the most memorable anti-hero we have seen on cinema screens for quite a while. Brash, sly and brutally honest, he repeatedly weaseled his way out of sticky situations time and time again. But we all knew he had a heart of gold when he flew back to help the Rebel Alliance destroy the Death Star in Episode IV as well as his backstory of rescuing Chewie from Imperial slavery. Plus, having the fastest ship in the galaxy and a penchant for hilarious wisecracks didn’t hurt either.
Plus, he has the single most unromantic confession reply ever, quipping a simple “I know.” to a sobbing Leia as he gets captured in The Empire Strikes Back.
The Man with No Name – Clint Eastwood (The Dollars Trilogy)
Some people may remember Clint Eastwood as ‘Dirty Harry’, but we’re sorry to tell them that … most of the world remembers Clint as the ‘Man with No Name’ instead. The character practically defines “cowboy” in cinema history but behaves more like an outlaw/outsider. He hardly spoke and fought dirty when he had to – I’m pretty sure Han learnt a thing or two when he shot Fredo first… (Damn you, Lucas!) No one knew his name, and when pressed for it, he usually gave out a false pseudonym.
Watch as he keeps his cool in a three way shoot out in the epic finale scene from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. He literally shoots his foe into a grave and then finishes them off with a quote worthy of repeating for years to come.