Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Making of Guns of Ponderosa -- Part III

I'll talk a bit about characters today. While Matt Stryker and Nate and Wynn Cahill seem to be the main characters, the book is actually about Prudence Comstock and Dan Brady. Nate Cahill is the same man when he dies as he was when he rode into Ponderosa through the mist. Matt Stryker underwent a physical disfiguration, but he also was basically the same man when he left Ponderosa as he was when he came.

Prudence embodies the newspapers who railed at Commodore Perry Owens in the days and weeks after his gunfight with Andy Cooper. The press even accused the sheriff and his deputies of wearing "abbreviated cannons" on their hips, a phrase I brazenly had Prudence use. She also kind of represented the gun control lobby, which says there would be no murder if there were no guns.

Dan shows how a man grows into his job. He starts off a young and slightly bumbling deputy and ends up the marshal of Ponderosa. Experience and the right role model made the difference.

Commodore Perry Owens, Sheriff of Apache County, Arizona, ca. 1886

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