Liberty Valance and Bisbee Deportation

Was listening to Gene Pitney’s “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” while reading the transcript from the Deportation trial in 1920 and realized there was a line in the song (which wasn’t used in the movie, by the way, but was based on the same plot), that characterized the belief of many in Bisbee back in 1917.

The Jimmy Stewart character was a lawyer, said to be the kind of man the West would need to tame a troubled land. But, the song says:

“When the final showdown came at last, a lawbook was no good.”

As with all analogies, this one will break down under close scrutiny, but it does seem a bit odd that Jimmy Steward is lionized (by the public in the movie and the movie-going public) for going out of character and accepting a gun from a fellow townsman, then using it, while in the case of the Deportation, men are indicted for their actions in the “final showdown.”

What is your take on this?

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