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John Wayne was viewed as the embodiment of Americas spirit He and the fictitious land he roamed is says Louis Owens The greatest dream of all La Puerta 109 The man was always trying to correct some wrong avenge a moral crime save a damsel in distress or capture the bad guy He followed his own path made his own rules strove for personal justice and always came out on top and usually got the girl Women wanted him men wanted to be him In Americas John Wayne heyday there was not a little boy who didnt dream of riding the open range as The Duke on a seemingly divine mission full of passion honor and courage Regardless of Owens opinionated view of the incredulity of John Waynes myth It John Waynes West is a place where like F Scott Fitzgeralds Gatsby the white man sloughs off old names and histories sheds whatever flaws he may bear and makes himself anew 109 Wayne gave the general American public an icon and a world to care about idolize and strive for Billy the Kid is a very different American legend In Richard Etulains historicmythic account of Billy the Kids life he is likened to Robin Hood stealing from the rich to help the poor as a lone individual holding out against the corrupt Santa Fe Ring Billy was inducted early on into the pantheon of Wild West heroes 36 This is more the description of an anti-hero an outlaw with selfish intentions that just so happen to benefit others True there are many similarities between a myth such as John Waynes and Billy the Kids They both had their own personal code of ethics a black and white view of what was acceptable and what deemed punishment and judgement Both traveled alone even when situation bound them to a group of others they still seemed to carry their own agenda I believe the difference
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