|The happy couple saying "I do."|
For those who haven't seen the film, the opening scenes introduce us to Will Kane, the aging marshal of Hadleyville in the territory of New Mexico. It's the day of Kane's wedding, and also the day he hands his tin star back to the town, because he and his Quaker wife Amy plan to begin a new life together. The dream is to open a store and enjoy peaceful lives. However, the ink on their wedding license isn't even dry before Kane learns that Frank Miller--an outlaw whom Kane once arrested--is out of prison and expected back in Hadleyville with his gang that very day to seek revenge.
|No superhero, Will Kane can definitely be hurt, even killed.|
Sadly, it turns out the residents of Hadleyville are too timid to stand with Kane when Miller and his gang show up. His own assistant (played by Lloyd Bridges) is peeved at Kane for not endorsing him as the replacement lawman for Hadleyville. The merchants and farmers of the community fear getting involved. In the end, Will Kane is forced to do the one thing no sane man would want to do: face Miller and his outlaw gang all by himself. The temptation to turn tail is strong. Who wants to get killed, especially on his wedding day?
|Kane facing the outlaws, while the townsfolk cower indoors.|
When the townspeople reemerge at the conclusion, Kane is disgusted with them. He removes the tin marshal star and drops it in the dusty street. He and his bride leave behind the cowards who wouldn't support him.
Regardless of whether Western tales appeal to you, I recommend High Noon to both writers and readers who enjoy masterful examples of stories involving reluctant heroes.
Rick Barry has published over 200 short stories and articles, plus two novels, Gunner's Run and Kiriath's Quest.