Learning the Ways of the West

The Cherokee Trail

Nobody asked questions out here. That was one of the first things she had to learn. Every man was taken at face value until he proved himself to be otherwise. What you had been before was unimportant.

The West, she had come to understand, was a place where you started over. When you came West, you wiped off the slate, and whatever you were began here and now. If you had courage, did your job, and were a man of your word, nobody cared whatever you might have been. It was a good thing, she decided. There should always be a place for people to begin again.

Some, like herself, had lost loved ones. Some had gone bankrupt, some had gotten themselves into trouble with the law, into debts that were a burden, some were simply men and women who did not fit into any pattern. They were not the kind to become tellers in the corner bank, grocery clerks, ministers, or lawyers. They were born with a restlessness in them, an urge to move, to get on with it. If you proved yourself a responsible person, nobody cared where you came from.

She was learning, she realized, and ridding herself of preconceived ideas. She had heard the West was lawless, but that had been a mistake. Organized law was, for the most part, remote and far away. However, there were unwritten laws that all obeyed, and if there were a few who did not, the response was apt to be abrupt and very, very final.

The west was tolerant, to a point. When tolerance reached its limit, there was usually a rope or a bullet waiting. – The Cherokee Trail by Louis L’Amour


About The Mithril Guardian

I like stories.  Whether they’re on film, in song, or in print, I always remember a good story.  They remind me of paintings.  People cannot see them without learning something.  So it’s a good idea to look at a story from as many angles as possible.  I can watch the same movie a million times and still I will learn something that I did not know before.  Thoughts on the Edge of Forever is where I get to focus on what I learned from stories; what was not obvious the first time, the second time, or the umpteenth time. Earlier posts are written in the form of letters, usually to specific characters, to point out what I saw in a particular story or heard in a piece of music. Some of those letters, though, are like letters to the editor. Why did someone write a story this way and not another? Would the story have turned out better if the writer had done something different? These ‘letters to the editor’ will probably never be answered by the writers - the characters certainly will not answer anything - but their contents are still up for debate. After all, unless you ask a question, you will never get an answer. Still, civil ground rules apply. Any foul language or other form of abuse will not be tolerated in Thoughts on the Edge of Forever. I mean, who wants to be around the guest at the dinner party who is being nasty? Practically nobody, since people go to a party to have fun, not to hang around a grouch. So let’s have fun! The Mithril Guardian
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