CINEMA: OUT WEST ON A BAD STAR TRIP

WALTER HILL'S COWBOY EPIC SHUTS OUT THE PRAIRIE AND THE BIG SKY IN FAVOR OF DARKNESS, HYSTERIA AND CLAUSTROPHOBIA

TO SOME DEGREE ALL GUNFIGHTER westerns are meditations on celebrity. As the hero proceeds along his increasingly corpse-strewn path, making one vivid assertion after another of his deadly prowess, he becomes a public figure, a source of rumor, legend and awe, just like a movie star. His reputation--always preceding him, simultaneously distancing and entrancing his public--becomes both a source of strength, making tremulous the hands of his enemies, and a source of danger, in that it encourages people who want a piece of his fame to form an entourage around him. Or challenge him to a deadly encounter.

Wild Bill, which...

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