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In Western Movies Stuntmen Rule

Anyone with a tidbit of experience riding horses armed with an old Colt cap and ball pistol can understand the type of skills the stuntman must master in order to appear in any western movie Hollywood produces.


   Western Movies

   Western movies are films that take place some time in the eighteen hundreds. Usually the characters in it resemble the people that actually lived in that time period. Hollywood movie producers are able to have costumes created that give any movie audience the feeling that they are looking back then and are actually seeing what might have gone on. Shouldn’t the characters look like they are living in the filed time period instead of just like they normally do?


   Actor Shortcomings

   It is just that modern day stars do not always have all the skills that one had to have back in the eighteen hundreds just to survive. It is really a rare occasion to have one actor that can ride a horse just like his great grand father could. It is even rarer to find one that is as skilled with an antique Colt cap and ball pistol. That last skill applies because back in the nineteenth century most of the Cowboys that herded cattle couldn’t afford to buy one of the newer Colt smokeless powder revolvers. It was just too expensive to get a Colt Peacemaker. They were stuck carrying a Colt forty four caliber Army cap and ball pistol. Didn’t cowboys have to be sober enough to draw the long barreled pistol out fast enough to survive?


   Theatrical Dangers

   Movie directors have to find someone who has those skills to stand in for the movie star or some bad thing could happen. That’s because blank rounds can be very dangerous. Powder burns can cause serious injuries. Ones bad enough that any movie star that receives one would be too injured to continue performing in front of any camera. Shouldn’t western stars keep from smoking cigarettes so no spark accidentally sets the black powder off?


   On Film Poker Gambler

   The amount of possibilities in any Western movie is high. The star could get injured in the scene that has his character fleeing from the sheriff on horseback. The star also could get a bad powder burn as he leaves the saloon and gets into a gunfight with another drunk character. The star could even get shot by a blank round by another character as they try to escape jail. These possibilities are the reason Hollywood started using stuntmen as movies are shot. Is Hollywood wild enough to gamble with the star’s health?


   Stuntman Appearance

   It must be understood that in order for a stuntman to be picked out he must be about the same size as the star he is representing on film. If the movie star is very tall the director will not have as many stuntmen to pick out from as he would if the star was just average height. While watching the film the audience is not supposed to be able to see any difference. That way the character doesn’t loose any of his personality as the excitement roars on screen. Shouldn’t identical twins make millions in Hollywood?


   Stuntmen Actions

   The stuntman that gets picked out must be able to do what ever the character needs to get done. If the character must make it onto a moving wagon that is fleeing from some attackers the stuntman must know enough about horse riding to get the stunt done without flopping onto the ground. Why shouldn’t a stuntman just grab onto a saddle horn to keep from being thrown off when the character must out draw the opponent?


   Cowboy Skills Needed

   The stuntman must be able to do what ever the directer wishes the character to do in any gunfight. He must be fast enough at drawing some long barrelled pistol out of the holster to let it look like the character won the gunfight through quick draw skill. The stuntman needs to be skilled enough to keep from shooting himself as he tries to out draw his opponent for the film. Do blanks have to be as accurate as the live rounds used to be?


   Outlaw Talent Required

   Black powder doesn’t burn as fast as smokeless powder. That is why the old pistols that is loaded with it had those long barrels. They were made that way so the powder would have enough time to completely burn up. This kind of powder is still used while making a film if the directer wants the street to fill up with smoke just like it would have in a gunfight there in the eighteen hundreds. Doesn’t making the set smell like a place would have during a gun fight make it easier for the actors to portray the characters they are?


   Gun Fighter Skills Needed

   That kind powder makes trying to quick draw one of those old long barreled pistols dangerous. The stuntman can be highly embarrassed if he doesn’t get the gun all the way out of the holster when the trigger is pulled. That can catch his costume pants on fire and mess up the stunt. Nobody that is supposed to portray a dead character is going to lay still on the ground as their pants burn. The stuntman probably will try to beat the fire out with one of his hands instead of lay there until the directer tells the camera man to cut the camera off. Shouldn’t the costume designer think about quick draw gunfights as the holster is approved of?


   Cowboy Stunts

   Stuntmen sure have to be able to ride a horse just like any of the cowboys could in the eighteen hundreds. That is because the lead character might have to race through town as outlaws fire guns at him or the character might just get shot out of the saddle in a major gunfight. That’s why most wild west stuntmen know which bread of horse does better in different circumstances. Isn’t that skill picked up by riding bareback as a child?

   In the end, by doing these stunts in a western movie stuntmen get a deeper feel of the action portrayed. It can make them feel like they had actually lived back then. Doesn’t the stuntman get payed to time travel?

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