* FamilyUnfriendlyAesop: Our need for heroes seem to outweigh our need for the truth.
** And while Ransom achieved great things for his adopted state - getting statehood, representing in Congress, working as Governor, bringing the roads, schools and gardens to the desert as Peabody envisioned - it still all happened based on a lie.
* HoYay: Valance's sidekick Floyd seems to toady up to Liberty a little ''too'' much...
* MemeticMutation: This film is the reason that any John Wayne impression will inevitably include the word "Pilgrim."
* MoralEventHorizon: Liberty Valance enters the film with a nasty reputation and violent history, and gets worse as the movie progresses. It's his beating of Peabody to within an inch of the editor's life that riles up Ransom enough to get him to call the gunman out for a duel.
* TearJerker: Poor Tom.