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Fastest Gun in the West

The Fastest Gun in the West has the ultimate Quick Draw. Nobody can draw and fire a gun faster than this guy. As a result, he wins every duel he ends up in, and others tend to be reluctant to fight him.

However, this fearsome reputation tends to bring unwanted attention. Every two-bit varmint in the state wants to take a piece outta this guy to make themselves more badass. Hence, the Fastest Gun in the West tends to have to keep travelling to try and find a place where nobody wants to fight them.

This character can be a hero or a villain. The heroic type won't bring out his guns unless absolutely necessary, and then only to bring down an outlaw or bandito. The villain is a sneaky bastard who just loves shootin' an' killin', but may be brought low by The Hero's resourcefulness.

If this character ever loses a duel, his mantle passes on to the one that killed him, who must then endure the same curse that the former fastest gun put up with.

It should also be noted that in a cynical or realistic scenario, being the fastest gun in the west is rarely much help if said character is somehow caught off guard. It hardly matters if one can draw faster than one can blink, it's of no use if one never sees the threat coming. Many a lightning fast gunslinger meets their end by a bullet In the Back rather then a Showdown at High Noon.

A subtrope of The Gunslinger.

Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Vash the Stampede from Trigun. He is able to fire three shots so fast, that they sound like just one.
  • A football example is featured in Eyeshield 21. The best quarterback in Kanto is Musyanokoji Shien, otherwise known as "The Quick-Draw Kid", due to having the quickest passing ability among all the players. His team's name is "The Wild Gunmans" and they, of course, have a cowboy theme. Kid himself has the typical attitude of a heroic gunslinger; calm, wise, and non confrontational. The series later explains his speed and accuracy is due to being a former competitive pistol shooter.
  • Afro Samurai. The reason why everyone is willing to risk death for the Number One and Two Headbands.
  • Ryo Saeba from City Hunter is so fast that he once won a duel by throwing his gun at the enemy faster than he could draw (they had exchanged guns because the opponent was convinced Ryo's superiority was owed exclusively to his incredibly accurate gun and had slipped him an empty pistol, so Ryo, noticing it, decided to have some fun).

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Deconstructed in Rick O'Shay with a man rumored to be the fastest shot in the west, whom everyone fears. He really is lighting fast, but did you really think you can shoot that fast and have good aim at the same time?
  • A Far Side comic parodied this with a strip about the best ping-pong player in the West.

    Films — Animation 
  • The title character star of Woody's Roundup of Toy Story is repeatedly described as such. Woody the toy never uses any kind of gun, and early in the first film he is defeated by an Etch-a-Sketch.
    "You've been working on that draw!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Jim the Waco Kid in Blazing Saddles is a ludicrously extreme version. He can draw, fire six shots, and re-holster his gun before anyone else even draws. He can even take an object in front of him without seeming to move. His backstory also parodies the "unwanted attention from every two-bit thug with something to prove" aspect; Jim describes how he lost faith in everything when he was challenged by a seven-year-old; disheartened, Jim dropped his guns and turned away... and "the little bastard shot me in the ass."
  • Britt in The Magnificent Seven is fast with both guns and knives. Early in the movie, he shows just how fast he is by using a thrown knife to kill an opponent who has a gun.
  • Maverick. The title character shows off his quick-draw skills in a poker game. The man he faces off against John Hardin. Afterward, Hardin acknowledges that Maverick is fast. Of course, just because he can draw his gun really fast doesn't mean he can actually hit anything.
  • Ned Nederlander from íThree Amigos! appears to be inhumanly fast in his movies. A disillusioned fan accuses him of using trick photography and challenges him to a duel to put it to the test. Turns out Ned was the real thing all along. For bonus points, he did it with a gun much heavier than the one he was used to.
  • Several characters in Sergio Leone westerns, but particularily Harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the West. Slightly subverted in the first scene: Harmonica manages to draw his gun and to shoot three men who had already their guns in their hands in a row... and then one of them manages to shoot him back before collapsing (interestingly, these three men should originally have been played by Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach, the three fastest guns in the West of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly).
  • Played with in Support Your Local Sheriff. Jason McCullough is very good with a pistol, but when asked why he doesn't have a reputation he says:
    Jason: What would I want with a reputation? That's a good way to get yourself killed.
  • In Support Your Local Gunfighter, it's a man named "Swifty" Morgan.
  • In the 2007 3:10 to Yuma, Ben Wade is noted as a startlingly fast draw. He even beats out all six members of his gang at the end of the movie at the same time.
  • The title character from the movie The Gunfighter.
  • The movie The Quick and the Dead (the newer one) revolves around a fast draw competition to determine who is the fastest gun in the West. It is implied that this is Fee Herrod's way of weeding out the competition that may come after him.
  • In Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Western comedy My Name Is Nobody, the title character Nobody is the fastest gun in the West. He could fire three shots so that the bandits heard only one, and could draw and reholster his gun after letting go of a saddle on his shoulder before the saddle could slide. and he does this several times in a row, too, causing the bad guys' eyes to go popping out of their heads.
  • In Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Western comedy My Name Is Nobody, Henry Fonda's character Jack Beauregard matches the trope better than Nobody. While nobody knows Nobody, everyone recognizes Beauregard, who is always having to deal with people who want to kill the fastest gun in the west, even when having a shave, and if Nobody is faster than you, you must be the fastest, right??!!
  • Doc Holliday as portrayed in Tombstone.
    • He had a reputation as this in Real Life as well
  • A discussed trope in Unforgiven, in which Little Bill debunks various legendary quickdraw artists. He denies that quick-drawing is a particularly useful skill and asserts that accuracy often decides who lives ans dies. William Munny later says he was simply lucky during his career of gunfights, when the writer Little Bill had talked to asked how Munny managed to gun down a group of men.
  • Dollars Trilogy: The Man With No Name. Slightly subverted in that, while he is undoubtedly quick, he will use mirrors, decoys and improvised body armour to his advantage to get the drop on his opponents.
  • Marty McFly's skill at the arcade title "Wild Gunman" translates to actual gunfighting in the third Back to the Future film.
  • RoboCop might be the fastest gun in Detroit Twenty Minutes into the Future. Your move, creep.

    Literature 
  • Matthew Stark in Cloud of Sparrows is the fastest, most accurate shooter in Texas. He gained notoriety after defeating Jimmy So Fast, and immediately started training hard to be able to beat anyone who might try to take him out for the prestige. His speed and reflexes are superior to those of the ninjas he runs into.
  • Roland in The Dark Tower is also a famously quick draw.
    • We also see a much sadder version of this, in the final The Dark Tower novel when Eddie Dean, who is also a quick draw, is fatally shot by a villain who was himself dying from a bullet wound in the heart. Since the villain was shot and dying, he was ignored. The victim forgot guns are NOT always instant kill in real life.
  • Jon Shannow, The Jerusalem Man from the David Gemmell books. Note, however, that while incredibly fast, Shannow meets several men who are faster. When these men fight him, they die anyway — they may be faster, but he's far more badass (and businesslike; one man rides up to him, tells Shannow his death has been ordered, and asks if he has anything to say. Shannow shoots him, then says no). It's also notable that Shannow has a way of drawing that whilst not strictly as fast as some of his enemies, is smooth, calm, unhurried and easy to overlook. He basically draws without his opponents noticing.
  • Morgan Kane, from Louis Masterson's book series. To the point that when other famous (outlaw) gunslingers such as John Wesley Hardin or Johnny Ringo start trouble, the authorities send Kane after them, knowing the outlaws will not be able to resist the challenge.
  • Shane, obviously.
  • Dusty Fog from The Floating Outfit novels of J.T. Edson has this reputation. In reality, Doc Leroy is a hairsbreadth faster with a single gun versus Dusty's ambidexterous pair; but Dusty is the one whose name always gets mentioned. Mark Counter is a fraction slower than either and Waco a similar distance behind him; none of the four have ever been beaten
  • Used jn many of Zane Grey's novels, and may have invented the trope. Examples are numerous, including Lassiter in "Riders of the Purple Sage". In "Lone Star Ranger" both Buck Duane and Ringo are seen as competing for this designation : Ringo wins, briefly.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Mal from Firefly has a quick gun hand. In the pilot, he guns down a man who has a gun to River's head without breaking his stride. In the Big Damn Movie, he outdraws a professional assassin and shoots the gun out of the guy's hand. And the whole crew repeatedly outguns opponents who already have the drop on them. It's worth pointing out that this professional assassin already had his gun in hand.
  • JD Smith from The Dakotas has this reputation. It causes him some heartbreak when he is quicker to the draw than his one time mentor
  • In the 1950s series Lawman, Marshall Dan Troop (to his surprise) finds himself outdrawn by a professional gunfighter. While recovering from his wounds, the Marshall realises that while the gunman is faster, he doesn't have time to aim correctly, so he must goad his target into coming closer. Marshall Troop confronts the gunman again and this time keeps his distance, winning the fatal shootout.
  • The main characters of Red Dwarf enter a western virtual reality game, complete with special powers. As a result, Cat becomes so fast, he can draw after the outlaws have fired and shoot their bullets out of the air!
  • Deconstructed in the Phil Silvers-Jack Benny special The Slowest Gun In The West
  • "Wild" Bill Hickok in Deadwood shows off his skill at quickdrawing when a murderer tries to draw on him and gets gunned down before he can clear the holster. Seth Bullock also beats the man to the draw and comes close enough to Hickok's speed that they're not exactly sure who shot first.
  • In an episode of "Tales from the Darkside", we have an interesting play with this trope. A crook shoots and kills the Sheriff, but finds the town empty when he gets back. He seems to go insane with loneliness, but eventually finds he was shot and killed by a posse, and his ghost is stuck. When he realizes this, the Sheriff and the posse show up, now as friends, and lead him to the light.
  • On Justified US Marshal Raylan Givens has a well deserved reputation for quickdraws. This leads to many criminals deciding to test if he really is that good. However, only one of them actually stages a duel (he cheats) while the others would have been much happier if they could have surprised Raylan and simply shot him in the back.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "A Fistful of Datas", the bridge crew (minus Data who is linked into the holodeck) is trapped in a wild west, where everyone is Data, with his superhuman speed and reflexes. So they are all the Fastest Gun in the West, and the crew must NOT get into any gunplay, as, per usual, the safeties are off.
  • In The Wild Wild West episode "The Night of the Surreal McCoy", the titular individual is reported to be this. Turns out that James West is faster.
  • Kid Curry was the heroic variety in Alias Smith and Jones. He occasionally tried to talk kids out of taking up gunslinging, citing all the drawbacks to being the fastest draw.

    Music 
  • The Ranger in "Big Iron" by Marty Robbins.
  • Parodied in "The Ballad of Irving", the "142nd" fastest gun in the west.
    141 could draw faster than he / but Irving was looking for 143

    Radio 
  • The Lone Ranger is also noted for being a faster draw than any one opponent, and a big fan of Blasting It out of Their Hands. However, the radio and early TV series kept it somewhat plausible by not having him try to outdraw multiple people at once.

    Video Games 
  • Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist was trying for this title, until his defeat at the hands of Kenny the Kid (which cost him his ear) made him give up gunfighting in favor of pharmacology.
  • Red Dead Redemption
    • John later, Jack Marston, the player character. In the dueling sequences, you can either shoot your opponent in the face, or shoot the gun out of his hand. You get the most honor points if you can shoot your opponet's gun and hat without killing him.
    • Landon Ricketts circa 1895. He even lampshades it by saying this:
    Landon Ricketts: I guess I was the greatest gunfighter back in my time. I must have been, because I'm the only one still alive.
  • Fallout: New Vegas, one of the companions, Raul Tejada, if encouraged to return to the life of a vaquerro, becomes a quicker shooter than pretty much any one else in the Mojave.

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