"The graveyards are full of boys who were very young... and very proud."The Young Gun is the Western equivalent of the Kid Samurai: a younger, less-awesome version of The Gunslinger, looking to make a name for himself. Expect him to be hot-headed and impetuous. He will probably attach himself to an older, more experienced character, looking up to him as a mentor figure, only to be told that this is no kind of life for anyone and that he should get out while he still can. The Young Gun differs from his counterpart The Gunfighter Wannabe in that he actually has what it takes to be a gunslinger, but just needs a little training/experience/maturity in order to get up to speed. The Gunfighter Wannabe, by contrast, lacks the talent or temperament to make it as a gunslinger and his attempt to try to make a name for himself despite the warnings of his elders generally doesn't end well. Outside the realm of Westerns, this trope all too often overlaps with Child Soldier.
— Vin, The Magnificent Seven
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Anime and Manga
- Subverted in Katekyo Hitman Reborn! with the titular character, since he was an adult that was cursed and turned into an infant. He is the mentor, even in his infant state.
- Played straight with Lambo, the 5-year old hitman with an arsenal of weapons stored in his afro. His target Reborn does not even care enough to not be amused.
- Colt from Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs.
- Hot Shot from Transformers Armada.
- Yuna of Mahou Sensei Negima!, who proved herself to be very talented at fighting with Guns Akimbo during the Mages vs Martians game and has continued to wield the guns she used then even after the Mahora Festival. However, she still has a long way to go before she reaches the likes of Mana or even the gun-using mage teacher.
- Teana at the start of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. It took some time and a few knocks to the head for her to grow out of her hot-headed recklessness and mature to a truly effective Gunslinger.
- Doraemon (yeah): This is, out of all people in the world, Nobita whenever the cast travel to a Western-y age/planet/dimension/whatever. Boy might be a total loser in other aspects of life, but when the plot requires that someone be shot, he does the shooting competently.
- Chico from the movie The Magnificent Seven, the Western version of Katsushiro from Seven Samurai.
- Fee "The Kid" Herrod in The Quick and the Dead
- The Schofield Kid in Unforgiven
- Hunt Bromley in the movie The Gunfighter
- Morgan Earp as he is portrayed in movies like Tombstone and Wyatt Earp.
- Marty McFly in Back to the Future Part III with the subversion that he does get out while he still can.
- Colorado Ryan (Ricky Nelson) from Rio Bravo. A slight subversion in that Wayne says about him: "It's nice to see a smart kid for a change." and Stumpy agrees. "Yeah, he's not like the usual kid with a gun."
- More of a Midwestern example (since the character is from Missouri): Tom Sawyer in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
- Billy the Kid was portrayed this way in The Three Stooges film The Outlaws Is Coming.
- The Elusive Avengers from the titular Russian ostern.
- Scott in Day of Anger.
- Young Guns and Young Guns II have Billy the Kid as the personification of this trope.
- Cotton and his gang from Once Upon a Texas Train.
- Jake in Silverado.
- Lampshaded in Cold Mountain:
Inman: I will not shoot you, but nor am I walking down that mountain looking over my shoulder for you.Bosie: That's what you call a conundrum. I tell you what I've got on my side.Inman: What have you got on your side?Bosie: The confidence of youth.
- "Turkey", one of the Dancing Kid's gang in Johnny Guitar. When Vienna (Joan Crawford) tells him he's still a boy, he tries to prove he's a man by shooting at saltshakers off a table. Johnny Guitar(Sterling Hayden) rushes in and shoots the gun out of his hand.
- Parodied in the backstory of the "Waco Kid" in Blazing Saddles: The Gunfighter Wannabe that finally managed to defeat him (and humiliated him by shooting him in the ass, turning him into The Alcoholic), was a six-year-old kid with a gun (in his defense, the Waco Kid Wouldn't Hurt a Child-the other (literal) kid just happened to exploit that).
- Bud Elder, the youngest of the Elder brothers in The Sons Of Katie Elder: a hot-headed 17 year old.
- Ironically, in The Dark Tower series, kid gunslinger Jake is not the Young Gun. That role falls to the older (twenty-something) Eddie, who otherwise fits the part to a T.
- However, it is arguable that Jake becomes this with training (In book 6 he out-draws a cop), and Roland laments that Eddie and Susan are too old for them to ever become as good as the real Gunslingers of old.
- Also, Roland and his ka-tet in the flashback parts of Wizard and Glass approach this trope, although due to their exceptional training they are more self-controled and self-reliant than the norm.
- The J.T. Edson character Waco is a hard-eyed youngster of about sixteen when he is first encountered, and already has several notches on his gunbelt, all of them nominally "fair fights" but several, as he later admits, for no good reason at all. He reforms after being pulled out from in front of a cattle stampede.
Live Action TV
- The Wandering Dogs, Oliver, Charles and Nina in Rose Guns Days. They work for the mafia organisation Primavera and dream of becoming legends like their mentor Wayne Uedera. While they rarely actually use guns, they prove to be very talented in their own fields and succeed in several dangerous missions. It doesn't end well for Oliver.
- Gordito in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja subverts or parodies this trope, being very capable and badass as the Kid Sidekick to a ninja-doctor and occasionally fighting alongside said doctor's Crazy-Prepared ninja family.
- Fievel daydreams about being a Young Gun at the beginning of An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, complete with his hero Wylie Burp telling him to get out while he still can, and Fievel blatantly disobeying him and shooting out a gang of villainous cats.
- Boba Fett in Star Wars: The Clone Wars oh so very much. Eventually he becomes a leader of a group of older bounty hunters.
- Unfortunately Truth in Television sometimes.
- Billy the Kid: The infamous outlaw have been the first infamous example of this trope. From age 17 on he committed a few murders and was shot dead himself at age 21.
- Lyle and Erik Menendez, two 21 and 18 year old brothers from a rich family, who murdered their own parents in 1989. They are still in prison as of this day.
- Every year there's a high school massacre somewhere on Earth. Usually in the USA, but there have been reports in other countries too.