Main Showdown At High Noon Discussion

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05:00:07 PM Sep 3rd 2017
edited by Shieldage
Unless anyone objects, I'm replacing 'Version A' with a link to Ten Paces And Turn. There were only six examples of Version A on the page and they were all duplicates of examples already on the other trope, plus a well-written Real Life section mainly about Ten Paces And Turn rather than Western Showdowns.

Previous Examples of Ten Paces and Turn found here:

    Comic Books 
  • The Tenderfoot has one at the climax, but the titular tenderfoot, an Imperturbable Pom, uses the ten-steps-and-turn-method, which completely destabilizes the villain, even moreso when his shot appears to go wild. On seeing the Englishman yet to fire, the villain begs for mercy, after which the Englishman reveals he'd been hit in the arm, and the pain was simply unbearable. (Reworded)
  • One duel has one guy yelling out words that rhyme with "Draw!" to check the other guy's hearing. (Duplicate)
  • One duel has the loser claim he was certain the turnaround was supposed to be after eleven steps. (Duplicate)


    Video Games 
  • Live A Live has one of the A variety in its Wild West chapter. The protagonist and his nemesis each take five steps (on account of the small viewing area), draw and shoot... at two different outlaws hiding on the sidelines. (Duplicate)

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of The Simpsons featured Homer slapping people everywhere he went challenging them to duels to avoid having to pay for things. Unfortunately when he challenges an old fashioned Texas cowboy to a duel, the man naturally accepted. At the end of the episode they finally duel with the customary ten steps when the Texan is distracted by a pie Marge cooked. Homer, in a move that was idiotic even for him, reminded the man that the duel was not over. The Texan apologized for his rudeness and promptly shot Homer in the shoulder. (Duplicate)

    Real Life 
  • Ironically, in matter of historical fact gun duels have been more common among upper-class "gentlemen" who put great value on personal honor, rather than the lower-class characters who dominate Westerns. Perhaps the most famous example of such a duel is the 1804 duel in which American Vice President Aaron Burr killed Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. The difference here is that dueling pistols were not at all accurate nor meant to be accurate — the point of the duel was to prove you cared enough about the grievance to risk your life. That Aaron Burr actually hit and killed Hamilton was a freak occurrence.
    • According to the book Founding Brothers, the two witnesses they had brought along agreed in writing that Hamilton fired first and missed, then Burr fired two or three seconds later, fatally wounding Hamilton. Whether Hamilton missed deliberately or Burr intended to miss but hit by accident is a matter for speculation.
  • Showdowns were scheduled for high noon (yes, many really were) so that neither participant would have more of the sun in their eyes than the other, and it'd be a fair draw.
    • In an episode covering duelling, the documentary series "Tales of the Gun" indicated that high quality duelling pistols were in fact made to be extremely accurate (or at least as accurate as unrifled flintlocks and percussion cap pistols could be).
      • The important thing about dueling pistols was not that they were inaccurate on purpose, but that they were always from the same dueling set, and were never zeroed (meaning fired from before to determine where exactly bullets are going relative to the visible sight line). To zero a dueling pistol, as was said, would be murder. The pairs were provided by one of the nobles (these were generally very finely made and expensive), and loaded by a third party (dueling aides). Actual, pre-sighted military handguns (such as army Tula pistols in case of Russian officers) were used only in extreme circumstances.
    • The "honor" component changed the playing field somewhat from how western "quick draw" shootouts are usually depicted. Andrew Jackson once fought a duel in which he deliberately allowed his opponent to fire first, so that if he missed, he would be compelled by honor to remain still and allow Jackson (taking more time to aim properly) to return fire. Jackson was hit in the chest, but non-fatally, and his return shot killed his opponent. This was considered a dirty trick, though.
      • Generally, duelists could purposefully raise or lower the chances of hitting, depending on their intentions, the gravity of the insult, personal beliefs and other factors. "Rules of engagement" varied from long distance, about 20 yards (very low chance of injury); to fire-at-will while closing (a gamble between getting the first shot and missing, or waiting and shooting from the "barrier" at 10 yards); to the extreme, suicidal "handhold" duel with participants holding the same handkerchief with off-hands. Another rule said that a duelist must fire when the barrier is reached; that after mutual misses, additional shots should be taken; and also that an intentional miss is honorable only after weathering a miss (or even a hit) from the opponent. The choice of aiming point was also a matter of intentions: non-lethal wounds were common - although not guaranteed, because of the inherent inaccuracy of dueling sets. At certain points (before the duel, after mutual shots) the parties could, through their aides, reach a peaceful resolution - a duel's main goal was to resolve a conflict in an honorable manner.
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