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Fastest Gun in the West

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Lucky Luke, proving that the rumor about him shooting faster than his own shadow is Not Hyperbole.

There was 40 feet between them when they stopped to make their play
And the swiftness of The Ranger is still talked about today.
Texas Red had not cleared leather 'fore a bullet fairly ripped
And The Ranger's aim was deadly with the big iron on his hip
(Big Iron on his hip...)

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 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 than a Showdown at High Noon- being known for being unbeatable in a fair fight tends to motivate would-be opponents to fight unfairly.

A subtrope of The Gunslinger. Compare World's Strongest Man, World's Best Warrior and Fastest Thing Alive.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Afro Samurai. The reason why everyone is willing to risk death for the Number One and Two Headbands.
  • City Hunter:
    • Ryo Saeba 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).
    • In the anime he was outdrew by an opponent, who was using a gun considered bad for a quick draw and yet was still a little faster, but he still won by shooting the opponent's bullet and then the opponent while he was freaking out about that.
  • 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.
  • Jotaro Kujo of Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders, being partially based on the likeness of John Wayne, goes all-in on this aesthetic despite using a completely different 'weapon' (a Lightning Bruiser Fighting Spirit rather than a gun), and even namedrops it in his final battle with DIO. His default pose when manifesting Star Platinum is with his hand at his hip, and indeed he is capable of striking from a neutral position faster than most villains can even perceive. It's telling that the anime adaptation uses sound effects similar to that of automatic shotgun blasts when he throws a punch. And on occasion, several more. This is taken even further once he discovers he has the ability to stop time, at which point he can strike in literally no time at all.
  • Most blaster fights in Leijiverse end in seconds, with Cosmo Dragoon holders (Captain Harlock, Queen Emeraldas, and sometimes Tetsuro) being The Dreaded for having the fastest draw.
  • Vash the Stampede from Trigun. He is able to fire three shots so fast, that they sound like just one.

    Comic Books 
  • Jonah Hex has this reputation. Jonah himself allows that U.S. Marshal J.D. Hart (an occasional ally of Jonah's) might be a fraction faster.
  • Justice Riders, an Elseworld with Western versions of the Justice League, had, of course, Wallace "Kid Flash" West as the fastest gun in the West.
  • The title character of Lucky Luke, created by Morris. As pictured in the page image, he is faster than his own shadow. Fortunately for his enemies, he is also quite a fan of Blasting It Out of Their Hands. He takes this one step further, apparently able to reload faster than his own shadow too.
    Lucky Luke: [one-shot derringer in hand, four bullets in the other] It's over Daltons, you know I reload faster than you can shoot.
  • Hurricane, a Western villain in the Marvel Universe, has this an actual superpower. He has superspeed but can no longer run due to an ankle injury. It still leaves him with a lightning-fast draw.
  • An Italian Mickey Mouse Comic Universe story featured an ancestor of Goofy (or a relative of an ancestor) as this. How fast was he? Well, in his old age (with him admitting he's not as good as he was in his prime) he's shown fighting five opponents... And shooting them eight times each in less than a second. This being a Disney comic the Goofy relative only shot away their belts and let them run away in terror, but he still shot five guys eight times each in less than a second.
    • For context, he's firing at well over 2,500 rounds a minute - a rate of fire only achievable in real life by rotary machine guns, standard single-barrel weapons having never gotten past 2000rpm. And he's hitting every shot.
  • One of these appeared during a montage of various gimmicky hitmen sent to kill The Punisher. Apparently he's so fast that he was able to outdraw three State Troopers, then dodge a bullet fired from the fourth before shooting him dead. How does Frank deal with such a demonstrable badass? With an Uzi.
    "Dodged a bullet. But not thirty."
  • Tex Willer is incredibly fast, to the point the only one who could beat him had a trick holster that allowed to shoot without drawing... And Tex, having been shot in the right arm, challenged him again and won with his off hand before going to be cured.

    Comic Strips 
  • A The Far Side comic parodied this with a strip about the best ping-pong player in the West.
    Veteran: Well kid, ya beat me — and now every punk packin' a paddle and tryin' to make a name for himself will come lookin' for you! ...Welcome to Hell, kid.
  • 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 more serious storyline had Hipshot Percussion earn unwanted attention after a shootout he was in got publicized (and massively exaggerated), and a lot of would-bes came after him for the fame. They end up faking Hipshot's defeat and death, and Rick tells the 'winner', "Congratulations. Now everyone will be gunning for you instead."

    Film — 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.
    Woody: Etch, you've been working on that draw! Fastest knobs in the West!

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In 3:10 to Yuma (2007), 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.
  • Marty McFly's skill at the arcade title "Wild Gunman" translates to actual gunfighting in Back to the Future Part III.
  • Arguably subverted in the opening vignette of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, in which Buster is bested by a young man who challenges him
    "I should have seen this coming. Can't be Top Dog forever."
  • Jim the Waco Kid in Blazing Saddles is a ludicrously extreme version. He can draw, fire six shots, and reholster 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 six-year-old; disheartened, Jim dropped his guns and turned away... and "the little bastard shot me in the ass."
  • In Django Unchained, Schultz tells Django that one day he'll be called "The Fastest Gun In The South".
  • Dollars Trilogy: The Man With No Name. Slightly subverted in that, while he is undoubtedly quick, he will use mirrors, decoys and improvised body armor to his advantage to get the drop on his opponents.
  • In The Fastest Gun Alive, Vinnie Harold is obsessed with being the fastest gun alive and hunts down anyone rumoured to be faster than him and challenges them to gunfights. While hiding in Cross Creek,he hears that local storekeeper George Temple might be faster than him and becomes determined to force him into a gunfight. The trouble is while his father taught him the quick draw art, George has never been in a gunfight or killed a man before.
  • The title character from the movie The Gunfighter.
  • 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.
  • In Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Western comedy My Name Is Nobody, the title character Nobody is the fastest gun in the West. He can fire three shots so that the bandits hear only one, and can draw and reholster his gun after letting go of a saddle on his shoulder before the saddle can slide. And he does this several times in a row, too, causing the bad guys' eyes to go popping out of their heads.
    • 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??!!
  • Several characters in Sergio Leone westerns, but particularly 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).
  • 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 John Herod's way of weeding out any potential threats to his power over the town, as the final rounds are always played to the death and he has never lost.
  • RoboCop might be the fastest gun in Detroit 20 Minutes into the Future, thanks to his predictive software and cybernetic reflexes. Your move, creep.
  • Deconstructed in Silverado when one of the protagonists faces off with a quick-drawer who pulls and shoots his gun so ridiculously fast — without even trying to aim — that he misses every single shot. Meanwhile, our Older and Wiser hero simply stays calm, loads his pistol as bullets zip around him, takes aim, and kills his opponent with one shot.
  • In Support Your Local Gunfighter, it's a man named "Swifty" Morgan.
  • 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.
  • Ned Nederlander from ¡Three 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.
  • 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 and dies. William Munny later says he was simply lucky during his career of gunfights, when the writer Little Bill asks how Munny managed to gun down a group of men.

  • 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.
  • 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 ambidextrous 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 in 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.
  • 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.
  • In Rob Grant's solo Red Dwarf novel, Backwards, in addition to The Cat's example (see Live-Action TV below), Death in the western simulation is an extremely quick draw. While talking, he draws, fires, and reholsters his revolver in the middle of saying a single syllable word. He hits The Cat in the head.
  • Played With in River of Teeth. During their introductions round in the Harriet Inn, Houndstooth introduces Cal Hotchkiss as the "fastest gun in the West" to the rest of their Caper Crew, only for Cal to insist that he's the fastest gun anywhere. When Cal then immediately questions why Houndstooth is the boss, Houndstooth deals with him faster than Cal can blink, establishing who really is the fastest anything anywhere.
  • Jon Shannow, The Jerusalem Man, from David Gemmell's Stones of Power 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • "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.
  • 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.
  • 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 series finale he finally faces a bad guy who is just as fast as him and narrowly escapes getting killed because the other guy prefers to go for head shots which means that the chest-aiming Raylan beats him to the trigger pull
  • In the 1950s series Lawman, Marshal Dan Troop (to his surprise) finds himself outdrawn by a professional gunfighter. While recovering from his wounds, the Marshal realises that while the gunman is faster, he doesn't have time to aim correctly, so he must goad his target into coming closer. Marshal 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!
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "A Fistful of Datas", a Holodeck Malfunction leaves Worf, Troy, and Worf's son Alexander are trapped in a simulation of the Wild West where all the characters have turned into Data thanks to the same malfuction, with his superhuman speed and reflexes. So the entire gang of desperadoes that are the simulation's antagonists are all the fastest guns in The West, and the heroes must NOT get into any gunplay, as, per usual, the safeties are off.
  • Deconstructed in the Phil Silvers-Jack Benny special The Slowest Gun In The West.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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
  • "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People opens with the line "Robert's got a quick hand" and compares him to a cowboy with his dad's six-shooter and a hand-rolled cigarette hanging out of his mouth. He proceeds to use that six-shooter to kill his classmates at school, daring them to "outrun my gun".
  • Texas Red in "Big Iron" by Marty Robbins is convinced he's this, having killed 20 men sent after him in various duels. Unfortunately for him, the nameless Ranger with the "big iron" proves to be his better.
  • Parodied in Tom Cardy's "The Ballad of Smokin' Joe Rudeboy" in which the titular character wins every Quick Draw he's ever been challenged to despite the fact that he doesn't use guns — rather, he flips off his opponents before they have the chance to draw their own weapons. He is eventually defeated by his own daughter, whose middle finger is even faster.
    He got that name because his finger burns hot like the sun
    And leaves you smokin' when he's done
    It's just as well that Joe is fast as hell
    Because in every duel he won I'm not sure Joe knew that they had a literal gun

  • 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.
  • The Six Shooter: Although Britt Ponset always tries to play down his skill as a gunman, he is known throughout the west. In "The Stampede", one character describes him as "the fastest gun west of Kansas City".

    Video Games 
  • Parodied in Call of Juarez: Gunslinger:
    Steve: Who was George Curry?
    Silas: Fastest gun in the Hole-In-The-Wall Gang. Except Butch and Sundance, o' course. And Kid Curry... and maybe Elzy Lay...
  • Fallout 4's Nuka-World add-on features a Wild West-styled theme park zone, complete with a nigh-invulnerable robot challenging the player to a stereotypical gunslinger duel. Beating him leads to the player being referred to as this trope verbatim.
  • Fallout: New Vegas, one of the companions, Raul Tejada, if encouraged to return to the life of a vaquero, gains a bonus to firerate with revolvers and lever-action rifles.
  • In Fate/Grand Order, Billy the Kid's Noble Phantasm isn't his weapon (which aside from it belonging to a Heroic Spirit is just a Colt M1877) so much as it is the conceptualization of him always being the one to shoot first.
  • 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.
  • In Live A Live, The Sundown Kid's backstory was that he was a legendary gunslinger whose skill led to many people challenging him. Eventually this ended up leading to his hometown being ruined and him deciding to wander the West, setting a bounty on himself in hopes of finding someone capable of killing him.
  • 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 opponent's gun and hat without killing him.
    • Landon Ricketts circa 1895. He even jokes about 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.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2:
    • Arthur Morgan. His skills are just as good, if not better than, John's.
    • The legendary gunslingers Arthur tracks down in "The Noblest Of Men, And A Woman" are noticeably quicker on the draw than anyone else he can duel. The end of this quest chain involves a showdown against the the famed left-hand draw Jim "Boy" Calloway, whose insane reflexes leave little time to react, if any at all.
    • The absolute king of this trope, though, would be Micah Bell — he's such a quick draw, he can No-Sell DEAD-EYE.


    Western Animation 
  • Huckleberry Hound appeared in a cartoon where he's the fastest gun. Trouble is, nobody will socialize with him from intimidation. When Huck bests an outlaw aiming for the title of fastest gun, he offers to surrender his title and guns and give it to the outlaw.
  • Looney Tunes: The Bugs Bunny cartoon "Hare Trigger" has Yosemite Sam (in his debut) challenging Bugs to draw a gun in one second. Bugs does—on a sketch pad. In his western adventures, Sam has a penchant for saying how quick he is on the trigger.
  • Lucky Luke: As in the comics, Luke shoots faster than his own shadow in the Animated Adaptations (Lucky Luke, The New Adventures of Lucky Luke).
    • In Kid Lucky, Lucky's not quite this yet, but "The Fastest Slingshot in the West" is a great enough start.
  • Quick Draw McGraw is billed as the fastest gun in the west. That he is, but he just doesn't know where to aim it.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars introduced the Duros bounty hunter Cad Bane who became the galaxy's top bounty hunter during the titular conflict following the death of Jango Fett. Taking the bounty hunter Western-motif up to eleven, he is consistently depicted as the single greatest quick-draw artist in the galaxy. Bane gets into numerous standoff duels over multiple series and has yet to lose a single one. Even in The Book of Boba Fett, where he is well into his old age, he bests both Cobb Vanth and his deputy at the same time and later easily out-draws Boba Fett despite the latter already having his weapon out.