The ways of an Oriental view
The sheriff and his buddies with their samurai swords
You can even hear the music at night
The earliest association between samurai and gunslinger tropes was probably Akira Kurosawa, who modeled several of his samurai films after American Westerns. Fittingly, several of his films were remade as actual Westerns (e.g. Yojimbo into A Fistful of Dollars, and Seven Samurai into The Magnificent Seven). This helped tie in the close association between these eras.
Also, Rōnin and The Gunslinger seem to occupy the same place in the stories of their respective cultures. Both are essentially an updated version of the Knight Errant (or rather, Ronin serve as a bridge of sorts between the Knight Errant and The Gunslinger, having at one point been the contemporaries of both), drifters with Mysterious Pasts Walking the Earth, dueling rivals, fighting bandits, embodying stoicism and self-reliance, and aspiring to self-discipline, often while struggling with their inner demons.
The similarities between the idealized forms of the Bushido code and the Code of the West are undeniable, as well- Placing honor and duty above all, protecting the weak, killing only when required but unflinchingly doing so when it is, valuing equally intelligence, Heroic Resolve, and physical ability. This makes it only natural that the two characters should begin to blend together in an East-meets-West world. The fact that they're both iconic warrior-types of their respective nations is also a plus.
Note that a cowboy moving to old Japan, or a samurai or kung fu master moving to the Old West, does not count. Such situations often lead to this trope, which is about explicitly blending the two — but not always.
- Justice from Afro Samurai at first seems like a straight example of The Gunslinger, fighting Afro's father (who is using a katana) to a standstill with two pistols in one of the most badass fights of the series. He eventually plays this straight when it is revealed that he has a hidden third arm that wields a katana.
- Andy, the crazy cowboy from the "Cowboy Funk" episode of Cowboy Bebop decides to become a samurai (complete with katana) at the end of the episode, after Spike beats him.
- In the Captain Harlock spinoff Gun Frontier, the Old West incarnation of Tochiro is one of these. He shows some traits of this in other entries in the franchise like Cosmo Warrior Zero.
- GUN×SWORD which takes place on a Space Western planet where cowboys and mecha roam. The protagonist Van is a cowboy who wields a metallic cloth that can turn into a sword, with its hilt looking an awful lot like a gun handle with a trigger included. Plus he pilots an Armor that uses a sword. In addition, his rival uses a gun that looks like a Japanese sword handle, with his two very long magazines kept in his belt, making it look like he's carrying a daisho.
- Sazanami in Naruto is a former swordsmith turned bounty hunter. His katana has a hilt shaped like a rifle stock and he wears a cowboy hat. In the English dub, he's voiced by Steve Blum and gets an Actor Allusion for that other bounty hunter he played.
- Azuma Mutsu's arc from Shura no Toki is arguably this. Azuma, while isn't a samurai or a cowboy, is a Japanese man thrown into a cowboy/frontier setting and ended up mixing characteristics from both sides.
- The prequel chapter of Silver Spoon either manages to be an example or an aversion, depending on how you look at it, since the story centers on the lives of the actual Samurai Cowboys (and cowgirls) of historical Hokkaido. After the conflicts that began the Meiji period, many samurai families were driven north to the province of Hokkaido, where they began new lives as farmer pioneers (with all the attendant tropes...including an unfortunate fate for the native Ainu tribes).
- The one-off antagonist Rai-Dei the Blade of the Gung-Ho Guns in Trigun is basically a samurai on a Wild West planet. He is treated as outrageous and insane. He dodges bullets. He wears a fringed leather vest with hakama and his katana can fire its blade if necessary. In the manga, he does all of this on rocket skates.
- The title character from the Image Comics comic Cowboy Ninja Viking is essentially one of these (just ninja instead of samurai) also crossed with a Viking.
- The Judge Dredd Alternity special had Shimura appear as one of these in The Wild West, helping a family of former slaves by fighting the Angel gang, who had been slavers and fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War until they'd been locked up by Dredd (who appears briefly as a Union General) after the war.
- The Comic Book Shaolin Cowboy.
- The Ultraverse: Tugun, a member of the villain group TNTNT, is a samurai who wields two guns instead of two swords. He combines the ethos of the Samurai with the tactics of The Gunslinger.
- Bunraku features a gunslinger without a gun and a samurai without a sword as its two heroes.
- The Good, the Bad, the Weird, being a remake/adaptation of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly set in Manchuria.
- The Last Samurai goes the other way around. Nathan Algren is a veteran of the Great Sioux War of 1876, goes to Japan and learns the ways of the samurai.
- The Charles Bronson film Red Sun is about a Wild West Outlaw who must help a samurai (played by none other than Toshiro Mifune) recover a stolen sword.
- Shanghai Noon merges Western tropes with kung fu action - not Japanese, but Tropes Are Flexible. At one point a character uses a sheriff's badge as a throwing star.
- Star Wars, having a chronic habit of mixing pre-existing settings like gumbo, often features gunslingers like Han Solo teaming up with Shaolin monk/Knight Templar/samurai like Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke Skywalker is the closest thing to a direct Samurai Cowboy in the series, equally at ease with a lightsabre or a gun by the time of Return of the Jedi.
- Sukiyaki Western Django takes place in the town of Yuta, Nevata, which is a mashup of Old West and feudal Japan, and features a gunslinger entering a town dominated by two rival gangs.
- The Warrior's Way deals with an Asian assassin who settles in the Old West and is ultimately tracked down by his past associates. Essentially, it's Cowboys Versus Ninjas.
- While not featuring any literal cowboys, The Wolverine definitely evokes this trope, with Wolverine filling the role of the grizzled gunslinger who journeys to Japan and battles the machinations of an ancient Yakuza clan. For bonus points, the Big Bad styles himself after samurai and bases his Powered Armor on their outfits, meaning the final battle is effectively a duel between a cowboy and samurai.
- The Heavy of Yojimbo, Unosuke, returns to the gangster-led village after a bit of wandering. He wears a katana with a pinstriped kimono, and uses a cavalry revolver as his weapon of choice.
- Shuriken Sentai Ninninger features a team of Japanese ninja, and their Sixth Ranger is a cowboy who is an ascended ninja fan. Taken to Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot levels: he's a cowboy ninja whose main weapon is a guitar-sword, his Transformation Trinket is based on a cheeseburger, and the helmet to his suit has a cowboy hat.
- Power Rangers Ninja Steel has his counterpart, Levi Weston, be a country singer to justify the above but changes his morpher to something less ridiculous.
- Hanaryo in Westworld becomes this when she leaves Shogunworld with Maeve's party, adopting apropos gunslinger attire and a gun for Westworld but also keeping her katana and bow handy. Given that she's also a Host this makes her a Samurai Cowboy Robot.
- Deadlands allows for these kinds of characters with a little artistic license. A character with a saber (refluffed as a katana), martial arts, and a trusty revolver is so easy to make that it can be done during character creation.
- In Pathfinder you can do this fairly easily by multiclassing between samurai and gunslinger, or by focusing entirely on one class and just getting the necessary proficiencies to use the other's weapons.
- Assassin's Creed: Rogue: Frontiersman outfit + Katana = this, effectively turning Shay Cormac into an Assassin/Templar privateer cowboy samurai.
- Borderlands 2: Zer0 got a Tombstone-themed head and skin for Community Day.◊ Given that the game itself is a Space Western, it's quite fitting. He also has Vladof class mods built around improving his skills with pistols.
- The Player Character in Fallout: New Vegas can easily be this; wearing cowboy hats and dusters while wielding a katana, all while adhering to a strict code of honor. This is even lampshaded by the achievement for dealing damage with melee weapons, 'New Vegas Samurai.'
- The picture for the achivement is the Vault Boy dressed up as Buddy the protagonist of the postapocalyptic movie Six String Samurai where he tries to get to Lost Vegas and take the throne of rock that Elvis Presley left behind after forty rockin' years as the King of rock. Therefore its most likely a movie reference
- The Fallout world in general could be described as a post-apocalyptic American version of the Sengoku Period mixed with The American Civil War: Numerous factions, from the NCR to the Brotherhood of Steel to the Enclave, are all fighting each other for control of the Wasteland, each trying to reunite and rebuild America in their own vision throughout the series, fitting with the Arc Words "War never changes."
- Final Fantasy:
- Shadow in Final Fantasy VI is a Rōnin ninja with a whistling, jaw-harp-twanging Spaghetti Western theme and the appropriate personality.
- Both Cloud and Barret in Final Fantasy VII have very similar backstories (hometown gets burned down due to Shinra's evil, a charismatic old friend does a HeelFace Turn and becomes The Rival, vowing revenge...) but Cloud's takes place in a little rural town with swordsmen going off into the mountains at the orders of their master, while Barret's takes place in a desert/mining town with rogue gunfighters, infinite deserts and whistling Spaghetti Western music.
- Gravey from Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is pretty much this trope. The very first commentary he gets during his introduction is that his weapons of choice, a pair of katanas, doesn't seem to fit his appearance of a stereotypical Western gunslinger. His bio in the game explains that Gravey gets bored really easily and is constantly changing and mastering weapons to keep boredom at bay.
- One of Lumisa's optional outfits in La-Mulana 2 invokes this, giving her a pink kimono top with a cowboy hat, leather chaps, boots, and shorts. It's even called Kimono Cowgirl.
- Erron Black from Mortal Kombat X: He is an Old Western style gunslinger from another dimension who also use a Tarkatan blade sword.
- Red Steel 2. The main character is a duster-wearin', sword-swingin', pistol-packin' hombre with a very Nice Hat. He is in fact from an entire TRIBE of them, the Kusagari.
- Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman stars a gunslinger who was trained by and subsequently became a samurai.
- Gemini Sunrise from Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love is a Texas cowgirl right down to having a super-effective horse and a Colt Peacemaker on her belt. She also carries a katana, and was trained by an exiled samurai.
- The appropriately named Samurai Western, starring a samurai traveling the old west trying to find his brother.
- This Game Mod for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, replacing Wolf with Sheriff Woody from Toy Story of all people.
- Jack in Wild ARMs 1 has more than a bit of this—he wears a classic Western duster, jeans, and cowboy boots with a hat to match(in out-of-game art), but is a Master Swordsman specialising in Iaido. Of course, his past is as something more like a European Knight in Shining Armor, and his current role before being swept up in the plot is more Indiana Jones than Man With No Name...
- The Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "Zuko Alone," complete with a Showdown at High Noon. Though Zuko uses Chinese-style swords, the effect is the same.
- Often utilized in Samurai Jack; the title character would often take the role of the Lone Stranger who comes to help a town in need.
- Kanan Jarus from Star Wars Rebels has outright been described as such by the creators, adding that he's as likely to shoot someone with a blaster as he's to use his lightsaber. He lived up to this spectacularly in the Season 1 finale duel against the Inquisitor, utilising Sword and Gun by simultaneously using his lightsaber with Ezra's blaster-lightsaber to keep his opponent off-balance.
- One episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) is basically a Whole Plot Reference to The Last Challenge, with Leo playing the sheriff and the villain playing the punk gunslinger kid who calls him out. To drive the point home, the episode starts with Splinter watching a Western (implied to be The Last Challenge) and comparing the main character to a "samurai of the Old West".
- Wielding twin katanas as well as a gun, and being an explosives expert and being a lone ranger type, Transformers: Prime Wheeljack could well be said to be one of these.