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Showdown at High Noon

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"It's high noon..."
Cole Cassidy, Overwatch

The Era: The Wild West.

The Place: In the middle of an empty, dusty road outside a saloon or other structure.

The Players: Two gunmen, almost Always Male, are approaching from opposite ends of the road, complete with holsters and fully loaded six-shooters. Bonus points if one hat is black, one hat is white, and at least one tumbleweed goes by.

The Time: The instant the clock strikes high noon.note 

The Music: You know the one.note 

The Hero (or Anti-Hero with No Name Given and a Badass Longcoat) and the Big Bad stand at opposite ends of the street, hands hovering over their holsters. The camera cuts between their faces (and eyes), their twitching fingers, the faces of the frightened crowd, and of the combatants framed by the opponent's legs. Long seconds pass. On a cue known only to the gunfighters — except for the clock striking 12 — hands slap leather and shots ring out.

The outcome is never certain, and any number of Westerns, even in the pre-Post Modern days of the Fifties, played with this trope without subverting it. Will someone cheat? Will one get the drop on the other, but not fire? Will both draw, and reach a Mexican Standoff? Will one intentionally miss, shoot the gun out of the other's hand, or simply gun him down? Or will some third party change the dynamic completely? Or perhaps they will both be shot.

A Dead Horse Trope (no pun intended) right up there with Chained to a Railway, but many works that featured it before it became cliche are still around. Its familiarity, of course, makes it a favorite parody. In said parody, one character is required to say, "This town ain't big enough for the two of us." Quite rarely will it occur to them that some urban expansion could solve all their problems.

The Sword Counterpart to this trope is the Single-Stroke Battle.

Examples for the major classic variation, where The Hero (or Anti-Hero etc.) and the Big Bad stand back to back in the street. They step forward ten paces, the spurs on their heels clinking with every step. At the tenth step, they turn. The shoot out begins... Should mosey on over to Ten Paces and Turn.

See also Ennio Morricone Pastiche, Quick Draw.


    open/close all folders 

  • Air New Zealand Safety Videos: The Western portion of "Safety in Hollywood" has Anna Faris and Rhys Darby in a showdown.
    "Or? Or what?"

    Anime and Manga 
  • Gun Blaze West had a few as well. Some with some interesting variations.
  • Usopp is roped into one of these in episode 50 of One Piece aptly named "Usopp vs Daddy The Father! Showdown at High Noon!"
  • Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl does this in the Galactic Battles episode "Where No Togepi Has Gone Before!". During the scene before Brock's Happiny and the evil Togepi fight, the background is a desert, and then, after a few seconds, the two Pokémon clash with one another.
  • Played for laughs in The Prince of Tennis with chibi versions of the characters.
  • B-ko and Gail face off in one in Project Ako Uncivil War with her utilizing a gun while he uses his magic.
  • Vash the Stampede found himself pulled into a couple of these in Trigun. They never ended as planned.
  • Tohru and Elma have such a duel in one of the Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid Blu-Ray specials, with the setup being three paces, turn, then shoot. Tohru, however, derails it by immediately turning around and shooting Elma in the back. Kobayashi admits that she knew Tohru would do that.
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure: The main heroes and villains tend to do this as their final battles ramp up. Most famous being the confrontation between Jotaro Kujo and DIO at the end of Part 3. In the English dub, Jotaro even says this:
    Jotaro: If this were the wild west, the hero would say, "It's high noon." Now get up off the ground and draw your piece, DIO. You're getting one shot.
    • Josuke Higashitaka and Yoshikage Kira do this perfectly in their final clash in Part 4.
      Kira: Enough! I'm ending you!
      Josuke: Then, bring it on. Call out your Deadly Queen!
  • Moriarty the Patriot: Billy, when explaining his backstory to Sherlock and William, describes his final faceoff with Garrett as a quick-draw pistol duel at noon.

    Comic Books 
  • Hitman has Tommy go up against a telepathic gunslinger who can and will outdraw anyone due to reading their minds. The Big Bad mockingly asks how Tommy's going to beat that, Nat obligingly provides the answer: have your buddy blow his head off while he's not looking.
  • The "Luna-1" arc of JudgeDredd had Judge Dredd working as the sheriff of the very western themed Luna-1 colony on the moon. An assassination attempt had Dredd facing off against a Robo-Slinger, a cowboy looking robot who could draw and fire at lightning speeds. Dredd, despite having to drawn from his boot holster and not his hip, still manages to outdraw the robot and fire a kill shot. The robot, being a sore loser, then tries to blow Dredd away with a missile before being destroyed.
  • The story "Low Moon" by Jason inexplicably switches out the traditional gunfight between the Sheriff and his black-hat-wearing nemesis Bill McGill with a game of chess.
  • Lucky Luke had a few variations on the theme.
    • One gag has multiple pairs of people waiting in line for their shootouts. That is, lined up behind each other. On all four branches of a crossroads.
    • The Tenderfoot sets up one at the climax, but the titular tenderfoot, an Imperturbable Englishman, calls out the trope and insists on the ten-steps-and-turn-method instead, which completely destabilizes the villain, a veteran of the quick-draw form, 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.
    • One story had an I Just Want to Be Badass guy ask Luke for help impressing his fiancee by winning a gunfight. Unfortunately, his aim is so bad Luke has to duck despite standing behind him. In the end when he challenges Luke, he ends up shooting down a criminal, who was robbing a bank behind him, completely by accident, and this reputation is enough to keep desperadoes out of town ever after.
  • A variant near the end of Serenity: Leaves on the Wind. The crew drops the Operative off on a planet, and Zoe follows him into the woods and throws him a pistol, telling him that despite him helping save her, he still killed her husband and that debt can't be repaid. The scene ends with them standing under the trees waiting to draw. Next panel Zoe comes back to the ship, but it's not stated whether she killed the Operative.
  • Superman: Any confronatation with space cowboy Terra-Man is almost guaranteed to end in one of these. In World's Finest #261, he and The Penguin hypnotise Superman and Batman into having one.

    Film — Animated 
  • An American Tail: Fievel Goes West had one, though it was at sunset and not at noon.
  • Being a heartfelt tribute to classic westerns, Rango features one between Rango and The Dragon at the climax of the story, but before it can actually take place Rango springs a trap. (The Dragon being armed as he was, Rango wouldn't have had a chance at range.)

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Back to the Future Part III. Marty asks Buford if he wants their showdown to happen at high noon, but Buford insists that he "does [his] killing before breakfast." Ultimately, the film provides a Double Subversion of the trope when Marty refuses to take his place in the duel, but is forced to anyway. However, he still refuses to actually shoot Buford, relying instead on a Bulletproof Vest ploy. (Maybe that makes it a Triple Subversion.)
  • In Bad Day at Black Rock, the showdown between the protagonist and the antagonist is set to take place at midnight. However, their actual confrontation takes place out of town thanks to a bit of subterfuge.
  • Inexperienced Killer Carl attempts to force Clay Morgan into one at the end of Black Patch. The marshal foils him by simply refusing to draw.
  • The first segment of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs features the eponymous gunslinger participating in one.
  • Inverted in BloodRayne II: Deliverance. The vampires controlling the town tell Rayne, "You've got until High Midnight to get out of town."
  • Carry On Cowboy (a spoof of Cowboys and Indians films) had this as the climax between the Rumpo Kid and an English plumber. It's lampshaded as a dead-horse trope much earlier in the movie by The Judge and the plumber.
    Plumber: High Noon? Why high noon?
    The Judge: I know. I told them it's overused as well.
  • The climatic showdown between Guerrero and Red in Dead in Tombstone takes place at midnight rather than high noon, but otherwise follows the trope.
  • The kung fu film Death Valley has a variant that doesn't involve using guns, when two heroes decide to duel each other in the titular valley at the peak of noon, after their confrontation the night before ends in a stalemate.
  • Draw!: The final showdown between Holland and Starret takes place first thing in the morning rather than at noon, but otherwise fits the bill. Except that they have rigged it between the two of them to all Holland to fake his death.
  • In Ebenezer (1998) Sam Benson requests such a showdown on Christmas Day, and in the future it leaves him dead.
  • The New Old West movie Extreme Prejudice (1987) culminates with a pre-arranged shootout over the Love Interest by her suitors, Texas Ranger Jack Benteen and his childhood friend turned drug kingpin Cash Bailey.
  • In the unauthorized Spaghetti Western remake of Yojimbo, A Fistful of Dollars (1964), the man with no name faces down the baddest tough-guy in town. As in the original, the bad guy has the most sophisticated weapon in town, this time a repeating rifle.
  • Devlin challenges Langley to one in Ghost Town (1988). Langley wins, only to learn that Devlin is Immune to Bullets.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly has a three-way showdown. In a cemetery. It also provides a Standard Snippet for these sorts of scenes.
    • It also features a subversion in the opening moments of the film. Three men dismount on opposite ends of a dead silent little town, two of them traveling together. They walk ominously towards each other, eventually stopping almost within arms' reach in front of a saloon. They reach for their guns, draw... and all three rush into the saloon and start shooting at Tuco, aka the Ugly.
  • In Grim Prairie Tales, Cattle Baron Horn settles who will become his new hired gun but arranging a showdown between the two remaining contenders, Colochez and Martin: the survivor getting the job. While the time of the showdown is not specified, everything else plays out according to this trope.
  • In A Gunfight, Tenneray and Cross stage a gunfight in the middle of a bullring for a crowd of paying spectators, with the winner taking all of the ticket money. The duel takes place at 4pm (with them drawing on the fourth toll of the bell) and in a deconstruction of the trope is over quickly and brutally.
  • Many films about the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (such as Gunfight at the O.K. Corral) turn it into this.
  • The Guns of Navarone. While in a firefight in some ruins, Spyros Pappadimos and a German officer find themselves facing off, each armed with a machine gun. They advance slowly toward each other and eventually start firing. Both are killed in the gun battle.
  • High Noon, despite what one would think, actively subverts this, as the hero sneaks up behind the gang of villains, gun already drawn, and yells for them to drop their guns before shooting one in the neck and leading to a tense chase. Furthermore, noon only marks the arrival of Frank Miller and co., not the showdown itself.
  • Hot Fuzz spoofed this with Angel and most of the villains at once in an idyllic English village. It quickly turned into a action move shoot-out.
  • Howard the Duck had one of those, complete with cuts between the faces and bad guy throwing the side of his Badass Longcoat back to reach for his gun more easily... Except that there was no gun - the bad guy was an interdimensional demon inhabiting the body of an innocent scientist, versus an anthropomorphic duck armed with a BFG strapped to a golf-cart.
  • Lone Hero (a modern day western) climaxes in a Quick Draw confrontation between John and Bart in the main street of Profit.
  • The final showdown between Sam Chisolm and Bartholomew Bogue in the climax of The Magnificent Seven (2016) is this. The duel occurs right after the Big Badass Battle Sequence.
  • The Matrix, in the subway station. It even had newspaper tumbleweed. Of course, given the fact that both combatants could dodge bullets like crazy, it quickly turned into a kung fu showdown rather than a gunfight.
  • Once Upon a Texas Train climaxes with a showdown between Cotton's gang of Young Guns and the combined team of retired outlaws and retired Rangers in a ghost town.
  • Once Upon a Time in the West has variety B between the hero, supporting his noose-hanging brother with his shoulders. The eerie harmonica music accompanied by this scene overlapping with the showdown is the harmonica being pushed into the hero's mouth at the time of the execution. It comes together perfectly as the hero guns the bad guy down.
  • Outland (a sci-fi remake of High Noon) has the hired killers arriving on the 12:00 shuttle.
  • In The Outlaws IS Coming!, new sheriff City Slicker Ken Cabot is forced into a showdown against seven of the nine deadly outlaws (Wild Bill Hickok and Belle Starr arrive late). Fortunately for him, the Stooges have stacked the deck in his favour.
  • Outlaw Women opens with a showdown between Peyote Pete and Chillawaka Charlie, with them agreeing to draw on the last chime of the saloon clock striking noon.
  • Petticoat Planet: A showdown between the mayor and the sheriff fizzles out when both of them discover that they forgot to load their guns. They decide to have a beer instead.
  • The film Posse had a scene where the two combatants advanced slowly, attacking with Throw-Away Guns.
  • The Quick and the Dead revolves around a quick-draw shooting competition where each round consists of two gunslingers facing each other in the main street and drawing when the town clock strikes the hour. So every round is some kind of variation of this trope.
  • Kevin Kline and Brian Dennehy in Silverado, although the time of day is never mentioned.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The climax has Sonic and Dr. Robotnik fighting on a street in Green Hill, Montana. After Sonic gains his Heroic Second Wind, Tom tells the people to clear off and let the two settle it and both Sonic and Robotnik do a variation of this where they prepare to unleash all the power they got.
  • The endings of the western spoofs Support Your Local Sheriff and Support Your Local Gunfighter are both extended parodies of this trope. The first film also has the eponymous sheriff dealing with a series of hired guns who all confront him in this fashion: "Why do these jaspers always hit town at mealtime?"
  • Swelter plays this almost completely straight, despite being set in modern day, and the characters almost certainly being aware that they are playing this trope out.
  • Terror in a Texas Town climaxes in a confrontation in the main street between Johnny and Hanson. Johnny is armed with a sixshooter, and Hanson is armed with a harpoon.
  • Three O'Clock High transports the trope into a high school, replacing the gunfight with a fistfight scheduled for after school at 3:00. The name of the film is a riff on "high noon" and "high school."
  • Tombstone: The duel between Doc Holliday and Johnny Ringo. They stand an arm's length from one another, circle slowly, and draw.
  • Subverted all to hell in an early scene of Wyatt Earp. The first gunfight of the film is between two angry drunks, staggering around about ten feet from each other and firing wildly. Both men shoot each other at about the same time, and we (and young Wyatt) are treated to the sight of one of them bleeding out from a shot to the crotch while a horse that caught a stray bullet screams in pain until it's put down.
  • Yojimbo (1961), the ronin with no name prepares for a Jidaigeki version of the showdown — problem is, his opponent has the only revolver in town.

  • Ben Snow: Realising the difficulties of bringing the murderer to trial in "Frontier Street", Ben agrees to meet him in a showdown in the main street: with Ben only having one live round in his revolver, and not knowing which chamber it is in.
  • In Castle Hangnail, when Molly challenges the Evil Sorceress Eudaimonia to reclaim the castle, Eudaimonia makes a snide comment about beauty sleep and declares they'll fight for it at noon tomorrow. The sentence "This castle isn't big enough for both of us" is uttered. Molly, however, is pragmatic enough to start her counterattack early, and a good thing too because it turns out Eudaimonia wasn't just being dramatic, she would have had a magical advantage if they'd fought at noon.
  • In the Han Solo novel Han Solo and the Lost Legacy, Han faces down legendary Gunslinger Gallandro. The two of them had been working together until Gallandro decides it's time for a showdown. Gallandro wins the quick draw and wounds Han, but then is subsequently tricked into walking with his blaster into a corridor that's a no-weapons zone enforced by automated blasters; "even Gallandro's fabulous reflexes gave him no edge against the speed of light".
  • The final duel between Harry Potter and Voldemort ends up one of these, except both wizards fire at the exact moment the sun rises. Additionally, Voldemort lost long before the duel ever actually began.
  • One of the two legal forms of duels in Honor Harrington and known as the Ellington protocol. It's regarded as less socially acceptable than the alternative Dreyfus protocol, which is Ten Paces and Turn.
    • In the duel Honor fights, she's able to put 4 rounds into her opponent (a professional duelist), firing from the hip, before he can even get a single shot off.
  • In Johannes Cabal the Detective Cabal and the books Big Bad, Count Marechal face-off with handguns, tension building as Marechal lets Cabal give The Summation about how he solved the murders aboard the airship. They then each take a single shot at each other, showing why its not about how fast you can aim but rather how well you can aim.
  • The humorist Patrick McManus wrote a piece discussing this trope, including a depiction of how it might play out if pistols had never been invented, and the shooters had to use rifles instead.
  • In Reaper Man, Death's climactic duel with his replacement borrows from both High Noon and For a Few Dollars More, though it takes place at midnight rather than noon, and Death sneers at this ham-handed attempt at "drama".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in a Russ Abbot sketch; a grim gunslinger arrives in the bar at five minutes to noon, terrifying the locals. When the clock strikes twelve, a second horse is heard outside, and in walks the gunslinger's mother, to drag him home for his dinner.
  • In The Adventures of Superboy episode "Threesome, Part 2," Superboy has one of these with Luthor, Metallo, and Odessa Vexman on a deserted street in Smallville. The scene comes complete with a Western-style musical score.
  • In the Big Time Rush episode "Big Time Girlfriends", James and Logan parody this at one point, but replace the guns with spitballs.
  • The Book of Boba Fett. In "From the Desert Comes a Stranger", Cad Bane's introduction is played exactly like this, when he walks out of the Dune Sea into Freetown to confront Marshal Cobb. After winning that Quick Draw duel, he confronts Boba Fett in the following episode in exactly the same manner.
  • In Doctor Who, The Eleventh Doctor gets into one of these against a Cyborg in "A Town Called Mercy".
  • Parodied in The Goodies "Bun Fight at the OK Tearooms", where the gunfight is fought with ketchup squeeze bottles in the wild west of...Cornwall.
  • Used in a time traveling episode of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
  • This is the end of Q's punishment in the Impractical Jokers episode "The Good, the Bad, and the Punished". Sadly Q's gun was glued into the holster and the explosive blood packs in his shirt were quite painful.
  • A version of this starts off Justified. US Marshal Raylan Givens has given a murderous thug 24 hours to leave Miami or be shot on sight. As the deadline is about to pass, Raylan sits opposite his quarry at a terrace restaurant, giving him one last chance to run. The thug draws, and Raylan kills him. The extremely public nature of the shootout (and rumors about the 24 hour deadline) causes a massive PR headache for the Marshals Service and while the shooting is deemed "justified", Raylan is reassigned to Kentucky, where several characters challenge him to similar contests over the course of the show.
  • In Legends of Tomorrow episode "The Magnificent Eight", Rip has one of these with outlaw Jeb Stillwater almost at the end.
  • Mission: Impossible: "Gunslinger" ends with Jim Phelps holding showdowns with The Dragon and then the Big Bad. To capture them alive, Jim's gun was loaded with tranquillizer bullets. And to make sure Jim won, the dragon's drink was drugged.
  • Happens in Psych, between a policeman and... a cowboy (not a real cowboy - this is the one at those little re-enactment tourist traps), after it's uncovered he's been whacking people to try and keep a gold cache under the town secret. The cowboy's SAA, however, was real. Cop wins.
  • In the episode of The Prisoner (1967) where Number 6 is an old-west sheriff, he has a Single-Stroke Battle shoot-out with the henchman of the latest Number 2.
  • For a bizarre non-Western example, the final showdown between John Sheppard and Acastus Kolya on Stargate Atlantis goes just like this.
  • Used in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "A Fistful of Datas"—which is, after all, a Cliché Storm about The Wild West. (The fact that it doesn't happen at noon matters little.)
  • When Sam and Dean in Supernatural go back in time to find something to help them beat the Mother, Dean and a phoenix have one. Dean wins because his gun is the Colt.
  • In Teen Wolf Chris Argent has one against a Ghost Rider in a subway station with newspaper instead of a tumbleweed. Argent comes out victorious. Even earns a Big Damn Kiss from Melissa.
  • Subverted in Wayne and Shuster's Fist Full of Dollars sketch where, after the climactic gunfight in which dozens of bullets are fired at Schuster with no effect, he reveals that he was using the old "brick wall under the poncho" trick.
  • Whiplash: In "Episode at Bathurst", Cobb has a showdown in the main street against an American gunslinger: with the gunslinger using his pistol and Cobb using his whip.
  • The final confrontation between Jack Keenan and Frank Butler in Wild Boys.

  • The Mega Man remix-band The Megas make the battle between Megaman and Quickman sound like an embodiment of this trope. It's all built up with Quickman as the "sheriff"; with lines such as "Quick on the draw, in this town I am the law. Is what they say true? Does death wear blue? Can he fall?" The conclusion comes with "My circuits slow. I'm not scared anymore. Reach for my weapon and in turn you're reaching for yours. My circuits slow. What they said is a lie. The shots are heard and the bullets scream death as they fly", essentially also making this an example of a Single-Stroke Battle. In the end, the winner is Megaman. But what did you expect? He's the hero.
  • Panther of The Protomen made such a song to promote the member Turbo Lover's band Cheer Up, Charlie Daniels, about the band competing with a similarly-named group for rights to the band name. The song was called The Duel. The song's also getting a sequel, The Duel: Part 2, about the band's showdown at The Road to Bonnaroo.
  • The Marty Robbins' song Big Iron is this trope in spirit, when the Arizona Ranger and Texas Red have their showdown.
    The morning passed so quickly it was time for them to meet.
    It was twenty past eleven when they walked out in the street.
    Folks were watching from the windows, everybody held their breath.
    They knew this handsome ranger was about to meet his death.
  • Allan Sherman's 1962 parody of "The Streets of Laredo", called "The Streets of Miami", feature two business partners shooting it out "in the heat of the sun at the stroke of high noon."
    • "Sam crumbled, just like a piece halvah."

    Newspaper Comics 
  • When Calvin and Hobbes parody this, the urban expansion solution actually does occur to them.
    Hobbes: I get to be the zoning board!
    • His mom didn't let them play with guns.
  • The Far Side parodied this numerous times:
    • One strip mentions that before its replacement by its sharper cousin, duels in the West involved fighting with Bowie... spoons.
    • Another has cowboys playing ping pong instead, with the duel still being treated with the same level of gravity.
    • A cowboy gets beaten to the draw by a sloth (which is naked except for its guns and cowboy hat.)
    • A shooter wins against his "opponent", this time a chicken who just threw eggs at him.
    • "Anytime you're ready, Slim". Judging by his shadow, Slim is literally a stick-figure.
    • "Shoe's untied!"
  • The New Yorker in the 1960s parodied this trope in a cartoon showing a samurai movie in which two samurai with swords drawn are facing each other prepared for this sort of showdown with the subtitle "Kyushu isn't big enough for the both of us!"
    • The Nov 17, 2003 issue also parodied it by having the cowboys draw caricatures of each other instead, but with bystanders reacting to it with the same amount of horror as a more violent duel. Of course, it was done by Gary Larson himself.

  • The Wizard Mode of Cactus Canyon is "High Noon at the OK Corral", requiring the player to hit twenty Bad Guys in around 30 seconds.
  • Though it isn't set in the Old West, the backbox for Lights... Camera... Action! shows such a shootout between The Hero and The Dragon. The player must press a flipper button at the right time to win the draw.
    "Ready, set, DRAW!"

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street: Episode 3338 parodies this between Big Bird and Gabi as they compete for "fastest drawer in the west", as in, who can literally "draw" something on air the fastest.
  • Yo Gabba Gabba!: Muno and Brobee have one in "Dress Up" as they play cowboys, with the gun-shooting replaced with banana-eating to make it suitable for its preschool audience.

  • Bleak Expectations: During a visit to America (which, unsurprisingly, turned out to be a trap), Pip Bin gets into one of these at the Alright-I-Suppose Corral. Problems ensue when it turns out he and Mr. Benevolent have jumped the gun for a shootout at the stroke of noon, as it were, and it's not even half past nine in the morning. Also, Mr. Benevolent cheats, giving Pip a literal "Bang!" Flag Gun. The scene even replicates The Music, with a crying baby, a creaking gate, a spectator tapping his foot.
  • John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme: Spoofed to Hell in one episode, when the Storyteller, having wound up in an Arizona town is told a man named Big Bad Bob is coming at noon tomorrow, and the villagers ask him to get rid of him. It turns out they'd prefer Bob kill the Storyteller and take his horse, but Bob's actually an entirely reasonable badge seller (Big Badge Bob) who just wants to buy or rent a horse, and they come to an amicable agreement.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Deadlands features a full set of rules—in the core rulebook, no less—for conducting such a duel, including justification for the "cue known only to the gunfighters" bit: drawing second made things pardonable in the eyes of the law, so the lead-in to a proper duel consisted of head games intended to make one's adversary draw first, with bonuses given to the rolls of players who can come up with truly terrifying intimidations or biting ridicules to put in the mouths of their characters.

    Video Games 
  • Billy Frontier has an unusual spin on this where rather than simply being the first to draw after a signal, you also have to play a LITERAL Simon Says Minigame during the “glare at each other sullenly” stage.
  • In Borderlands 2, the final mission involving the Sheriff of Lynchwood has her challenging you to a duel. Subverted in the fact that her idea of a "duel" involves being surrounded by a posse of mooks and taking potshots at you from the rooftops behind cover. Nonetheless, she uses a pistol as her primary weapon and one of the bonus objectives is to defeat her with a pistol.
  • In Bounty of One, all other enemies and Deputies evacuate the area to make way for the Sheriff as soon as the timer hits noon.
  • This kind of duels replaces traditional FPS Boss Fights in the Call of Juarez series (except in The Cartel:
    • In the original Call of Juarez, the duelists start off facing each other while a visible timer counts down. When it reaches zero, both of them reach for their guns (the player has to move the mouse/right controller stick down and back up again) and shoot. Most fights end if a single bullet hits, and you can also lean left and right to avoid incoming bullets. On one notable occasion, you face two enemies at the same time.
    • In Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, you (and the enemy) can now strafe left and right around each other. Dueling revolves around keeping the enemy in the center of the screen at all times, since the cue to fire can come at any time (with a bell sound). At the same time, the player has to use the mouse/right stick to keep their character's hand close to his gun (but not too close or the hand position will be reset!) to reduce the drawing time. Once the bell sounds, the player must reach for the gun and shoot the enemy as the aiming reticule slides from the ground up.
    • In Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, you can no longer move but instead use the WASD keys/left stick to control how close Silas' hand is to the gun (which reduces the drawing time), while the mouse/right stick is used to keep the aiming reticule on the enemy (who can move and throw off your aim) in order to generally slow down time when the duel starts. When it does (usually after a preset time), you can use WASD/left stick to dodge bullets while drawing the gun and firing. Once again, there is a Dual Boss mid-game, and the Final Boss is a three-way duel with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
    • The final duel in the game, if you take the "Revenge"-path, is a deconstruction. Since it is the only one that happens in "reality" instead of as part of one of Silas' Tall Tales, it is not a glorious test of skill with a cathartic comeuppance for the evildoer, but a short, messy bloody affair that leaves the onlookers horrified and Silas sickened with himself and what he's become.
  • In Destiny, the final showdown between Dredgen Yor and Shin Malphur is one of these. It begins with the former monologuing to the latter about how he's always hoped it would come to this, after he'd killed the latter's mentor and adoptive father Jaren Ward, and let Shin take Jaren's gun, the Last Word. Malphur, on the other hand, lets his anger and pain build up within him to empower his Light, until it suddenly explodes out into a revolver formed of pure Solar Light, and shoots Dredgen Yor dead mid-sentence. When Malphur checks Yor's corpse, he finds that Yor had never even tried to draw his weapon.
  • Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist: Close to the end of the game. There are two arcade sequences following each other very closely.
  • Gunfighter: The Legend of Jesse James, being a Western-inspired Light Gun Game where the player assumes the role of Jesse James, notably had this in the final stage, where Jess and the main villain, Sheriff Jack Carson (down to 1 single point of their life) have to gun down each other in one bullet, within 5 seconds. In the sequel Jesse does this again, but this time against the new villain Bob Younger.
  • The PC game Gun has you pull this off a few times as well.
  • The Final Boss battle in the Taito Shoot 'Em Up Gun Frontier is a flying version of this. The boss has a rotating shield and you only have six bullets to take him down. Die there and you get the bad ending, succeed in taking him down you get the good ending.
  • Used as a Mini-Game in Kirby's Adventure for the NES. Amusingly, the same Mini Game was recycled using this trope's Far Eastern counterpart in Kirby Super Star.
  • The Stage 3 boss in Lethal Enforcers II: Gunfighters is a quick draw between you and three mooks (six if you have two players). The duel starts with your opponents telling you "When we draw, start shootin'." But if you even try shooting them before they draw, you'll be told, "I said you can't shoot 'til we draw!"
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: Invoked with the mission named "High Noon". The Charlatan lures Sloan Kelley out of Kadara Port into the badlands of Kadara for a showdown. He's actually got a sniper ready to kill her. Whether this works or not is up to the player.
  • Happens twice in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, with the same Western-loving character. The first time, you're in a typical shootout with him, but you can choose to stand out in the middle of the battlefield, which will cause him to engage in a quickdraw fight with you. The second time is right at the end of the game, where he challenges you to another quickdraw shootout, with the added excitement of not knowing which of the guns have a bullet in them. In a subversion, the bullet is blank no matter what happens.
  • Overwatch has the character Cassidy, an Expy of the Man With No Name. When using his ultimate Deadeye ability, Cassidy will drawl "It's high noon..." and fire a kill shot at each target in view once the attack charges. There's even a tumbleweed. Cassidy will always say "It's high noon" even on maps where it's clearly twilight or night time, leading to Memetic Mutation that he has a very bad perception of time. The writers realized this, and later gave him the voice line "Well, it's high noon somewhere in the world."
    • The "Reunion" short has Cassidy in a quite literal showdown at high noon against his ex-partner and general ex Ashe, as well as her gang when they blow up a train containing a package that they're after, but which Cassidy wants for himself.
  • Persona 3: The gunfight between Takeharu Kirijo and Shuji Ikutsuki. Literally inverted in that it takes place during the Dark Hour, and thus at midnight. Subverted in that each man kills the other.
  • Red Dead Revolver, being a love letter to the Spaghetti Western, has this as a frequent occurrence. Not only is there a Whole-Plot Reference to The Quick and the Dead, but a showdown is how you defeat the final boss.
    • Also happens frequently in Red Dead Redemption as a random event, in some parts of the story, and if Marston is caught cheating at pokernote .
  • There's one in a cutscene of Star Trek Online, of all places. Episode "Wasteland", mission "A Fistful of Gorn" starts with your contact on Nimbus III, an old Romulan named Law, challenging a Gorn pirate who's gunning for your head and attempting to fill the power vacuum you created in the previous mission. He leaves you a death note and they square off for a classic quick-draw. Battle Discretion Shot as they fire. Next scene has Law walk up to you and give a nonchalant shrug, then note that he looks a little stupid for giving you a death note and then surviving.
  • While not actually a mechanic appearing in the game itself, Steve's introduction in Sunset Riders has him out-drawing a bandanna-wearing Mook, complete with a helping of Blown Across the Room, all backed with an appropriate 16-bit spaghetti-Western tune.
  • Parodied in Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 1: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal: After Guybrush has rearranged the mysterious wind idol near the Vaycaylian Wind Control Device, De Singe arrives with a rifle and demands that Guybrush surrender his Poxed hand. A brief period of staring silence follows, complete with close-ups of both Guybrush's and De Singe's faces in a style parody of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly before the former breaks the silence with "Make me!" and the latter pulls out the rifle and shoots him sky-high. Of course, Guybrush is still alive when he lands on the ground and gets up.
  • Tin Star has one of these at the end of every day (with one exception), and they serve as the game's boss battles. They're always comical too; if you miss one of the shots, you may kill a passing bird or even shoot down the belts from your opponent, causing his pants to fall down.
  • Wanted, a western-themed Half-Life Player Versus Player Game Mod, has this as one of the game mode. It's basically a one-on-one deathmatch.
  • The ancient ZX Spectrum western-themed adventure The Wild Bunch let you stage this if you decided you wanted to kill the bad guys, rather than just bring them in to the sheriff (killing them was more rewarding). The trick was that you had to let the bad guy move first, so that's it's self-defence to shoot him rather than just plain old murder.
  • There was a Nintendo Light Gun game called Wild Gunman, and a version of it appeared in Back to the Future Part II.
    • Wild Gunman was recreated as a microgame for the first WarioWare game. Smooth Moves also features an original western quick-draw microgame.
    • One of the original Light Gun games for the NES, Hogan's Alley, did this as one of the game modes. To successfully completely, you ultimately had to draw and shoot accurately in less than a second.
    • Wild Gunman serves as the basis for a Quick Draw minigame in 1-2-Switch.

    Web Animation 
  • CliffSide:
    • A clock tower ticks to noon just as Waylon faces off against Death Itself.
    • Parodied in the newspaper at the end, which mentions that Death Itself is proposing dispensing with the cliché of keeping the town clock tower at high noon all day because "it's confusing and nobody knows when to do anything."

  • In a El Goonish Shive filler strip Tedd and Elliot play a game that consists of this using Transformation Ray Guns.
  • Parodied in this xkcd. A showdown occurs between two cowboys at noon, a tumbleweed rolls by... then the tumbleweed pulls out dual revolvers and guns both the cowboys down.

    Web Original 
  • Season 2 finale of Cobra Kai: on the first day of school, this is how the face-off in the hallway between Sam and Tory is presented.

    Web Animation 
  • DC Super Hero Girls:
    • In the Webisode "Across Metropolis in 80 Seconds" Wonder Woman and Supergirl face each other on a Race Showdown, with Harley Quinn joining the Showdown in that moment, an Close-up to Wonder Woman Eyes, which is looking to Harley Quinn Eyes, then she looks to Supergirl Eyes, which gets ready to start the duel, and after a long race, which both have to work together to sabe someone, get to the Finish, but both Wonder Woman and Supergirl lose to Harley Quinn, and it end up with Wonder Woman and Supergirl doing a race to the cake.
    • Theres a Mini Stop-Motion Series titled What Would DC Super Hero Girls Do? featuring the Doll Version of the characters:
      • In the Webisode Battle Against The Bully! a Girl thinks What Would Wonder Woman Do Against a Bully?, and in a thought, Wonder Woman sees Supergirl being bullied by Cheetah, so then Wonder Woman attacks Cheetah with her lasso and challenge her to a Western Showdown, starting with a Western Music, with Wonder Woman preparing her lasso and Cheetah stretching her tail, an Close-Up to Wonder Woman and Cheetah Eyes, and a Tumbleweed rolling between them, instead of making Draw, both start fighting, until they make an complete disaster, until the girl thinks that this is not the solution.

    Western Animation 
  • Played nasty and played straight in the Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers episode "Galaxy Stranger" where Shane and Singray “settle things” on the main street of Frontier. The show was a Space Western, and the writers played it for all it was worth.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: A portion of Prince Zuko's A Day in the Limelight is a blatant pastiche of the Western showdown — in a world resembling mid-nineteenth century China, so not as far from the Wild West as one might think. The very next episode goes as far to feature a ghost town, a Mexican Standoff, and a three-way showdown that once more takes place at high noon.
  • It is not appreciated but it feels like one, in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode, “Hulk vs the World” while Black Widow and Hawkeye are fighting Hulk, General Ross order The Hulkbusters to launch the Missile to Hulk, even with Black Widow and Hawkeye being there, despite Black Widow's warnings, he launch the missile, in there, Black Widow decide to face the missile on a Showdown, making the famous Cowboy Pose of Duel, plus, they are in a desert, and the camera cuts to Black Widow’s Eyes (Some iconics things on a Showdown), while she is ready to Draw, Hulk sees the missile and decides to go to him, making him explode and saving those who were on the scene, however, Hulk is electrocuted by Black Widow, making her “The Fastest Cowgirl in The West”.
  • Avengers Assemble:
    • In “The Ultimates” a thief is trying to open the door from a building, and when he’s almost close, Black Widow founds him, and faces him on a Duel, with an almost Close-up to Black Widow Eyes but with the absence of a Tumbleweed the thief almost makes draw with his crowbar, but she makes her final Draw and stop him with a kick, winning the duel.
    Black Widow: Sneaking in the back door. Huh?, Always a bad sign.
    • In the episode Westland, some of the Avengers travel in time back to the Wild West Times, and obviously, some Western Showdowns were going to be featured:
      • Involving Wasp, when the some of the Avengers enter to a Saloon, all the people want to capture Vision, starting a classic Saloon fight, while that, a Cowboy challenges Wasp to a Western Duel, along with other Cowboys with their guns, Wasp accepts, along with a intense music, and an almost Close-up to Wasp eyes, she uses her yellow blasts as her Draw, shooting the cowboys guns, then she kicks all of them and wins the duel.
    Wasp: Not today boys!
  • The Backyardigans, being the kid-friendly show it is, played this relatively straight, replacing the shootout with a ping-pong match.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The Teaser to "Night of the Batmen!" involves one.
  • It was actually at sundown, but at the end of the Beast Wars episode "Coming of the Fuzors Part 1," the Predacons rally around Megatron and the three Maximals ready their weapons, before both sides draw their guns in classic shootout fashion. Comes complete with a riff straight out of the The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
  • Ben 10: Alien Force:
    • This being a “Staring Duel” in the episode “Grounded” while Ben gets grounded, Sandra and Carl wants to know what Ben was doing all this time with saving the world and transforming into Aliens, so Sandra makes the last question of what's coming on, but Ben refuses to tell the truth, so Sandra challenges him to a Staring Duel, with both staring a each other (With a music almost similar to Western one), ending with a Close-up to Sandra Tennyson’s Eyes, making Ben lose, that being her Final Draw and winning the Duel.
  • In a Wild West episode of Bonkers, Bonkers challenges Al Vermin to a Showdown, leading to the two of them comparing schedules to find an opening. They agree on high noon that day which leads to Al Vermin shooting the minute hand of the town clock to make it point to noon.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Bugs Bunny literally expands the town for Yosemite Sam in the cartoon Bugs Bunny Rides Again. Sam doesn't care.
    • Spoofed in the Daffy Duck cartoon "Drip-Along Daffy": Daffy and Nasty Canasta stalk towards each other along an excessively long street, but before a single shot is fired, Porky defeats Canasta with a wind-up toy soldier... with a ridiculously powerful musket. The crowd already has Porky up on their shoulders when Daffy, still walking towards the showdown, realizes what happened.
  • This being a Magical Duel in Elena of Avalor between Elena and Shuriki, in the special “Song of The Sirenas” while Elena is getting taken to the entrance of a tunnel, she finds Shuriki and then faces her to a Showdown (Along with a Western-Stylized Music), replacing the guns with the Scepters, and an almost close-up to their eyes, with both making draw, but Elena gets distracted by Fiero and Shuriki wins the Duel with a Final Draw.
    Shuriki: You're stalling.
    Elena: So are you.
  • Parodied in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Magic Duel", when Twilight faces off against Trixie the first time.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • In "Unfair Science Fair", this is parodied by Candace and the girl she's competing against inside the Slushy Dawg kitchen.
    • The Episode “Bullseye!” begins with Linda having a Showdown on creating the "junk sculpture" for the upcoming Modern Installation By Moms Charity auction, with an Close-up to her eyes, while also being asked by both Phineas and Ferb, at the end of the episode when a man in a truck tries to take Linda's junk sculpture away, Linda puts the last piece on the sculpture, a coat hanger, meaning that she won the Showdown, while Candace watches in disappointment and shock (Because she thought that the junk sculpture was the boys latest Big Idea and tried holding off the man in the truck long enough for Linda to show up, thinking she was finally gonna bust Phineas and Ferb).
    • Perry and Doofenshmirtz parody this in "Doofapus" during their fight, platypus style.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): Parodied in the climax of "Octi Evil" when Blossom and Buttercup hear Bubbles is captured by Him and go to save her, only to catch sight of one another due to their feud; said standoff is accompanied by intense music and close-up shots, ending with an extreme close-up of their faces with the opposing girl reflected in their eyes. When the standoff is broken by Bubbles screaming for help, the same sequence of close-ups repeats with the girls having confused expressions, and in the extreme close-up, each girl smiles, showing they're finally putting their differences aside for the sake of saving their sister.
  • In the ReBoot episode 'The Episode With No Name' Andraia and a nameless female Guardian have a showdown in the streets. Slightly modified since Andraia uses projectile spikes, instead of a gun. She still wins.
  • An episode of Rugrats plays with this with 'Showdown at Teeter-Totter Gulch' in which Tommy and Chuckie deal with a bully named "The Junk Food Kid", who always comes to the park at noon, or "No Shadow Time." Their first encounter ends badly, but Tommy prevails the second time.
  • This being short in the Sonic Boom episode "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Worse-er", Sonic and Tails get into a “Friendly Competition” to see if, it is posible for the former to be captured by the latter, and when they made the deal, both stare at each other, while an Eyedscreen is showed and with a Western Music in the background, only to end with both laughing.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Featured in the "Pest of the West" Western-themed episode, where SpongeBob's look-alike ancestor SpongeBuck has a showdown with outlaw Dead Eye Plankon. It ends before it even begins, when SpongeBuck accidentally steps on Dead Eye.
    • Parodied in "Pickles" when SpongeBob returns to the Krusty Krab to take down Bubble Bass, complete with super close-ups of their furious expressions and western music.
    • Parodied again in "The Fish Bowl" when Sandy's experiment goes too far and SpongeBob and Patrick initiate an all-out brawl on each other. It stops when Sandy comes in to tell the truth.
  • An unfinished arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars featured a stand-off between Cad Bane and Boba Fett, who just received his green Mandalorian Armour he would use in the Original Trilogy. The two fire and both go down. This would've been the Canon answer as to how Boba's helmet go its blaster dent.
  • But its immediate sequel Star Wars: The Bad Batch would have one of its own, although at night. In The Reunion, when Hunter and Omega return to the Batch's ship, they find all the Clone Troopers dead at the hands of Cad Bane, who's after Omega after being contracted by Lama Su. Hunter and Bane face each other down and draw While eagle-eyed viewers could see Hunter drew his blaster first, Bane proves to be the faster shot and takes him down with a shot to the chest armour. Unlike A New Hope and its Special Edition remake, there's no debating who shot first, folks. While not actually stated, Bane's appearance in the next episode with a cybernetic plate on his forehead suggests the aforementioned duel with Boba in the unfinished arc may still have happened.
  • Star Wars Rebels: Has two, involving the character "Sabine Wren", becoming the "Mandalorian Cowgirl"
    • In the episode "Blood Sisters", Sabine reunites with her old friend, Ketsu Onyo, which she wants revenge of something that happened in the past, so she challenges Sabine to a Showdown, replacing the guns with the blasters, while they were preparing to draw, Ezra interrupt the Duel, while some Stormtroopers are coming to the scene.
    • While in the episode "The Protector of Concord Dawn", Sabine challenges Fenn Rau, to a Showdown, to revenge what he did to Hera, despite Kanan's Warnings, Fenn Rau decides to Duel Sabine, in the end Sabine wins with a Draw.
  • Super Friends: In the episode "Batman: Dead or Alive" has two:
    • While the Super Friends are searching for the Robot Cowboys, Wonder Woman finds one of them at an old rig, inside, the Robot Cowboy challenges Wonder Woman to a Showdown, both make Draw, the Robot uses his gun, while Wonder Woman uses her bracelets to avoid the bullets and uses her magic lasso to capture the Cowboy , winning the Duel as a good Cowgirl.
    Robot Cowboy : Curiosity kill The Cat, Wonder Woman
    Wonder Woman: My Magic Lasso will take care of that Computerized Cowboy
    • In the middle of the end, The Capricorn Kid challenges Batman on a Final Showdown for the Town, Batman then faces the Capricorn Kid on the Showdown and proves he is faster when he uses a Batlaser to shoot the gun out of his hand.
  • Teen Titans: The year: Present Day. The place: a forest in TV-land. The time: right now. A water ski and life jacket-wearing Robin squares off with the Off-World Outlaw. On the sidelines a grizzly and a Steve Irwin Expy hold their breath in rapt attention. The trope collapses like a starcruiser from Reverse Polarity-induced temporal feedback when Robin socks his opponent in the face while he's distracted by the cheering bear.
  • Time Squad: In a homage to spaghetti westerns and Tex Avery cartoons, the episode Billy the Baby offers a scene where Tuddrussel, acting as the real outlaw in place of Billy the Kid gets involved with the Sheriff With No Name(Clint Eastwood Expy), who demands a duel at high noon. The next day when they meet, it is a dramatic moment as they stand in the middle of the road, tumbleweeds roll between them, townsfolk run for cover and it takes you right back to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
  • Zeke's Pad: In "Fast Draw", Zeke decides to draw a robot version of himself to do the boring chores that he doesn't like. After the robot rebels and traps Zeke in detention, Zeke escapes and lures the robot into a back alley for a classic western style showdown. Much to his surprise, the robot also has a magic Pad, and the showdown becomes a literal Quick Draw, with each them attempting to draw faster on their Pad than the other.
  • In Zorro: The Chronicles, it maybe doesn’t appreciated to much, but despite being in Los Angeles and all the locations having a Western-Style, it still being considered.
    • In the Series Finale “Force” while Ines is trying to find the Governor’s Note Book, she finds Dona Isabella who also wants to finded and when both see it where it is, both stare at each other and they face each other on a Showdown, with their cowgirl oufits and a Western-Music, despite not using guns, while Ines thinks that she win the Duel, Isabella threats her that if she does not return the Notebook, she will throw Bernardo into the river, in the end, Ines surrenders, and Dona Isabella wins the duel, making that her final draw.

    Real Life 
  • 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.
  • James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok gunned down a man by the name of Davis Tutt in 1865 in Springfield, Missouri, in a rare example of a bona fide Wild West "quickdraw" showdown. After winning about $200 in a poker game against Tutt's compatriots—who were playing with Tutt's money—Tutt alleged that Hickok owed him $35 from a previous game; Hickok claimed the debt was only $25. Tutt seized Hickok's prized golden pocket watch as collateral. Humiliated but outnumbered, Hickok warned Tutt not to wear the watch in public. Tutt brazenly assured Hickok that he would be wearing it first thing in the morning. Hickok then calmly told Tutt that he would shoot him if he saw him wearing the watch, then pocketed his winnings and left. True to his promise, Tutt openly wore the watch in the town square the following day. Word quickly reached Hickok's ears and, after a final round of negotiations failed to settle the debt, Hickok walked into the square just before 6 p.m., pistol drawn, sending everyone except Tutt running for cover. Wild Bill cocked his pistol, holstered it and called out to Tutt, "Don't you come across here with that watch." Tutt said nothing, but stood with his hand on his pistol. At a distance of about 75 yards, both men "stared down" the other for a brief moment. Tutt drew first, Hickok raising his Colt Navy in response. Each man fired one shot at almost exactly the same moment. Tutt missed. Hickok was luckier: his shot struck Tutt in his left side between his fifth and seventh ribs. Hickok was charged with manslaughter. However, in his trial, the judge informed the jury that, while Wild Bill was technically guilty of the crime he was charged with, they may decide to apply the "unwritten" law of a "fair fight." The jury took no more than a couple of hours to bring back a not guilty verdict.


Showdown at the Axalon

Outnumbered and outgunned, three Maximals ready their irons to protect their base from the Predacon's attack.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShowdownAtHighNoon

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