Many men had tried to take him, and that many men were dead
He was vicious and a killer, though a youth of twenty-four
And the notches on his pistol numbered one and nineteen more
The Young Gun is the Western equivalent of the Kid Samurai or Ninja Brat: a younger, less-awesome version of The Gunslinger, looking to make a name for himself. Expect him to be hot-headed and impetuous. He will probably attach himself to an older, more experienced character, looking up to him as a mentor figure, only to be told that this is no kind of life for anyone and that he should get out while he still can.
The Young Gun differs from his counterpart The Gunfighter Wannabe in that he actually has what it takes to be a gunslinger, but just needs a little training/experience/maturity in order to get up to speed. The Gunfighter Wannabe, by contrast, lacks the talent or temperament to make it as a gunslinger and his attempt to try to make a name for himself despite the warnings of his elders generally doesn't end well.
Outside the realm of Westerns, this trope all too often overlaps with Child Soldier.
- Reborn! (2004):
- Subverted with the eponymous character, since he was an adult that was cursed and turned into an infant. He is the mentor, even in his infant state.
- Played straight with Lambo, the 5-year old hitman with an arsenal of weapons stored in his afro. His target Reborn does not even care enough to not be amused.
- Colt from Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs.
- Hot Shot from Transformers Armada.
- Yuna of Negima! Magister Negi Magi, who proved herself to be very talented at fighting with Guns Akimbo during the Mages vs Martians game and has continued to wield the guns she used then even after the Mahora Festival. However, she still has a long way to go before she reaches the likes of Mana or even the gun-using mage teacher.
- Teana at the start of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. It took some time and a few knocks to the head for her to grow out of her hot-headed recklessness and mature to a truly effective Gunslinger.
- Doraemon (yeah): This is, out of all people in the world, Nobita whenever the cast travel to a Western-y age/planet/dimension/whatever. Boy might be a total loser in other aspects of life, but when the plot requires that someone be shot, he does the shooting competently. Best exemplified in Doraemon: Nobita and the Galaxy Super-express when the gang travels to a Planet of Cowboys, and must compete in a shooting match firing a loaded six-shooter at six targets. The best record so far is five out of six - Nobita fires six times, hits one can among the targets, and shows the judge (who just disqualified Nobita) the can he shot at contains six holes and six spent bullets.
- Osomatsu-kun : promo art (and even chapters themselves) feature the Matsunos and Chibita with pistols/guns, and even a memorable scene from the 60s anime featured Chibita pulling out a machine gun.
- In the Marvel Universe there was Jeff Packard a.k.a. Understudy, one-time sidekick to the Rawhide Kid.
- The Kid, one of the Alamo Renegades in Marvel Comics Western Gunfighters.
- Kit Willer from the Italian comic Tex Willer.
- The New Old West Marvel miniseries Six Guns features a teenage Two-Gun Kid
- Of all of Marvel's western heroes, Kid Colt was the most impulsive and immature. This did not prevent him being a Gunslinger on a par with the rest of them. It just meant he was more likely to get himself into scrapes that could have been avoided.
- Chico from the movie The Magnificent Seven, the Western version of Katsushiro from Seven Samurai.
- Fee "The Kid" Herrod in The Quick and the Dead
- The Schofield Kid in Unforgiven is introduced as this. Then the, in his own words, Kid actually shoots a man. He's really a Gunfighter Wannabe.
- Hunt Bromley in the movie The Gunfighter
- Morgan Earp as he is portrayed in movies like Tombstone and Wyatt Earp.
- Marty McFly in Back to the Future Part III. Marty impresses the gun salesman with his video game-honed marksmanship skills and is given a free gun in preparation for his duel with Mad Dog Tannen (with the catch being he'll take it back if/when Marty loses). After playing around with it (even wearing it in public), Marty makes a point of discarding the gun when confronting Mad Dog on Monday. After all, he has the improvised bulletproof vest. Afterwards he gives it to Seamus, who plans to pawn it for another hat.
- Colorado Ryan (Ricky Nelson) from Rio Bravo. A slight subversion in that Wayne says about him: "It's nice to see a smart kid for a change." and Stumpy agrees. "Yeah, he's not like the usual kid with a gun."
- More of a Midwestern example (since the character is from Missouri): Tom Sawyer in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
- The Elusive Avengers from the titular Russian ostern.
- Scott in Day of Anger.
- Young Guns and Young Guns II have Billy the Kid as the personification of this trope.
- Cotton and his gang from Once Upon a Texas Train.
- Jake in Silverado is younger and brasher than the more seasoned gunfighters in the cast, but also the flashiest shooter.
- Lampshaded in Cold Mountain:
Inman: I will not shoot you, but nor am I walking down that mountain looking over my shoulder for you.
Bosie: That's what you call a conundrum. I tell you what I've got on my side.
Inman: What have you got on your side?
Bosie: The confidence of youth.
- "Turkey", one of the Dancing Kid's gang in Johnny Guitar. When Vienna (Joan Crawford) tells him he's still a boy, he tries to prove he's a man by shooting at saltshakers off a table. Johnny Guitar(Sterling Hayden) rushes in and shoots the gun out of his hand.
- Parodied in the backstory of the "Waco Kid" in Blazing Saddles: The Gunfighter Wannabe that finally managed to defeat him (and humiliated him by shooting him in the ass, turning him into The Alcoholic), was a six-year-old kid with a gun (in his defense, the Waco Kid Wouldn't Hurt a Child-the other (literal) kid just happened to exploit that).
- Bud Elder, the youngest of the Elder brothers in The Sons of Katie Elder: a hot-headed 17 year old.
- Chico Bonnell from Forty Guns has all of the skills needed to be a gunfighter-having been taught be his big brother Griff-but Griff wonders if he has the mindset needed to accompany it.
- In A Gunfight, a young gunfighter (played by Keith Carradine) challenges both Will and Abe to a fight; not caring which one he faces and hoping to take one of their places in the upcoming gunfight. After he shoots the marshal, Will throws down with him and kills him.
- Assassins is a contemporary thriller not a Western, but features psychopathic newcomer Bain challenging ex-Cold War veteran Rath for the position of number one hitman in the world. And by challenge he means kill, even when Rath is ready to retire and let Bain walk away with the title.
- In Black Patch, Carl becomes this after Hank Danner is killed: taking Danner's gun and training himself until he becomes the fastest draw in town. The only thing he has yet to do is kill a man.
- Billy the Kid is portrayed this way in The Outlaws IS Coming!: literally throwing a tantrum and storming off calling for his mamma when he can't draw his gun from its holster.
- Ironically, in The Dark Tower series, kid gunslinger Jake is not the Young Gun. That role falls to the older (twenty-something) Eddie, who otherwise fits the part to a T.
- The J.T. Edson character Waco is a hard-eyed youngster of about sixteen when he is first encountered, and already has several notches on his gunbelt, all of them nominally "fair fights" but several, as he later admits, for no good reason at all. He reforms after being pulled out from in front of a cattle stampede.
- Gorillaz has a song Kids With Guns, from Demon Days, which is about the dangers of children and teenagers with guns in Real Life.
- In "The Stranger" by Tommy Tucker the character the song is named for announces his intent to kill the sheriff only to be challenged by a boy just turned 21. It does not end well for the stranger and the boy rides away with people wanting to know who he is before learning that his name is Doc Holiday.
- Major Ocelot matches up to this in Metal Gear Solid 3.
- Axl of the Mega Man X series fits this trope to a T.
- Hoopz Barkley, the Chosen One 12-year-old son of Charles Barkley, in Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden.
- The Wild West setting of Red Dead Redemption II meant that a number of the Van der Linde gang are this, particularly Lenny Summers. Both John Marston and Arthur Morgan start off as this, with the former committing his first murder at the age of eleven while the latter was inducted to the Van der Linde gang at fourteen.
- In Red Dead Redemption, John's son Jack, despite outward appearances, isn't even twenty when he murders Edgar Ross in revenge of his father's death.
- The Wandering Dogs, Oliver, Charles and Nina in Rose Guns Days. They work for the mafia organisation Primavera and dream of becoming legends like their mentor Wayne Uedera. While they rarely actually use guns, they prove to be very talented in their own fields and succeed in several dangerous missions. It doesn't end well for Oliver.
- Gordito in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja subverts or parodies this trope, being very capable and badass as the Kid Sidekick to a ninja-doctor and occasionally fighting alongside said doctor's Crazy-Prepared ninja family.
- Fievel daydreams about being a Young Gun at the beginning of An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, complete with his hero Wylie Burp telling him to get out while he still can, and Fievel blatantly disobeying him and shooting out a gang of villainous cats.
- Boba Fett in Star Wars: The Clone Wars oh so very much. Eventually he becomes a leader of a group of older bounty hunters.
- Billy the Kid: The infamous outlaw may have been the first infamous example of this trope. From age 17 on he committed several murders and was shot dead himself at age 21.