Follow TV Tropes


Young Gun

Go To

In the town there lived an outlaw by the name of Texas Red
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
Marty Robbins, "Big Iron"

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.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • 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 60’s anime featured Chibita pulling out a machine gun.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    Films — Animated 
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 

  • 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.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novel 
  • 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.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • 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.


Video Example(s):


Cowboy Martin

Martin wakes up as a cowboy... and a sheriff to boot!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / Cowboy

Media sources: