From the movie that gave Sean Connery his first name (seriously! He saw it and resolved to change his name from Thomas to Sean, which is pronounced “shane” by Scots).

At approximately 1:00 into this minute-and-a-half trailer.

Marian: “We’d all be better off if there wasn’t a single gun left in this valley.”

Shane: “A gun is as good, or as bad, as the man using it.”

And there you have it. The essential core issue of gun control, as stated in George Stevens’s classic Western Shane, released in 1953.

Before there was a “sporting purposes” test borrowed from a Nazi law by a Nuremburg prosecutor turned corrupt Senator. Before there was a Form 4473, import bans, Hughes Amendment, Lautenberg Amendment, “constructive possession,” Ruby Ridge, Waco, “Economic Wacos” and their hellspawn Choke Point. Before there was any of that.

A baby born while Shane was in theaters is closing in on retirement, but the argument, already centuries old when it was boiled down into two lines of dialogue for the movie, endures.

Alan Ladd’s character had the right of it.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

9 thoughts on “A Classic Western on the Moral Standing of Firearms

mr. sharkman

1. Being a Weapons Man, by default I consider you a Gunfighter amongst gunfighters. So I must ask…how did you resist the compulsion to include this video link?

2. I truly sympathize with all the soulless individuals I have encounter over the years who cannot recognize the obvious fact that Shane did indeed survive his wounds. I heard from an Air Force dude who had a great great uncle who knew a guy in Shane’s Cav unit that Shane retired happily in some coastal town in SoCal with a 20-something former debutante with big tits and she tasted like French Vanilla ice cream.


Law of Self Defense

I use a scene from “Shane” in my Law of Self Defense Seminar. It’s the scene where the professional gun slinger provokes the farmer to attempt to draw, then outdraws him, long pause, guns him down.

Naturally, I use the video to illustrate the provocation facet of the first element of the law of self-defense, Innocence. 🙂

Awesome terminal ballistics on that bullet, too-or should I call it “movie ballistics.” 🙂

-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Yeah, some serious single action action there. Alan Ladd and Jack Palance…two greats no longer with us.

Tom Stone

I was born when “Shane ” was playing in theaters andI am far from ready to retire

. BTW, this movie proves the smokeless powder is an American invention! It was set at least a decade before that darn frenchman claimed to have invented it…

Hognose Post author

Heh. One of Hiram Maxim’s sons was a hugely successful smokeless powder entrepreneur.

Haxo Angmark

Jack Palance. Turned a lot of “C” movies into “B”‘s, and a few “B’s” into “A”‘s. I dunno about Alan. They had to put him on stilts to get him up to Veronica Lake’s chin


Jack Palance flew Bomber missions during world war two, scuttlebutt a bad crash injured his face is reconstructed and that’s why he looks that way.

My Favorite line?

“Prove it.”


Thanks for the cinematic flashback.

And now you know why they don’t make those kind of movies anymore.

Hollywood got tired of telling the same old boring truths.

BTW, the correct Shane line in response to the lady’s twaddle should probably have been

“If there weren’t a single gun in this valley, you and your son would be scalps on some warrior’s lodgepole now. Shouldn’t you be inside fixing supper or something?”