I have chosen the opening scene of ‘The Searchers’ where John Wayne’s character Ethan Edwards rides into the setting and is welcomed to the sight of his brother and sister in law. Both his brother Aaron Edwards and Martha Edwards do not appear pleased to see Ethan even though this is the first time they have seen him in several years. Ethan is a civil war veteran and you’d expect the family to be filled with joy when they see him on the horizon, instead there is a very strange look on both of their faces, almost a threatened look. This could represent how Ethan could threaten the family dynamic by his presence, the wilderness and the family do not mix in a positive way.
The opening scene is classic ofwesterns where the main character, the majority of the time a male, enters the frame from the distance. This allows the audience to see the iconic landscape of the west, such as the high mountains, the barren land and the scorching sun behind the ‘cowboy’ figure. In this scene Ethan is portrayed to be a mysterious figure approaching some sort of civilisation, this is common in all westerns such as Shane. Also Ethan is by himself with nothing else but his horse and the wilderness surrounding him, this represents a solitary life which highlights the culture of the west during this time period. It’s a traditional way that the main characters enters the story, alone and from the wilderness.
I think this scene is a good representation of the west as it shows both the family dynamic and also the wilderness. It also shows the different aspects of male characters as it shows Aaron Edwards alongside his wife which portrays a family man and also Ethan Edwards who is the stereotypical tough, lone male who has no sense of belonging.