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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: The Mayflower Compact Goes West

In his National Review piece Kyle Smith notes that this movie is most famous for its cynicism of the press, and the puncturing of Old West mythology; its most famous line being “This is the West, Sir.  When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” In this view, the film was pioneer postmodern.  There should not be an abundance of joy in the destruction of myth. As Jordan Peterson often reminds us, shared mythology is part of the cultural cement that holds us together, just as the Arthurian legends instructed actual knights on the meaning of chivalry.

A Thanksgiving Salute

November brings the confluence of three anniversaries – the birthday of the United States Marine Corps on November 10, Veteran’s Day on November 11, and of course, Thanksgiving. There was a passenger onboard the Mayflower who could be honored upon all three. He was a soldier of fortune who, in between wars, took pity upon these hapless farmers and artisans we call Pilgrims – who were armed with faith but little else – and agreed to accompany them to the new world as military advisor. He was the only one who did not get sick that first brutal winter (half of them died, including his wife, Rose) and so he tended to all the others, especially William Bradford, who would soon serve as governor for most of the remainder of his life and become his life-long friend. The calm, thoughtful Bradford and this fiery-tempered soldier formed a partnership that not only allowed New Plymouth to survive, but eventually thrive. That soldier’s name was Myles Standish.