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Author Topic: THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES: The Story 4: Grandma Sarah's Change of Heart  (Read 8580 times)
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« on: September 28, 2004, 12:23:39 AM »

The first time we see Grandma Sarah and Laura Lee is when they see Josey as they are heading inside Dyer & Jenkins Dry Goods. This scene unfolds inside the store::

SHOPKEEPER: The wheat is from Kansas, and the molasses comes from Missouri.

GRANDMA SARAH: Well, sir, we'll do without molasses. Anything from Missouri has a taint about it.

GRANDPA SAMUEL: Now, Grandma, you've got to tread lightly now we're here in Texas. Lots of nice elements from Missouri coming West.

GRANDMA SARAH: Never heard of nice things from Missouri coming West. And treading lightly is not my way. (To the shopkeeper) We're from Kansas. Jayhawkers, and proud of it.

SHOPKEEPER: I know how you feel. I'm a Hoosier, myself.

GRANDMA SARAH: Personally, I don't think much of Hoosiers neither.

The next time we see them, they've fallen victim to the Comancheros--Grandpa Samuel and Uncle Enoch have been killed, Laura Lee is nearly raped, and Grandma Sarah and Laura Lee have been captured to be traded to the Comanches. Josey kills all the Comancheros and rescues them, and they all head to Grandma Sarah's son's Crooked River Ranch. We see that although Josey saved her and Laura Lee, Grandma Sarah still doesn't trust or like him. She tells Lone Watie: "Indian, this Mr. Wales is a cold-blooded killer. He's from Missouri where they're all known to be killers of innocent men, women and children." We soon learn why she's so distrustful, as she tells Rose at the Lost Lady Saloon that her son "was killed in the Border War by Missouri ruffians. He died a proud member of Senator Jim Lane's Redlegs, fighting for the just cause!"

Further along in the movie, we note that Grandma Sarah has a change of heart when she prays aloud:

GRANDMA SARAH: Lord, thanks a lot for bringing us to this place. Pa and Daniel died at the hands of that low-down, murdering trash out of hell that done 'em in. But they put up a good fight, and died the best they could. And thanks a lot for Josey Wales, who you changed from a murdering bushwhacker on the side of Satan to a better man in time to deliver us from the Philistines. And thank you, Lord, for getting us together in Texas.

Grandma Sarah seems to think that Josey is the one who has changed, rather than herself. Discuss what you think finally precipitates her change of heart.

Do you see other situations throughout the movie where characters stereotype others? How are the characters who hold those prejudices portrayed in the film? Do you see these characters learning and growing, like Grandma Sarah?
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2005, 01:27:30 AM »

I think all the characters in one way or another learn something at the end of the movie.   

Sarah at the beginning saw Josey as a killer, which he was, and only as a killer nothing more.  When Josey takes them to the house and helps out and such she realizes there is good in him.  Part of what it could be is that Sarah can sense the fondness between Laura Lee and Josey and because she wants Laura Lee to be happy she changes.  Love makes people change, and that could be something that contributed to Sarah's change. 

As for other stereotypes in the film, there's none that call out to me other then Sarah's.  One that can be consider one I suppose is when Josey talks about George as being an Indian who can sneak up on people and such, and while to an extent it's true, it plays off the stereotype that Indians are sneaky and bad.   But to be fair Chief does make his point and says that isn't so, we've been abused by the white man we aren't sneaky the white man.  And, that's proven true in the scene where Fletcher betrays the men. 

It's how you see the movie and what stereotypes you see and how they can also be disproved just as easily. 

The old dreams were good dreams; they didn't work out, but I'm glad I had them.  - Robert Kincaid, the Bridges of Madison County
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2005, 06:58:02 PM »

Thanks to everyone for participating in this discussion. This topic is now closed, please post any additional thoughts in the Clint Eastwood Westerns forum.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2005, 07:06:48 PM by mgk » Logged
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