Revisions: Coming Attraction

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

by Thomas Fleming

Thursday evening, I am going to be watching one of my favorite westerns: Four Faces West, based on a novella by Eugene Manlove Rhodes.   Our friend Mark Kennedy will be joining us, and Ray Olson is willing to post some remarks.  If you have a chance, try to see the movie, and we can start a discussion either over the weekend or next week.


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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

3 Responses

  1. Christopher Check says:

    Amazon Prime account holders can stream the picture for free. Looking forward to it!

  2. Brandon E Taylor says:

    Thank you for the recommendation, Dr. Fleming. I greatly enjoyed both the film and the book.

    I would be interested in hearing any insights you might have to share about the differences between the film and ‘Paso Por Aqui’ (particularly the different approaches taken with the respective endings).

    Thank you.

  3. Ray Olson says:

    In addition to the comments I’ve already sent, I want to respond to Mr, Taylor. Although I haven’t watched Four Faces West again since the comments I sent were written in 2012, I have just reread Paso por aqui. The beginning and ending of the story are indeed very different, bespeaking a more expansive view of the human condition than the movie version affords. The hero, Ross McEwen, seems to have robbed the bank for the hell of it, not, as in the film, to pay off a debt. In the story, he leaves no IOU, and that because he never intended to keep the money or use it. He scatters it to wind before his pursuers, who duly collect it all. Yet they continue or, rather, remount their hunt for him. He’s broken the law, after all. When they finally apprehend him, he is, of course, debilitated from nursing the stricken farm family and easy to take in. Instead, sheriff Pat Garrett lets him go with the counsel to steer clear of the area henceforth. Garrett seems to understand that McEwen was bidding his wild youth farewell with a gesture in keeping with his vast capabilities. McEwen’s an exceedingly handy guy, ready to respond appropriately to the crises that will face him as a fully adult man. So Rhodes’s story is a coming-of-age drama, if you will, concerned not, as are most present-day coming-of-age tales, with dawning sexual awareness, but with the decision to put away irresponsibility and take up the duties of a man. What he has done for old Florencio’s family indicates that he is ready to make this change.