46 The Warrior Archetype

Episode Forty-Six: A Digression: The Western Movie

The hero in American Westerns (and Samurai tales and post-apocalyptic movies like “Mad Max”) is the Warrior Archetype personified, at least in its latter-day configuration of the solitary man of violence, who lives by his own code and operates as a law unto himself.

In this episode, we’ll attempt to tie this figure into the world we’ve been describing through our prior 45 episodes.

Subscribe here for the full series, or watch previous episodes here

Subscribe here for the full series, or watch previous episodes here


  1. Dorothea Shefer-Vanson on January 21, 2021 at 6:21 am

    Can we women be warrior archetypes (not Wonderwoman, of course)? Would we even want to be one, let alone write about one? I don’t think I could even if I tried.

    • Marylou Devine on January 22, 2021 at 9:35 am

      Women are the perfect archetype for warriors to be. We don’t need to use violence to be considered a warrior. Everyday women battle with various issues in the society. goldbee.com

  2. Joe Jansen on January 21, 2021 at 6:22 am

    Me as a western hero, as portrayed to my wife:

    Me: Hoisting up my britches: “They’s a new sheriff in town.”
    My wife: “Whatever, Tex. Are you planning on mowing the lawn any time soon, or were you thinking of bringing in a herd of sheep?”

    Book of Eli:

    1) Great soundtrack: https://youtu.be/xeQzGagYO_E?t=10
    2) I see a plot point in parallel between Book of Eli and A Man at Arms, but keeping it to myself.

    Clint Eastwood is getting mentioned a couple times; “The Outlaw Josey Wales” embodies a lot of the story elements being described here. Solitary, dark, trauma in the past, touched by love (or at least compassion), and takes a moral stand.

    Nice jacket.

  3. Dorothea Shefer-Vanson on January 21, 2021 at 6:23 am

    Can a woman be or write about a warrior archetype (not Wonderwoman, of course)? I don’t think I could even if I tried.

    • Brian Nelson on January 21, 2021 at 9:05 am

      What leapt to mind when I read your post was, “What is scarier to find in the woods alone? A male bear, or a mother bear with cubs?”

      I have seen my own wife demonstrate the will of a Warrior numerous times in our married lives–without violence–but the possibility of violence is apparent beneath the veneer of domestication. When someone or something she loves is threatened…whoa be the violator.

      I have served with women overseas. In fact, one young lady is a perfect example. Here in Washington, our high schools have a program called “Running Start” in which high school students attend a community college for a few classes in their junior/senior years. The result is the graduate from HS with an Associates Degree in hand.

      Ashley, came to my unit as a 19 year old Cadet in ROTC, but she was a junior at the UW. We had to do training for state active duty, which in the Guard usually includes riot control tactics. I was the commander, watching our Soldiers get into large formations, and ‘stomp and drag’ across this large field. I remember being dumbstruck at how this very cute (I don’t mean this disparagingly, more to point out her age), led our unit like Tom Brady. She was easily the best field commander on the ground that day.

      Fast forward two years, and we are mobilized for Afghanistan. Ashely is still 20, but is now a detachment commander and at 1LT. She turned 21 in theater. Her actions overseas were exceptional. Her Soldiers adored her, and she performed better than all of her peers.

      The last week in theater, we had a little ‘party’ in one of the large fest tents on Baghram. Videos were shown, we did a mini-talent show, war stories were told–it was a great time. Ashley got up and did a song and dance routine with another Soldier that was both hilarious and demonstrated incredible artistic talent.

      I thought at the time was an amazing woman Ashley was. When the circumstances required it, she was a steely-eyed killer/warrior, and yet she never lost her femininity. She could be goofy, laugh at herself (she’s the type of person who can never get a joke out because she begins to laugh before the punchline…a trait I always find incredibly attractive in men and women), make others laugh, sing, dance, and be a beautiful woman all in the same person. She contained multitudes.

  4. Andrew+Lubin on January 21, 2021 at 7:27 am

    Here’s a not-so-popular concept in today’s civilized socieety: maybe some problems are best solved by violence?

    Dirty Harry: a policeman who deals with drug dealers and assorted scum. Josey Wales; a dirt farmer attacked and family killed, Holden-Borgnine-Johnson, et all in the Wild Bunch: thieves (OK, not a plus!) who rose to the occasion in defending Angel and killing a corrupt general. And let me add Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs; an academic who defends his wife after she’s raped. To quote Maj Douglas Zembiec, USMC, ‘The Lion of Fallujah.” KIA 2007. “Killing is not wrong if it’s for a purpose, if it’s to keep your nation free or protect your buddy.”

    What ties them all together? They’re in a situation where the opponent is trying to kill them, and negotiation is not a serious option.Some people just don’t listen to reason, and society needs the Dirty Harry’s, the Col Jessup’s, and the Maj Zembeic’s to do what most can not/will not.

    Maybe that’s why these western heroes are dark and brooding, for as George Orwell so eloquently wrote: “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf”

    And yes, why wouldn’t a woman respond similarly if they were threatened? Lots of women enlisted in the Marine Corps and Army after 9/11 in the same patriotic fervor that brought my son and millions of others into the recruiting stations. Good for every one of them!


    • Halena Bob on July 18, 2021 at 1:29 pm

      What an amazing review. I really appreciate the way you’re explaining all the details of Digression and the hero of western America.

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  6. PhD Navy wife on January 25, 2021 at 3:01 pm

    I think women can be warrior archetypes, with a slight modification to what Steven said.
    Women may not necessarily be the master of (physical) violence, but more so the master of destruction, disillusion, and rebirth; which are all forms of violence.
    For me, the warrior archetype outwardly displays the worldview of despair only as a mask that is worn to hide the worldview of unrequited love.

  7. celeb networth on February 5, 2021 at 12:58 am

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  8. Albert Chris on February 24, 2021 at 5:55 am

    I love to know what’s coming next in upcoming episodes

  9. impostor on April 5, 2021 at 8:52 pm

    Not that women are afraid of being threatened but they do not want to deal with violence first, they will prioritize other solutions that do not use violence. Only when they are pushed too hard will they fight

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