With this article, the first stage of my research ends. My conclusions are the following: Greider emancipates himself and others by obliterating the “main” Brenner bloodline; he becomes authority in a village where authority meant restraints and desolation of morals. At the end, he abandons the village like he was never meant to be there. Hell-bent on survival, his ethics are raw (he is a monster, after all); but he is more than a warrior of revenge. The final reveal of the movie was a moment of intimacy that I thoroughly enjoyed – Greider becomes more of a boy than a man for this time. The transition from boy to man and from assuming power to losing power is an intricate subject and I am willing to research thoroughly and look into it.
Therefore, notions such as “rawness”, “authority”, and “abandonment” will be the key points I am going to analyse in other movies too. Emancipation is a power-play and some characters play this game on another level. I’ve already watched Blue Ruin (2013) and The Revenant (2015) – most probably, cinematography will be an additional area of focus from now on. The theme of the loss and disturbance of the father-son relationship, which was observed in The Dark Valley continues to have haunting effect on these protagonists.
I would like to mention my foremost secondary source, which was Jane Tompkins’s work West of Everything. It was of immense value to the proceedings of my research. She proves how sternly and yet how delicately Western heroes are built.
The mini-conference and the Ruttkay contest provided me with an abundance of feedbacks that will help me better my thesis and I make a solemn vow to incorporate as many relevant advice as I can into my work.
So hold on tight, because a new series of articles on Western heroes is peaking its head around the corner. There will be tears, blood, and cruelty, and there may be no sufficient pay-off for all the damage done, but it is always the journey that counts – and these journeys are spectacular.