Wyatt Earp, a retired lawman, and his brothers (Morgan and Virgil) arrive at the town of Tombstone, Arizona, to make their fortunes as businessmen after the latter had retired as a lawman. However, they meet “The Cowboys”, a very ruthless criminal gang, organised around Curly Bill and Johnny Ringo. Wyatt, his brothers and friend Doc Holliday, are forced to become the law enforcers of the town due to their on-going businesses of saloon and gambling. Although Wyatt had planned to stay in retirement and make money, he is drawn into conflicts by his brothers after the gangs had come to terrorise the town. After Morgan is killed, and Virgil wounded, Wyatt and Doc Holidays decide to become US Marshalls to hunt those responsible for the lawless situation in Tombstone. A series of gunshot battles ensues at the O.K. Corral until the criminal gang is eliminated (Tombstone).
Structural Description of How Key Oppositions are Resolved
First, salient in the whole movie is that there is a struggle between western lawmen and outlaws. Although the movie was a classic movie, the events that depict the struggle between lawlessness and the law can explicitly be compared to those in the modern days. The outlawed group is composed of more than 30 men, with some of them involving in queer norms like homosexuality. In the town too, there is a population of Asian origin that faces a rough opposition inform of discrimination by the locals. Although the crimes are ended when Wyatt and Doc Holliday become US Marshalls, and eliminate the gangs, they can still be witnessed presently, as some of their heritage. Related to the last point is that when Curly Bill, one of the Cow Boy gang, is brought to stand for trial after his aimless shootouts on the public, he is acquitted as not guilty, due to lack of witnesses. Currently, cases related to such a scene are now common in the United States, where someone, although not guilty, can be set free due to lack of evidence. Moreover, the practices of authorities ending violence with violence are still prevalent today (Tombstone).
Psychologically, the old movie has the same contemporary attitude of solving one’s stress or opposing feelings (conflicts) in the mind by alcohol or drug abuse. Subjects such as Wyatt’s wife, Mattie, are becoming dependent on opium or laudanum due to mood swings. It is also evident to many inhabitants of the region who exhibit the same conditions due their difficult economic situations in that drier part of Arizona. The other psychological aspect that the filmmaker tries to mediate with the current modernity is the idea of the emerging casualty and comfortable liberation of women. The 1880 Arizona woman says that she becomes unhappy when she is sexually bored. Apparently, one way casual women of that time, as are of the present, to solve frustrations was to be sexual (Tombstone).
The other opposition in the movie occurs in literature, between old and modern works. For instance, although Doc Holliday can be seen with great lengths of modern poetry in a certain scene, he is busy flourishing some Latin phrases in other scenes, as he bangs an out-of-tune piano of Chopin nocturne. Evidently, even if there can be some emerging works by new authors, Wyatt resolves that they are the old works which win.
Morally, Wyatt Earp seems stretched between the options of ending the lawlessness in the city and allowing himself to fall in love with Josephine. This puzzle, which current policemen still face, involved Wyatt acting thoughtful, by just regarding her with respect and pursuing the mission of ending the lawlessness in the town. Cosmatos depicts his hero as somebody who conveys the world with a lot of integrity and still believes that dignity and civility can prevail over immorality and chaos (Tombstone).
Tombstone. Dir. Cosmatos, George P. Perf. Kurt Russell et al. Buena Vista Pictures, 1993.