The rivalry between Rooster and Mr. LaBoeuf is terribly funny. Mr. LaBoeuf doubts Rooster's competence to handles such an infamous criminal, especially since he often "makes use of the bottle", and Rooster thinks Mr. LaBoeuf is stuck up and self-important. In a way, they are both correct, which is in part the reason why their dislike of each other is so amusing. Most of the dialogue is straight from the book and it is just hilarious the way they interact.
Rooster: (Mr. LaBoeuf has been talking about malum in prohibition and malum in se, just after he was shot and his tongue was mangled.) "It astonishes me that Mr. LaBoeuf has been shot, trampled, and nearly bitten his tongue off, yet not only does he continue to talk but he spills the banks of English."
Rooster: (after missing a shot he fired at a bottle he threw up into the air.) "That China man is running them cheap shells on me again."
LaBoeuf: "I thought you were going to say the sun was in your eyes. That is to say, your eye."
Rooster: (after singing for a long time.) "That was "Johnny on the Low Ground". There are very few fiddle tunes I do not know. Once heard they are locked in my memory forever. It is a sadness to me that I have sausage fingers that will not crowd onto a fretboard. "Soldier's Joy!" (Resumes singing.)
LaBoeuf: (to Mattie) "I don't believe he slept."
Mattie Ross, the real heroine of the story, is played perfectly by young actress Hailee Steinfeld. As I have mentioned before, I read the novel after I had seen the movie twice, but Hailee Steinfeld really does suit Mattie's personality perfectly and I was very impressed with her performance. I didn't know this until after I'd seen the movie for the second time, but Hailee Steinfeld was actually fourteen at the time the movie was made, the exact age of Mattie Ross. Usually young characters like Mattie are played by at least slightly older actors, and so I was even more impressed to learn that she was actually fourteen at the time.
Mattie Ross is one of my favourite heroines in all literature, because at the young age of fourteen, in an era when most girls her age would be helpless, she is willing to do all it takes to see the man who killed her father brought to justice at last. She is one of the bravest heroines I know, and I really admire her courage, perseverance, and grit.
Tom Chaney is one of the most pathetic villains I have ever encountered. It seems as though he is constantly whining and complaining about how "everyone is against him", and generally making a nuisance of himself. In the book it's even worse than the movie. Even though he is the main topic of conversation throughout most of the movie, he actually doesn't appear in the flesh until nearer to the end, when Rooster, LaBoeuf and Mattie finally catch up to the Lucky Ned Pepper gang. He is very sarcastic to Mattie because, like everyone else, he thinks she is just a helpless little girl, and is just a disgusting character.
And speaking of disgusting....that pretty much sums up Ned Pepper. There is not a shred of decency in this character. He is just horrible. I suppose it was good of him not to kill Mattie on the spot, and he did give Chaney strict instructions not to harm her, but besides that he was just awful. In the book (oh, here I go again..) there is an entire scene when Mattie is in the captivity of the Lucky Ned Pepper gang, before Mr. LaBoeuf comes the the rescue, and Ned forces her to sign a lot of checks that he has, because he can't write. He makes ink out of a bird feather and his own saliva and mixes it up in the palm of his hand. It's really quite interesting. Anyway, I am a tad disappointed that scene is not in the movie, but if they did put in all these scenes from the book that I wish they had, it would be really super long. So I understand.
|"Wait...are we trading again?"|
The scene where Mr. LaBoeuf comes to the rescue ("Never doubt the Texas Ranger!"), shoots Chaney and then shoots Lucky Ned from such a long distance is possibly my favourite. It really shows Mr. LaBoeuf's good side- at least, that he actually has a good side- and it's just so exciting when he fires the shot and they don't know if it hit Ned or not, but then he slowly falls off the horse and Mattie goes wild with excitement. It shows that even though she's for the most part a serious girl who possesses wisdom beyond her years, she is still a child who gets excited from time to time. The part where Rooster is "one against four" is very heroic as well.
Then, when everything seems resolved, Chaney (where did he come from?) shows up again and Mattie shoots him, causing him to fall off the cliff. However, the force from the shot thrusts Mattie into a pit full of snakes and gets bitten before being rescued by Rooster, who then takes her on Little Blackie to get help. This is the most tragic scene in the movie, because as they ride into the night, Little Blackie grows weary, and Rooster whips her to make her go faster, which makes Mattie very upset and she starts crying. Finally, Rooster has to shoot the horse and carry Mattie himself, at which point you think, "Oh look, he really does care about her." Because he really does. He didn't want to harm the horse, but he cared about Mattie so much more that in comparison he didn't really care what happened to Litttle Blackie. It is a very touching scene that is one of the best in the movie, and the song that is played while they are riding is my favourite on the soundtrack.
|Mattie at 40 years old|
I had the body removed to our plot and I have visited it over the years. No doubt people talk about that. They say, "Well, she hardly knew the man! Isn't she a cranky old maid?" It is true, I have not married. I never had time to fool with it. I heard nothing more of the Texas officer LaBoeuf. If he is yet alive, I would be pleased to hear from him. I judge he would be in his 70s now, and nearer 80 than 70. I expect some of the starch has gone out of that cowlick. Time just gets away from us.
~Mattie at 40 years old
This ends my true account of how I avenged Frank Ross's blood over in the Choctaw Nation when snow was on the ground.