“The Man without a Star”

I sat one afternoon watching a Kirk Douglas western titled, “The Man without a Star“, and was amazed by the environmental and economical messages in this film.   Basically the plot plays out with the hero, who is a free range ridin’ cowboy, who hooks up with this greedy cattle ranch owner played by Jeanne Crain, who is quite the bitch.  Before Kirk arrives on the scene the local ranchers are complaining because this woman has increased her cattle herd to ten thousand.  The local ranchers are satisfied with raising 800 to 1000 head of cattle each.  They make a good living and the land can support the grazing of their animals.  Now they find themselves being pushed out of their livelihoods because of one rancher’s self-interest.

Kirk is smitten with Jeanne Crain because she’s successful and beautiful for the 1950s – not the 1850s.  It’s understandable.  At one point Jeanne Rancher is asked by her hired hands if she plans to be a “hands on” rancher or does she plan to manage the ranch from back east. No way – she’s staying.

Kirk maneuvers his way into ranch foreman and into her cold, empty heart.  As she confides in him, he starts to see through her.  She plans to stay, but only long enough to increase the herd to 30,000 and to sell the place at an incredible profit.  He realizes that she has no interest in the other ranchers and will destroy them to get what she wants.  The other cattlemen have now turned to putting up barbed wire fencing to save their meager existence.  That’s where I’ll leave the synopsis.

I started to think about the parallels of what’s happening in Corporate America today.  The main focus is about profit margins and stock value.  Quality of life for everyone and any concern of the environment are of least important.  The ranchers were all peaceful and cordial with each other until greed came loping over the plains.

Saddle’em up boys! We ain’t wanted in these parts.   – Jake Drew

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