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Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?

Tiger 17 May 10 - 03:45 PM
Cool Beans 17 May 10 - 04:06 PM
deepdoc1 17 May 10 - 04:13 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 17 May 10 - 04:37 PM
Nancy King 17 May 10 - 05:09 PM
Tiger 17 May 10 - 05:12 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 17 May 10 - 05:26 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 17 May 10 - 05:43 PM
olddude 17 May 10 - 05:48 PM
JeffB 17 May 10 - 06:04 PM
Micca 17 May 10 - 06:14 PM
dick greenhaus 17 May 10 - 06:40 PM
mousethief 17 May 10 - 09:22 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 17 May 10 - 09:24 PM
Gweltas 18 May 10 - 12:23 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 18 May 10 - 12:23 AM
Nancy King 18 May 10 - 12:28 AM
JohnInKansas 18 May 10 - 03:19 AM
Geoff the Duck 18 May 10 - 04:06 AM
GUEST 18 May 10 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,kendall 18 May 10 - 06:37 AM
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Subject: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: Tiger
Date: 17 May 10 - 03:45 PM

OK, it's a slow day in the consulting business, so I'm going through a few songs on my list. And, I wondered, why did the 'singer' have to get out of El Paso so fast?

He was, after all, a local (at least, a regular) at Rose's. He'd been around long enough to fall in love with Felina.

Then, in comes a stranger, a 'wild young cowboy' - obviously no one knew him from Adam.

Further, the stranger drew first - "Down went his hand for the gun that he wore". So, our hero killed in self defense. Isn't that the "Law of the West"?

So, why was it such a "foul, evil deed"? And why did he need to run at all?

Like I said, it's a slow day.


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: Cool Beans
Date: 17 May 10 - 04:06 PM

He challenged the wild young cowboy to a duel. Maybe dueling was illegal. If it had gone the other way maybe the wild young cowboy would have been on the run.


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: deepdoc1
Date: 17 May 10 - 04:13 PM

If he hadn't run, it would've been a different song...;) El Paso Dooley, maybe? And if the outcome was the same, the song might have been much shorter.


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 17 May 10 - 04:37 PM

It's not self-defense, it's a crime of passion. In other words, Murder Two.

He's in love with Felina but she's not - or at least he thinks she's not - in love with him ("I was in love but in vain, I could tell.") He sees her schmoozing with a handsome young stranger and "In anger ... challenged his right for the love of this maiden". The stranger's hand went down for his gun, but if he was dead in less than a heartbeat, obviously the narrator already had his out, ready to shoot. This isn't self-defense, and clearly he knows it. ("I had but one chance and that was to run" "back in El Paso my life would be worthless")

And he made it to safety too, it was going BACK that did for him. Ah, ain't love grand?


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: Nancy King
Date: 17 May 10 - 05:09 PM

Whether you like the song or not, or understand the plot or not, if you haven't seen this video, you haven't lived. Thanks to Bill D for pointing it out to me a while back.


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: Tiger
Date: 17 May 10 - 05:12 PM

Not a crime of passion. He says, "the challenge was answered" so the stranger drew first.

Remember, this was the Old West. Everyone was packing. You could shoot horse thieves and anyone else who drew on you first.


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 17 May 10 - 05:26 PM

I dunno - I don't think challenging someone counts as self-defense. "In anger" suggests passion, especially if it involves jealousy, and I always interpreted "down went his hand for the gun that he wore" as meaning the stranger reached for his gun but didn't get to it in time. Which he clearly didn't, seeing as how he ended up dead. "My challenge was answered" doesn't paint the other guy as being the aggressor. I suppose it's all in how you look at it...

So in anger I challenged his right for the love of this maiden
Down went his hand for the gun that he wore
My challenge was answered in less than a heart-beat
The handsome young stranger lay dead on the floor


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 17 May 10 - 05:43 PM

It's much simpler than that, I think.

Trail crews became close as brothers with all they had to overcome on a cattle drive, and the impression I get is that they were the nineteenth century equivalent of a biker gang, when they hit town with full pockets.

So it seems likely that he would have been in more danger from the cowboy's friends than from the law. Remember what was waiting on his return.

"off to my right I see five mounted cowboys, off to my left ride a dozen or more"

Not deputies, cowboys. Had they been deputies he might have expected that they would try to arrest him, even in those days, rather than shoot on sight.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: olddude
Date: 17 May 10 - 05:48 PM

i think don got it right. it all depended on who got shot back then, they called it the wild west for good reason


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: JeffB
Date: 17 May 10 - 06:04 PM

Thanks Nancy, loved the video, it was screamingly funny. What is strange for me was that I hated the song when I first heard it (195?) but quite like it now, partly because I can appreciate the guitar work I suppose.

The question which bothered me back then was - who squealed on him? Off he goes into the badlands, scot free, then decides to sneak back, and at least 17 cowboys are riding out to get him. Someone must have tipped them off ....


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: Micca
Date: 17 May 10 - 06:14 PM

Then there is of course the "short" version, Preferably with the fancy guitar intro..
" Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
I met a girl and got shot and I died"


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 17 May 10 - 06:40 PM

Most of the shooting in the Old West (aside from destroying coyotes and rattlesnakes) occurred in the movies. Most folks didn't much like people who shot other folks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: mousethief
Date: 17 May 10 - 09:22 PM

Whether you like the song or not, or understand the plot or not, if you haven't seen this video, you haven't lived.

Priceless. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 17 May 10 - 09:24 PM

He ran because there was a sale on used hot dog water!


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: Gweltas
Date: 18 May 10 - 12:23 AM

Thanks for posting the link to the video, Nancy.....it was a hoot!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 18 May 10 - 12:23 AM

Another view from Marty:


El Paso City


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: Nancy King
Date: 18 May 10 - 12:28 AM

Well, if Marty Robbins couldn't figure it out, there's no reason we should expect to!


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 May 10 - 03:19 AM

Don T got it right.

In the "wild west" (the movie version mostly) that's the basis/background for the song, there was no such thing as a "handsome stranger" with money in his pockets and carrying a gun unless he was part of a trail herd and/or worked for a reasonably prosperous rancher. In either case, those with whom he worked were a "brotherhood" that didn't accept any ill fortune that befell one of them if there was someone handy to blame.

Regardless of justification or legality, shooting a "person not regularly seen in town" was akin to the more modern act of hitting a member of a biker gang in the head with a shovel. Retaliation was certain, and grudges were held for a very long time.

While in the old west there was only a small bit of truth to the "lore," it is unfortunately explicitly visible among some current (street?) gangs worldwide now.

Today we'd say "He had to run 'cause the stranger wore colors," and everyone would understand.

John


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 18 May 10 - 04:06 AM

Just watched the Steve Martin video. Excellent!
Listening to the lyric (if I heard right), when making a run from town, the cowboy did appear to help himself to a horse from out back. I daresay that the locals wouldn't be expected treat a horse thief well on his return.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 May 10 - 06:01 AM

I always had the impression he was unwelcome amongst the mexican community,who did'nt like an outsider trying to take one of their girls.All the cowboys were mexican


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Subject: RE: Origins: El Paso: Why did he run?
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 18 May 10 - 06:37 AM

Maybe this guy was a famous gun slinger. After all, the other guy drew first, so he must have been very good with a gun. Then there was the stolen horse.Just that would get you killed or hanged in those days.


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