Blog Post #10 (4/19–before class)

For the tenth blog post, choose a short line of dialogue (or a link to a brief clip!) from The Outlaw Josey Wales and explain its significance to the movie (the plot, character, etc.) and/or its historical significance.

EDIT: I decided to play.

“Endeavor to Persevere”

Lone Wattie reflects on his meeting with the Secretary of the Interior. As a Cherokee, Lone Wattie was a member of one of the “civilized tribes” forced to endure the “Trail of Tears, the years-long forced march of Native Americans from their homes in the Southeastern United States to Oklahoma during which Lone Wattie watched his family and many others die under the horrible conditions. He has donned the Abraham Lincoln attire the chiefs sported to impress the Secretary of the Interior, perhaps trying to show him that their cultures, too, required respect and dignity. The secretary tells them to “endeavor to persevere,” an empty phrase that connotes a sense of futility and despair with no real hope of salvation. Earlier in the film, we see Fletcher respond to the senator who tells him that “to the winner go the spoils”—a similar empty phrase—to which Fletcher responds “don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining” and confirms he is familiar with the cultural indifference associated with orders to just “accept the inevitable.” Unfamiliar with this culture, the “civilized tribes” have to think about what “endeavor to persevere” really means until “when we thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union.” Throughout the rest of the film, the viewer watches several instances of Lone Wattie grappling with his “Indian-ness” in the face of the “civilized” whites’ war, including the very next shot when he claims the whites’ rock candy “ain’t for eating, it’s just for looking through”—an indication that despite everything else he can see through their BS.

One of the things I like about the film is how Eastwood at least attempted to show some of the internal conflict with which Native Americans struggled and two different reaction to that conflict—Lone Wattie’s and the “squaw”‘s attempts to assimilate and Ten Bears’ and the Comanche’s attempts to fight back. As someone mentioned below, among the final scenes the viewer sees a tenuous reconciliation between two outsiders who resist, Ten Bears and Josey Wales.

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