It is a common, though often unrecognized facet of the male nature is its reaction to guilt and redemption. This is rarely discussed both because of our culture's general hostility towards masculinity, and because of false information circulated in the Manosphere and their counterparts, the Feminists. Men experience guilt typically by turning their anger inwards and seek redemption through action. With females this typically works the opposite way; and of course we are speaking here of moral men and women. The immoral never acknowledge guilt or the need for redemption in the first place. And even more typically, our culture has no sympathy whatsoever for fallen men.
This weekend's feature is a 1969 Western that highlights this psychological theme perfectly. Night of the Serpent stars Luke Askew and former beauty queen Magda Konopka.
Night of the Serpent is not by any means a standard Western, although there is plenty of action. A once-famous gunfighter known only as Luke (Askew) has hit bottom after a tragic accident in which he killed a young boy. Now a hopeless alcoholic, Luke has drifted to Mexico where he lives with a gang of bandits and is known only as 'The Gringo'. Luke is so far gone that the bandits assign him menial camp chores in exchange for tequila; and often bully and abuse him.
Meanwhile, a group of corrupt military officers plot to seize an inheritance by murdering a young heir. They approach Pancho, the leader of the bandits, to dispatch an expendable member of his band to commit the murder. The one chosen is going to be caught and executed. Pancho chooses Luke for the job. But when Luke confronts the boy, he comes face-to-face with the reality of what he has become; and come to grips with the circumstances that led to his moral and psychological breakdown. He decides to fight for the boy's rights instead: but can he be the great gunfighter he once was? That will be seen when watching.
Among fans of Westerns, Night of the Serpent has a strong segment who consider it one of the greatest Westerns of all time. It is a film that has an appeal to men who can relate to it on an intellectual level. By intellectual here we mean that class of men who can empathize with a character like Luke's. Real men have a deep respect for other men who can redeem and pull themselves out of terrible circumstances and come through when the chips are down. Unfortunately, this character-type has largely disappeared from pop-culture---mostly because the concept of redemption has also disappeared from it.
It is often---though mistakenly---believed by many that our Postmodern culture denies human evil and considers all actions equally moral. This is an illusion. Postmodernists reject morality, but embrace its opposite---immorality---as normative, and reject the idea of redemption. A character like Luke's, in their scheme of things, never has nor deserves forgiveness; no matter what he does.
Going against that philosophy is what makes Night of the Serpent a great film. This is a film and storyline that has a certain reality to it that real people can really follow. It's a display of the depths and heights a man can achieve when his actions are determined by moral choice.
Night of the Serpent is currently available only on DVD. It sometimes is listed under the title, Nest of Vipers.