A Reckoning

3 mins read

Recently, I was rewatching the great movie, Tombstone, with my youngest son. It was the first time he had seen it. I experienced much joy seeing him react to the events depicted, as Wyatt Earp tried to live a normal life, but was forced into action by the criminal Cowboy gang. Of course, Wyatt Earp, as played by the incomparable Kurt Russell, is my favorite character in the film, as he does what must be done, even at great cost to himself. Still, some of the most memorable scenes and lines are those involving Val Kilmer‘s Doc Holliday.
In two separate scenes, we see Doc compare what motivates the good and noble Earp with what motivates the evil Johnny Ringo. Now, part of what set Earp on his rampage against the evil doers was the attack on his family, where one brother was killed and another permanently maimed. As Earp leads his men in an ongoing assault on the Cowboys,  one of Earp’s group comments that if his own brothers had been attacked, he would want revenge, too.
Doc replies thusly:

A reckoning. Not revenge. Now there are three main definitions of the word “reckoning.” One deals with estimating value of an object. The second is to provide an opinion or judgment. The third seems to be what Holliday is referring to, though: “a bill or account, or its settlement.”
Earp is not acting out of vengeance. He is calling due what evildoers owe. It is time for the Cowboys to pay, so pay they must.
Now compare that with how Doc refers to the driving force in Ringo (it starts at about the 40 sec mark here):

Ringo has an empty spot in his soul that he tries to fill with killing, stealing, and other improper actions. It is never enough. When prodded more, Doc proclaims that revenge is Ringo’s motivation. “Revenge for what?” asks Earp. “For being born,” whispers Doc.
Ringo’s nature is evil. Everything he does is to inflict damage on the world around him. Wyatt determines to settle the bill. Now, I expect you have seen the film, but if not, be prepared for a big spoiler here: Doc actually takes Wyatt’s place, without Earp’s knowledge, and kills Johnny Ringo, as he knew that Wyatt would not be able to best Ringo in a straight up gunfight. [Ed. Note: We realize this is not historical, but it fits the narrative of what we are discussing]. He explains his actions earlier in the film:

So, besides being a quick look at some pivotal moments in the movie, what is the relevance to our modern situation? It is simple, actually. For the past century (or more), the Left has tried to fill its emptiness by destroying what is good and proper. It lashes out and destroys. During that same time period, the Right has stood by and allowed it to happen. We just wanted to be left alone. Like Earp, we just wanted to live our lives in peace, pursuing our own goals and desires, unmolested. Unfortunately, the Left (like the Cowboys in the movie) cannot allow us to do that. They push and push, take and take, and finally push us to the breaking point.
It is time for a reckoning. The Right can no longer sit idly by, watching our culture be demolished by the Left. If they want to push, then it is time to push back – and it is happening. Those on the Left want to start targeting “Conservative” media, flooding the sponsors of those shows with threats? Fine, the Right can do that, too. The Left wants to target those on the Right, threatening their jobs, families, or even lives? Guess what? We can do that, as well.  One group is logging every attack on Trump supporters.
The fact is that we are long past the time when the Right should have stood up, but finally, belatedly, we are beginning to do so.
Without a doubt, there are many other things that we can be, and should be, doing. You need to be aware of your local community and what dangers exist there. For some, those may be few, but for others, they will be many. You may not be able to tackle them all, but you can tackle one. Do it.
We need Men of the West to stand up for what is right, wherever they find themselves. We also need to build relationships with likeminded men, so that we can support and complement each other. There is no way Earp kills Ringo in a gun fight. That is Holliday’s role. In the same manner, we must do what we can, helping one another to call the Left to account for their actions.
In Tombstone, the Cowboys ran the town. They were lawless and damaging to the culture. It took Earp’s reckoning to solve the problem. Likewise, today we see the Left acting lawlessly and damaging our culture. We need to stand firm. We need to bring a Reckoning.

Lead Scheduler at MOTW. Husband, Father, but most importantly, a man of God. Possesses more degrees that most people find useful.


  1. Good piece. But Val Kilmer completely stole the show. Russell looks like he’s in clown makeup most of the movie.

    • Oh, he was fantastic, without a doubt. As a real life person, Doc is a much more interesting individual, too.

    • Dunno about that. With all the whiteface they had to put on him to show the tuberculosis, he may have been the one closest to clown-levels of makeup.

  2. Excellent job. This article explores a distinction that many have sensed but couldn’t quite put their finger on and/or articulate.

  3. The Christian Church has lost it’s understanding of the difference between justice and vengeance. I’ve said that before and I think that’s what you’re saying here.
    Justice is very important to the Lord, and He expects those in authority to take that responsibility. Neither the political right, nor the Christian Church, has done much of that for the past 150-160 years.

  4. I shared this article with two life-long friends not necessarily friendly to the Alt-Right, but both responded very favorably to its content. We have more potential allies than we know.

  5. My sister, a conservative Republican like myself, recently was “attacked” by a very dear college friend of hers because of her political views. My brother in law and I were discussing this misunderstanding they had and and the conversation quickly drifted into the vernacular of the great movie “Tombstone”. Wanting to get a clearer understanding of the difference between “vengeance” and “reckoning”, I happened upon this article. Thank you for not only satisfying my primary goal but for so eloquently comparing today’s societal dilemma to the plot of “Tombstone”.
    I wonder if the producers/directors/actors had that in mind at the time of filming. I understand Kurt Russell is a very vocal conservative and one of the few Hollywood actors I’d like to meet.

    • HI Robert. Glad you found the article useful. Who knows what the producers of the film intended, but sometimes truth is evident, even if that was not the primary purpose. Sorry to hear about your sister, but that is typical of the world in which we live.

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