Talk:The Outlaw Josey Wales

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References to use[edit]

Please add to the list references that can be used for the film article.
  • King, Mike (2008). "Broken Arrow, The Outlaw Josey Wales, and Dances with Wolves". The American Cinema of Excess: Extremes of the National Mind on Film. McFarland. pp. 150–151. ISBN 0786439882. 


The men who killed Josey Wales' family are members of Senator Jim Lanes' Redlegs, and the article should reflect this specific fact, rather than simply saying Kansas Jayhawkers. --Charles 04:39, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

Ok done that. Added some quotes too, although I suspect they'll need fixin'. Gotta admit, this is one of my favourite movies. --Jquarry 13:04, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Until I looked here, I was confused, as the term “Redleg” is unexplained, not familiar, and is introduced midway through the article, without reference to who they are (that is, the people who are Redlegs are introduced earlier in the passage without being identified as such). Could the article clarify this please…? Jock123 (talk) 13:33, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

similarity to Jesse James[edit]

In regards to the following statement:

It should be noted that Josey Wales' circumstances in the film somewhat mirror those of notorious outlaw Jesse James, although James was much younger at the time of the Civil War than the age Wales appears to be in the film.

Unless references can be provided that indicate that Forrest Carter was inspired by the story of Jesse James, this statement is just someone's opinion, hence a violation of the policy against POV and OR. Myself, I see only the smallest of similarities, considering that Jesse always rode with his brother, Frank, as well as the Younger Bros., whereas it is clear in both the novel and the film that Josey rides alone. At any rate, these are just opinions. ---Charles 19:06, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

There is a quite clear similarity in the general structuring of the Wales story with that of James. Both were adversely affected by the Civil War, both were gentlemen of the South, and both then went into a life of outlawry rather than come to terms with the North. If we take the story of James, then remove his compatriots to make him stand out more, against the general background as just described, we then have a story very similar to that of Wales. Any closer, and the author might have been accused of plagiarism. (talk) 04:16, 10 May 2015 (UTC)


The Return of Josey Wales should be noted.[1] It appears to be drek, but there it is. --Gadget850 ( Ed) 14:14, 4 May 2007 (UTC)


According to The Strike (Seinfeld episode) the line "It has a certain understated stupidity to it" is related to this film. Does anybody know how? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) on 30 May 2007

Jerry uses the line to describe the fake charity George creates to avoid giving Christmas gifts at work. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:23, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Yes we know how the line is used in Seinfeld. The question asked was, how does it relate to the movie? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:06, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Pretty sure that was a nonsequitur "lolsorandum" joke. I've seen this movie and Seinfeld both many times and I can't figure out any other connection. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:14, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:The outlaw josey wales.jpg[edit]

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Image:The outlaw josey wales.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images uploaded after 4 May, 2006, and lacking such an explanation will be deleted one week after they have been uploaded, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot 04:38, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Bill Wilson folklore vs. history[edit]

The current wording appears to be largely based on oral folklore that doesn't seem to be verifiable or based on reality:

Bill Wilson maintained a neutral stance until his wife and children were brutalized by renegade Union soldiers on his farm on Corn Creek near Edgar Springs, Missouri. Wilson then struck back with vengeance, tracking down those responsible. In the process, he became a wanted outlaw. "Mr. Wilson" is a pseudonym for Josey Wales in the film, possibly an acknowledgment of the plot's debt to the historical Bill Wilson.

In trying to track this down I've found very little about the man other than county folklore sources. And none of those sourced match the description above. The closest text I've found was a description of the execution of a local judge and his Confederate sons by militia after a horse theft incident involving Bill Wilson's compatriots. [2] As for Bill Wilson himself...this Greene County source [3] says: "Bill Wilson was one example of a bushwhacker who embarked on his own. His father was killed by Union troops moving through the area near Waynesville, Missouri. After this, Wilson roamed the wilds, cheerfully gunning down small Union patrols in revenge. The Union command at Rolla placed a price on his head, but he was never captured and lived in freedom long after the war." While a modern author on the subject of Missouri guerrilla warfare who has sifted through the state's county histories says [4] that burning his barn was the cause and that Bill ended up being killed in 1869 for his money while in McKinney Texas in an area with many ex-guerrillas and Confederates.

So I'm going to carve out the uncited speculation about brutalizing women and children--which was particularly rare, especially as a claim against Union forces in Missouri where most of the "occupiers" were actually other Missourians, not Kansans, etc. (Most likely for the movie it was Bill Wilson's personal war/tactics and flight to Mexico that would have been used as inspiration and melded with other stories.)

Another problem is that Bill Wilson's locale is far removed from Osceola and the border. "Redlegs/Jayhawkers" operated along the border counties and caused most of their havoc early in the war. The Unionist militia worked to keep them out as well, once organized. Red Harvest (talk) 18:25, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

references needed[edit]

I tagged the article with refimprove, there are a number of points that need sourcing but one point in particular was the source material, was it in fact published originally as The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales and then republished in 1975 as Gone to Texas? If so, when was the original date of publication? And later, was the novel released under the same title as the movie, with ISBN 044012994X? If so, the article should refer to that.

The article mentions that Asa Carter (a KKK guy) wrote the source novel, and says it is "ironic" that the film has an underlying message of racial harmony. Aside from needing sourcing, there needs to be some discussion of whether that theme was in the original novel or added by the writers of the film screenplay. Also it should be noted that there are no black people at all in the movie. Part of the “revisionism” of the movie is that it takes place just after the end of the U.S. Civil War but there are no references (even indirect) to Slavery as previously practiced in the U.S. South, but rather it is the Northerners who are shown practicing a form of slavery (planning to sell the women as prostitutes).

Where in the film do you see "Northerners" planning to sell women into prostitution? If you mean the Commancheros, they were hardly "Northerners." HammerFilmFan (talk) 10:40, 4 January 2011 (UTC)HammerFilmFan

The discussion of the film being a so-called revisionist western needs to be sourced. Also there should be a mention of the parallels with the Vietnam War, mentioned by Eastwood in his introduction to the movie on the DVD.

Finally the issue about Eastwood replacing Kaufman as director needs sourcing, as well as further discussion of why the Directors Guild of America felt this was so offensive that it needed to implement a special rule covering the situation. --Mathew5000 (talk) 00:58, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Status as a Revisionist Western[edit]

Other than it's production date, I don't see that Wales actually falls into the revisionist category. Neither it's text, style nor themes associate it with a film like Heavens Gate or differentiate it from a darker silver age western like say Winchester 73. The contention that it belongs in the category because it portrays "the long taboo" subject of Union treatment of Missourians at the hands of Unionists is debunked by basically every Jesse James film ever made. The list of films included on sub-genre's page needs some weeding. Dirk2112 (talk) 22:40, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

  • I don’t have a problem with the label. The film meets virtually every criteria as laid out in the opening paragraph of the Revisionist Western article on Wikipedia. The film certainly has a dark, dreary, and cynical tone, much more so than most traditional Westerns. It definitely favors realism over romanticism, constantly giving a gritty, even bleak portrayal of the West rather than a place of triumph, opportunity, and progress. It also arguably has stronger roles for women than traditional Westerns (women in the film are not simply love interests or the frail flower of white civilization that need to be protected). It also has more sympathetic portrayals of American Indians than what generally occurred in most traditional Westerns. In fact, its diverse and effective portrayal of American Indian characters won it notable popularity among many Native audiences, far more so than most traditional Westerns. And, yes, it also demonstrates critical views toward the US government and military. I wouldn’t say the character of Wales is a pure anti-hero, as is often the case in revisionist Westerns, but he does at least have some elements of an anti-hero. The film in general focuses much more than most Westerns and films in general on the enormous emotional, physical, and economic costs of the Civil War, rather than the glory or the triumph. Arguably, the film in general focuses much more on complex themes of pain, loss, and forgiveness rather than the more simple confines of good vs. evil, as a traditional Western often does. In short, I say keep the "Revisionist Western" label.Harry Yelreh (talk) 06:38, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
  • You see to my mind, your response pretty much sums up my problem with applying the "revisionist" label to Josey Whales. In that most factors you cite could be applied to numerous - if not the outright majority - of John Ford westerns. Dirk2112 (talk) 18:36, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Absolutely, Dirk. No one is saying that this film is unique in these themes or that it single-handedly "revised" Westerns as we knew them (however, its presentation of humanity and especially humor with Native American characters has been cited by Native American actors themselves as something very new at the time and still quite rare). The term "Revisionist Western" paints with a broad brush, and applies to many films, not just a select few (although certainly few proportionately when one considers the incredible number of Westerns made), and this film is generally accepted as being one among many because it contains what many consider to be elements that were obviously revisionist compared with what had long been the norm (arguably not just in film but in history books - indeed, revisionist Westerns made in the '60s and '70s reflected the revisionist themes that American historians were focusing on at the time). I would almost argue that it's the film's combination of so many revisionist elements - as opposed to one, two, or even three, as was sometimes the case with early revisionist Westerns - that makes it so rare. This is not to say that neither Ford nor anyone else ever made such a film. In fact, yes, many credit "The Searchers" as being one of the real groundbreakers and very first in the Revisionist Western film movement, if one wants to call it a movement. No one is trying to discredit Ford here or the other films you mention. It almost sounds to me like your argument is not precisely whether the revisionist label applies to TOJW but rather what the definition of "revisionist Western" is in itself. There is more discussion of this film and the definition of the term over at the Revisionist Western article; I'd suggest taking a look over there if you haven't already. I will say that enough time has gone by that Revisionist Westerns in general have basically become the norm within the genre (if Westerns are made at all), so I think that makes it more difficult for us to appreciate now or fully realize now how rare and groundbreaking they were (yes, even by the mid-1970s) and what exactly it was that they were revising. There's a good article on the subject here: . As it states: "Most Westerns from the 1960s to the present have revisionist themes." Harry Yelreh (talk) 03:18, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Eastwood's "favorite"[edit]

For years now, this Wikipedia article has been the only source I've known to state that The Outlaw Josey Wales is his favorite out of all the films he's made. The current version of the article basically says this twice (in the opening paragraph and at the end). Does anyone have a source for this? I recently watched the special features of the DVD, and in it Eastwood says that it certainly is a film that still causes people to come up to him and call it THEIR favorite. But unless I missed it, nowhere on the special features - or anywhere else that I know of - does he say that it's his favorite. He states that the film has a special place for him (non-quoting there), but he doesn't say it's his favorite. I've long been skeptical that he ever made such a statement, and after watching the special features I've become suspicious of a misquote. Harry Yelreh (talk) 03:12, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Wales family[edit]

The ties of Josey Wales family to wiki founder Jimmy Wales should be added to article. !! (talk) 22:13, 11 June 2011 (UTC) hank wms jr


Please check the Hell on Wheels (TV series), the almost exact same character, but different expectations.-- (talk) 02:08, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

"Historical basis"[edit]

This section seems entirely original research. In checking on the sources, two of them (IMDB and "history message boards") painfully fail the expectations we have of RS (and the latter doesn't mention Wales). The book by Foote is certainly a reliable source, and while it substantiates the information about Jayhawkers, its connection to the film is again original research. I'm pulling the section unless someone is able to provide reliable sources connecting the material to the film. Grandpallama (talk) 16:57, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

@Grandpallama: I agree with the removal. There are surely better sources to use for this film. Erik (talk | contribs) 17:49, 12 December 2013 (UTC)