I choose to ride with Walt Longmire instead of John Wayne because Longmire said, “You never know if you’re right.”
Wayne as Capt. Nathan Brittles said, “Never apologize, mister: It’s a sign of weakness.”
Longmire delivered his line in a well-written discussion of moral issues in “Miss Cheyenne,” Season 3, Episode 3. It was Walt’s response to a self-sure doctor, who said, “Despite what you may think, I know I was right.”
Wayne’s character delivered the “never apologize” line in “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,” which was a pretty uninspiring except for the scenery and Ben Johnson’s riding.
I am still debating Victor McLaglen’s corny-but-lovable Sgt. Quincannon in “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,” like maybe I should apologize for laughing along with the stereotype of a loyal and hard-drinking Irishman. My heels are dug in, though, on what I consider the misguided, macho advice of John Wayne aka Nathan Brittles. I don’t agree. Sometimes apologizing is important.
When the going gets tough, I and my own flinty-eyed film character believe you do what you think is best at the time. But, to borrow an expression from Gabby Hayes, another one of my guiding lights, I’ll be hornswoggled if you ever really know you’re right.
I know I should use my best judgment but I also know I can’t be the final judge of my own rectitude.