Some years ago I watched an actor being interviewed about a Western gunfight scene he was doing for a movie.

They tried several takes, and the sound man complained that he was hearing music each time. Where was the music coming from?

It turns out, the actor confessed, that he was creating music but he did not know it.

He was humming his favorite Western music from old movies as he played the scene.

If you grew up in someplace like Wyoming, or just love Old Westerns, then you have some of these tunes in your head.

Let's start with what is probably the most famous Western Gunfight theme of all.

This next one slowly builds to the final battle.

It's called The Shootist.

The Shootist is a movie starring John Wayne.

J.B. Books (John Wayne, in his final film role) is an aging gunfighter diagnosed with cancer who comes to Nevada at the turn of the 20th century.

Renting a room from widowed Bond Rogers (Lauren Bacall) and her son Gillom (Ron Howard), Books is confronted by several people of questionable motives.

Here is one I found on YouTube called Spaghetti Western Theme.

The description reads:

Get ready for a western DUEL battle! A trailer track in the style of the iconic Spaghetti Western themes of old.

There is usually a lot of whistling in old gunfight music.

Add some twanging, some guys shouting "HUGH!" and a twangy guitar and you have a Western gunfight tune.

A latecomer to Westerns was Django Unchained.

Quentin Tarantino's DJANGO UNCHAINED official motion picture soundtrack - Ft. Rick Ross, John Legend, Anthony Hamilton & Elayna Boynton and more.

But this gunfighter music is a lot different.

Somewhere in the middle of the music it breaks into RAP!

But, that's Quentin Tarantino for you.

What music pops into your head when you think of Old West Gunfights?

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