The western Winchester ’73 speaks volumes about masculinity and how men act when they lose it. Throughout the movie, men steal and lose masculinity from other males in numerous forms such as winning a shooting contest, dominating another male physically, stealing the girl or plain shooting another man. Throughout the whole movie, Lin McAdam chases and regains his masculinity which was taken and passed through several characters as represented by the Winchester. This film also shows there are varying levels of masculinity males accept.
The character Steve somehow defies lack of masculinity, especially in a time where masculinity and wealth are the most important characteristics of men. The only masculine feature Steve could rest his hat on is his beautiful girl, Lola. His lack of masculinity becomes apparent as he flees alone from danger, cannot control Lola from flirting with other men especially an older, ugly-faced officer, and is completely dominated by Johnny Dean. For some men like Steve, having the beautiful girl is enough in terms of masculinity while for others like Lin, the attention of Lola only amounts to part of Lin’s masculinity.
Lin not only needs to recover his masculinity which is represented by the Winchester but also has to avenge his father through killing his brother. Lin’s brother emasculated Lin buy killing his father, stealing his gun and by physically overpowering Lin. At the end, Lin proves he is the better shot even with a lesser gun and retains the memory of his father, the Winchester, Lola and his masculinity. Meanwhile, Steve withstands mass amounts of emasculation until Dean forced to make coffee and threatens Steve to wear an apron and clean the floor. Winchester ’73 shows that different men accept differing levels of masculinity and that the beautiful woman ends up with the most masculine character.