789: Showdown

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The tumbleweed then tried to roll off into the sunset, but due to the Old West's placement north of the subtropical ridge, the prevailing winds were in the wrong direction.
Title text: The tumbleweed then tried to roll off into the sunset, but due to the Old West's placement north of the subtropical ridge, the prevailing winds were in the wrong direction.


Shootouts were common in many old Western films, most famously in spaghetti Westerns. Commonly, to accentuate the silence and dreariness of the scene before the fight, a tumbleweed would roll past the fighters. In this comic, the two gunmen, as per the cliche, stand quietly. The tumbleweed then rolls past, and pulls a pair of revolvers. It then shoots both of the gunfighters simultaneously, winning the duel. This is somewhat unusual.[citation needed]

The title text refers to a common trope in Westerns to have the hero (or in this case, the tumbleweed) ride (roll) into the sunset at the conclusion of the film. However, given that prevailing winds go from West to East, that means that the tumbleweed would be unable to tumble into the sunset, thus meaning it cannot reenact this trope no matter how hard it tries.


[Two cowboys face off silently in the desert, the blazing sun beating down.]
[They exchange steely glares, hands poised to reach their guns, as a tumbleweed rolls into frame.]
[Close-up on the tumbleweed. It draws two guns.]
[The tumbleweed shoots both cowboys simultaneously, and they fall backwards.]

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That's some killer weed, man! 8)_50.29.196.15 12:58, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

haha, hilarious! --Jeff (talk) 15:56, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Someone should explain the title text... but not me, as I don't fully get it myself. 11:16, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

The subtropical ridge is also the Horse Latitudes where Spanish sailors would often go to ditch horses. I think they washed up on the beaches at Cowifornia; hence the need for survivors of old west shoot-outs to head there. There has been a lot of bad feeling between the Spanish speaking original inhabitants, especially in Cowifornia because they speak Spanish and are not confined to Mexico or open prisons in USA.
Um, NO! Even if we would allow the folk-entomology of the horse latitudes being where ships became becalmed and ran low on water and were forced to sacrifice their horses, they would hardly be the place where “Spanish Sailors came to ditch their horses” like that was something that Spanish sailors did... the real origin of the name comes from the nautical term of a ship being “horsed” when it is running with the current rather than with the wind. When this is desirable (and the winds contrary or light) then the sails can be taken down. The horse latitudes are where there are strong currents that are used in preference to winds that are often very light or non-existent. 05:31, 2 January 2019 (UTC)

A significant part of old fashioned shoot-outs is their timing, which was often based on the Tumbleweed Metric. These days (with digital watches and radio signals) noon is not so important. Neither is sunset.

Oddly mornings never take place in westerns, they are a little like herding cows, getting covered in flies or/and watering and feeding horses in that respect. In fact tying horses to rails set up outside bars-rooms may account for the practice of ditching them later in the Horse Latitudes.

I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 16:37, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

I’m surprised that no one here pointed out the fact that tumbleweeds (Salsola tragus) didn’t arrive in the United States (from the steppes of Russia) until about 1870 and thus were not present during the actual time that Western movies portray. Used to drive me crazy that there would be these huge anachronisms literally blowing around the sets when I would watch Western movies as a kid. 05:15, 2 January 2019 (UTC)

I love this Citation Needed for the dryly obvious explanation trope. — Kazvorpal (talk) 21:25, 28 October 2019 (UTC)

...That's the joke.[citation needed] 15:01, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

In the fourth frame, the sun is in a wrong position, as the opponents are viewed from the side. (talk) 07:09, 19 March 2023 (UTC)‎ (please sign your comments with ~~~~)