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TITLE: GUNFIGHTERS OF THE OLD WEST AUTHOR: Jon Cohrs GRADE LEVEL: Suitable for grades 7-12 OVERVIEW/PURPOSE: The fact and fiction that surrounds the American West captivates our society like few other historical eras. Sorting out what was real from what Hollywood has contributed to our understanding of gunfighters is important to understanding the Old West. In this activity, students have an opportunity to combine their knowledge of several well-known gunfighters into a composite, fictionalized character. OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to: 1) Identify, through specific character traits, several of the major gunfighters of the Old West. 2) Demonstrate understanding of personality traits that made gunfighters famous. 3) Create a new, composite character from preexisting and famous persons and their own imagination. RESOURCES/MATERIALS: Background data on gunfighters (see below), writing materials. ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES: - 1 - Martin Megalobux, a major motion picture producer has come to you with a problem. He plans to make an epic film about the most famous gunfighter in American history, Evil Eddie (or Edith, depending upon your preference). Why has Megalobux come to you? Only because you are THE leading historian in the world when it comes to gunfighters. You have the insight into the Evil One, that comes only from years of intense study of the gunfighter psyche. Megalobux is giving you time to come up with an in- depth character sketch/biography of the Evil One. He is under deadline pressure to turn the sketch over to his screenwriters so that they can get to work. Naturally, Megalobux has given you an unlimited budget and resources, but in exchange, he expects quality (and quantity--2 pages). He has listed some aspects of Evil Eddie/Edith that must be included: childhood experiences; family life; where he has lived/worked; whether he/she was on the good or bad side of the law; mental makeup; teenage activities; first, most famous and last gunfighting experience; cause of death; associates (other gunfighters, lovers, enemies, etc.); gunfighting skills; and how he/she got the nickname "Evil". As an expert on the Evil One, you have been waiting for this chance for your entire lifetime. You have your major sources all prepared: "Legends of the Old West" and "Six- Shooter Experts." Draw from these sources to provide a basis for Evil Eddie's/Edith's profile. Naturally, he/she was quite an individual: he/she had many of the same characteristics, but he/she stood out from the crowd to become THE MOST FAMOUS GUNFIGHTER OF ALL TIME. Make this apparent to Megalobux so that he will refer to you in the future. He has lots of MONEY and has a soft spot in his heart for old western movies!! - 2 - Students should pre-evaluate their work and have peers edit a draft copy. Students should then make the necessary revisions before submitting a final draft. TYING IT ALL TOGETHER: Students may publish their work by either reading it aloud or posting it.
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