JOHN WAYNE gunslinger peacemaker


ten wisdoms 08

By Bernie Lopez
Excerpt from the book – Ten Wisdoms of the Lord’s Prayer.
Anecdote 2 page 13.
This has been blogged before as a separate article.
This is an anecdote on the power of prayer, lifted from an old western movie starring John Wayne circa 1950s (title unknown, dialogue reconstructed, script changed a little bit). A professional gunslinger (John Wayne as Matthew Perry), known in the entire West as the fastest gun of his time, a known vicious killer, wanders into the farm of John and his wife Jane.


MATTHEW – What’s happening here? Your animals and plants are dying.
JOHN – Our greedy neighbor kept the water all for himself.
MATTHEW – So what are you doing about it?
JANE – We are praying for the neighbor so that he may share his water.
MATTHEW – (Laughing). You cannot do it through prayer. You have to fight him, use force.
JANE – I think prayer is more effective than guns.
MATTHEW – Not in my world, lady. I’ll prove it to you. Let me pay this guy a visit.
JANE – Please, no guns, Mister.
MATTHEW – Let me handle this my way, Ma’am.


The irritated Matthew gallops to the neighbor’s farm. He sees three men, one who seems to be the boss, Fred, the neighbor, and two burly assistants.)


MATTHEW – Hey, you got more water than you need. You better share your water.
FRED – What’s it to you? Who might you be?
MATTHEW – Name’s Matthew Perry.
Matthew sees from the corner of his eye the two assistants drawing guns.
FRED – You better get along, Mister. You’re not wanted here.
ASSISTANT – Boss, Matthew Perry. You don’t recall who he is?
FRED – Oh, THE Matthew Perry, fastest gun this side of the west?
MATTHEW – Yup, that’s me.
BOSS – How do we know you’re not just some cheap impostor?
One of the two assistants draws a gun. Matthew beats him to the draw, hitting the assistant’s gun, which flies off.


ASSISTANT – It’s him alright, boss. I reckon.
MATTHEW – You reckon late, mister. I could have wiped you out, you know.
FRED – (Inspecting the saddle of the gunman). It’s him alright. It says here “M.P.”
MATTHEW – May I suggest you share your water a bit with your neighbors. Seems like you have plenty to spare. Why don’t you remove one plank (pointing to the mini-dam).
FRED – Hey, come on you two. Do it!
MATTHEW – I think two planks would be better.
FRED – Yes sir, Mr. Perry. Hey guys, make it quick.(As two planks are removed, water flows instantly.)
MATTHEW – Would you like to come with me, sir? I want you to meet your neighbor.
FRED – Do I have a choice?
MATTHEW – No. Look, if you’re scared, bring your gunman along.
FRED – No need. (They go on horseback to the next farm.)
MATTHEW – (To John and Jane). This here’s your nice neighbor who is sharing his water with you. (To Fred), You have something to say to them, Mister?
FRED – I am sorry for being greedy. It is my pleasure to share water with you.
JOHN – Thanks.
FRED – You’re welcome.
JANE – No thanks to you. Thanks to him. (pointing to Matthew). Say, what you got there on your neck? I would say that’s a pretty nasty boil, am I right?
FRED – Yeah. Been bothering me for weeks now.
MATTHEW – Ever since you kept the water to yourself, I bet.
JANE – I can fix that. You better get down.(They head for the house. Jane treats the boil.)
FRED – Appreciate it. Quite neighborly of you. Feels better already.
JANE – When you give, you get double, you know. That’s how life is.
MATTHEW – And if you don’t give, you lose double. Know what I mean?
JANE – Oh, while you’re here, I have something for you. (She disappears into the house quickly and comes out with two baskets). This pudding is my specialty.
FRED – Mighty nice of you, Ma’am. (To Matthew). Thank you for the lesson in sharing.
MATTHEW – No problem.
FRED – Sir. Would you like to have a big steak at my place tonight? As a token of goodwill.
MATTHEW – Don’t mind if I do. I haven’t had steak for a long while. (To John and Jane). Do you see what I mean? You have to use force to get justice. You have to fight for your rights. Guns are better than prayers. They don’t do you any good.
JANE – On the contrary, you see, the Lord sent you to us to bring us water. The Lord did it. He made you do it for us because we prayed.
MATTHEW – You mean, prayers are better than my gun?
JANE – Of course, Mister. You used fear to get your way. I used kindness to draw out my neighbor’s kindness. Now we are assured of water even if you’re long gone. Kindness for kindness, not force for force. If you look for war, you get it. If you look for peace, you get it.
MATTHEW – Well, I’ll be damned.
JOHN – No, son, you’ll be blest. Go your way. The Lord is now with you.
FRED – Gunmen have strange ways.
JOHN – The Lord has even stranger ways, my friend.


Fred and Matthew disappear. John and Fred become the best of friends. Matthew would visit them often and relish the steak dinners. And the water flowed to the dozen farms downstream. And there was peace in the valley only because someone prayed and understood the power of prayer. And there was prosperity only because everyone shared.


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Check out another book by the author –
Wings and Wanderlust (The Art of Discovering Your Inner Self)
Read some excerpts first at –
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