Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 119

Who is the Man With No Name? 115 decision is made with a mind toward honoring the family name; and it prevents her, for a while, from even acknowledging her attraction to the Virginian. This highlights the novel’s romantic leanings; the muchsought but hard-to-win high-status person o f either sex is a romance novel stock character. Still, it is a realistic one; name, wealth and Status often influence Cupid’s aim. People adopted different naming conventions as they moved from between social spheres, as well, or as social spheres came to them. Just as natives took aliases that suited civilized men, such as “Captain Truckee,” eastem men could drop their names as they moved into the wildemess. The man altematively called Hawkeye, Pathfinder, or Leatherstocking, all descriptive nicknames o f the native style, answered just as easily to the name “Natty Bumppo.” The Bumppo name was evidently not distinguished enough to worry about keeping in the west, as was the Stark name. As unimportant as a name was to W ister’s title hero, it is certain that he used his real one in business dealings. Changes in name are not a surprising result o f this change in locale; the west was supposed to be a place where a man could change, and would be changed whether he wanted it or not. “In short, at the ffontier the environment is at first too strong for the man. He must accept the conditions which it fiimishes, or perish, and so he flts him self into the Indian Clearings and follows the Indian trails” (Turner 61). And, it seems, he may adopt a Native attitude or several, including one that allows him to adopt a new name in a new place and feel like a new man after some strenuous living. “In defining ‘strenuousness,’” Barbara Will teils us, “ [Teddy] Roosevelt championed not healthfiil ‘balance’ but ‘the life o f toil and effort, o f labor and strife . . . which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shirk from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out o f these wins the splendid ultimate triumph’— the latter being nothing less than ‘the domination o f the w orld’” (Will 296). This defined for Roosevelt the type o f man at home in the west, and it certainly reflects the literary and filmic westem hero. These, o f course, sprang from their creators’ imaginations, and few fed their imaginations as legitimately as Wister. Seeking solace from nervousness, he foreshadowed the travels that his narrator, known only as “The Tenderfoot,” would make in The Virginian. “W ister eagerly took up the challenge and in 1885 boarded a train destined for the Big Hom Basin in Wyoming Territory, anticipating a virgin wildemess where he could be ‘something o f an animal and not a stinking brain alone.’ The