Contrary to how the genre would develop through the spaghetti-westerns a decade later, this classical western doesn't portray the west as a callous and bloody world populated by powerful, duelling gunslingers. In Shane, we meet the families of settlers who have forged a new life for themselves and who are effectively antiquating the old gunfighters, here represented by the title character. He is trying to adapt by finding work as a farm hand, but for Joey (Brandon deWilde), the little boy on the farm, Shane is still a hero – and not the miserable, irrelevant and dying breed he feels like. The complexity in the Shane character is very well communicated by Alan Ladd and director George Stevens, making the film far more multifaceted and interesting than most of its counterparts from the same era. And as handled by Stevens (A Place in the Sun, Giant), Shane works equally well as en entertainment film as it does as a social study. It's a bittersweet and very intelligent story of uprising, friendship and disillusion. Little Brandon deWilde's gripping performance as Joey earned him an Oscar nomination.