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The Ox-Bow Incident
SUBJECTS — U.S./The Frontier & the West; 1865 - 1913; The Law;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Justice;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Fairness.
Age: 12+; Not Rated; Drama; 1943; 75 minutes; B & W.
In The Ox-Bow Incident, a frontier town in 1885 Nevada is rocked by news that a respected rancher has been murdered. The sheriff is out of town. Impatient townspeople form a posse. Three strangers are soon found herding cattle marked with the brand belonging to the murdered rancher. They claim they bought the cattle — but there is no bill of sale. One of the strangers has the rancher's gun. He tells the posse that he bought it from the rancher but again, there is no evidence of this. Most of the posse wants to string the strangers up immediately. A few argue that the posse should wait and turn the strangers over to the sheriff. What will the posse do?
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to The Ox-Bow Incident will help parents and teachers introduce in a graphic way the meaning and importance of due process of law and the risks of mob rule. Good readers, ages 12 and up, should be encouraged to read the book before seeing the film.
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The Ox-Bow Incident provides important assistance in teaching the meaning of due process.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To demonstrate how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to improve lesson plans, we have set out below a discussion question from the Learning Guide to The Ox-Bow Incident.
Judge Tyler viewed dealing with the mob as "not my job." Did you admire the fact that he went beyond the limits of his job to try to stop the posse? The deputy, Mapes, also went beyond his job description when he deputized the posse. Obviously, the posse went beyond the law when it lynched the three strangers. Compare the actions of Judge Tyler, the Deputy, and the posse. What do these comparisons say about when and how one should violate existing rules?
The Learning Guide to the film The Ox-Bow Incident contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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