The Western is straightforward shot of drama. A mysterious drifter (Shane!) is passing through Wyoming, and starts chatting up an extremely "aw gee whiz" kid. The loquacious child's father is a hardworking homesteader, and his mother makes pie and smiles. But now a big rich jerk, who lived in the area when it was open range, is bullying the individual farmers. It's up to Shane (who has a violent past) to go forth and stand up for what's right. You can dig into the roiling psycho-sexual subtext all you want -- and many have, including the French! -- but Shane is a simple, pure, and elegant movie, and has been inspiring filmmakers for nearly 65 years.
Director George Stevens, who also made Giant, an extraordinary Western starring James Dean, and The Greatest Story Ever Told, a Jesus biopic that works in a pinch if you are ever short on Ambien, stages an outstanding and lengthy barroom brawl in the middle of Shane. It's a little bloody for 1953, especially for an audience that is meant to include children -- so many chairs shatter over another guy's head. Importantly, all of the action in the movie is intercut with reaction shots of "Little Joe" (Brandon deWilde, who was 10 at the time) and there's a "not in front of the kid!" aspect to all the violence. But it was likely deemed necessary because it showed what guts it took for Shane to be a hero. You leave the movie aspiring to be like him, or at least have a father smart enough to take him on as a hired hand.