I haven't read the book either, so I don't know what Gilliam was thinking or if he was going to be the next shootist. My reference point was the movie which I am more familiar with.
I may have not interpreted this to you correctly, but the sheriff shoots Books in the back like a coward, either while he is sleeping, eating his meal, or taking his medicine. I consider the sheriff crooked.
I am not sure if Gilliam is the faster gunfighter or not. I didn't think he was in the movie version. I'll just have to read the book myself, or maybe someone can enlighten us on this question who has read the book.
Posts from Hondo Duke Lane in thread „The Shootist (1976)“
My question about the Shootist is what was he gonna do after he survived the gunfight. I know the bartender shot him, but if he hadn't, what was J. B. Books gonna do after that? I mean he still had cancer, was he gonna take his own life?
The book ended with Gilliam shooting Books in the back, and of course the movie had the bartender shooting Books in the back.
So if he had lived, we can only speculate an alternate ending, so I'd have to say based on the movie, that Books would have walked away, and looked for others to try to gun him down. I think that Gilliam's mom and Books would have nurtured their relationship, and became closer. Then others would try, but Books condition would worsen and the cancer is unbearable, until the sheriff comes in and guns down Books in cold blood, but the newspaper writer would make the sheriff the hero. A great scandal to say the least.
I like the movie's ending better by the way, gt.
Has George C Scott ever done a western?
George C. Scott was originally offered the role of Books, and accepted it on the condition that not one word of the script be changed. However, the role was given to John Wayne after he expressed interest. The producers claim they had wanted him all along, but did not believe he would be interested in the film.
This is what I found in the imbd thread about The Shootist. There might be more information about that, but I haven't found anything yet. I'll check later today on that information.