In an old Western movie, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), there are two pivotal characters: Senator Stoddard (James Stewart) and Tom Doniphon (John Wayne). Both were friends and the story revolves around the Senator returning to a town for Doniphon’s funeral. A journalist comes to interview Stoddard – who became a town legend for standing up against and killing Liberty Valance. However, [If I need to do a spoiler alert for an almost 60 year old movie, here it is] the Senator reveals to the journalist that it was Doniphon, not he who shot Liberty Valance and gave him the credit. While hoping to have the burden of carrying this truth lifted, the journalist saw the big picture of what happened as a result of Stoddard receiving the credit. A lawyer, not a real gunman, was the hero to a city. Stoddard’s status rallied people and aided him to becoming the first and three-timed Governor, two-termed Senator, Ambassador, and a man who could be the next Vice President. With that, the journalist took his notes from the interview, tore them up, and put them in a wood burning stove.
“You’re not going to use the story, Mr. Scott?”, inquired Senator Stoddard. (And, I hope you heard that in Jimmy Stewarts voice)
“No, sir,” Mr. Scott replied. “This is the west, sir. When the legend becomes fact. Print the legend.”