I was watching one of my favorite movies the other day, “McLintock!” starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. This film has many good scenes, speeches and moments that are worth looking at. This is one of them.
There’s no such thing as free land. If you can make these homesteads go you’ll have earned every acre of it.
– G. W. McLintock
In 1862 the Homestead Act was signed by congress to have the Western United States settled. Some people perceived this as the easy way to get land and money. The faulty thinking is the word “easy.” It was nothing more than opportunity.
Opportunity is one of the cornerstones to the American Dream. People came here to have opportunities they wouldn’t have had back where they came from.
Just because you have an opportunity doesn’t grant success either. Once you have the opportunity it is up to your actions, and maybe some luck, to determine how you profit from it. (As we learned from Rule 24. There are no bad results, only a different type of learning.)
An excellent example that can be taken from the clip is McLintock himself. Later in the movie he tells his daughter how when he and her mother came to the Masa Verde they had next to nothing. They fought Indians to protect their land, they drove their herd of cattle miles to protect them in the hard winter. Everything he had came from working his land with his cattle, taking chances, risks, and opportunities that came his way.
When opportunity knocks on your door remember, no matter how free the land may look, you’ll earn it with sweat and blood. And really, is it worth as much if you don’t have to work for it?