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"The graveyards are full of boys who were very young...and very proud."
Vin (Yul Brynner) in The Magnificent Seven

The Young Gun is the Western equivalent of the Kid Samurai: a younger, less-awesome version of The Gunslinger, looking to make a name for himself. Expect him to be hot-headed and impetuous. He will probably attach himself to an older, more experienced character, looking up to him as a mentor figure, only to be told that this is no kind of life for anyone and that he should get out while he still can.

The Young Gun differs from his counterpart The Gunfighter Wannabe in that the Young Gun actually has what it takes to be a gunslinger, but just needs a little training/experience/maturity in order to get up to speed. The Gunfighter Wannabe, by contrast, lacks the talent or temperament to make it as a gunslinger and his attempt to try to make a name for himself despite the warnings of his elders generally doesn't end well.

Examples of Young Gun include:

Anime and Manga

  • Subverted in Katekyo Hitman Reborn with the titular character, since he was an adult that was cursed and turned into an infant. He is the mentor, even in his infant state.
    • Played straight with Lambo, the 5-year old hitman with an arsenal of weapons stored in his afro. His target Reborn does not even care enough to not be amused.
  • Colt from Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs.
  • Hot Shot from Transformers Armada.
  • Yuna of Mahou Sensei Negima, who proved herself to be very talented at fighting with Guns Akimbo during the Mages vs Martians game and has continued to wield the guns she used then even after the Mahora Festival. However, she still has a long way to go before she reaches the likes of Mana or even the gun-using mage teacher.
  • Teana at the start of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S. It took some time and a few knocks to the head for her to grow out of her hot-headed recklessness and mature to a truly effective Gunslinger.
  • Doraemon (yeah): This is, out of all people in the world, Nobita whenever the cast travel to a Western-y age/planet/dimension/whatever. Boy might be a total loser in other aspects of life, but when the plot requires that someone be shot, he does the shooting competently.

Comic Books

  • In the Marvel Universe there was Jeff Packard a.k.a. Understudy, one-time sidekick to the Rawhide Kid.
  • The Kid, one of the Alamo Renegades in Marvel Comics Western Gunfighters.
  • Kit Willer from the Italian comic Tex Willer.



 Inman: I will not shoot you, but nor am I walking down that mountain looking over my shoulder for you.

Bosie: That's what you call a conundrum. I tell you what I've got on my side.

Inman: What have you got on your side?

Bosie: The confidence of youth.



  • Ironically, in The Dark Tower series, kid gunslinger Jake is not the Young Gun. That role falls to the older (twenty-something) Eddie, who otherwise fits the part to a T.
    • However, it is arguable that Jake becomes this with training (In book 6 he out-draws a cop), and Roland laments that Eddie and Susan are too old for them to ever become as good as the real Gunslingers of old.
    • Also, Roland and his ka-tet in the flashback parts of Wizard and Glass approach this trope, although due to their exceptional training they are more self-controled and self-reliant than the norm.
  • The J. T. Edson character Waco is a hard-eyed youngster of about sixteen when he is first encountered, and already has several notches on his gunbelt, all of them nominally "fair fights" but several, as he later admits, for no good reason at all. He reforms after being pulled out from in front of a cattle stampede.

Live Action TV

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Fievel daydreams about being a Young Gun at the beginning of An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, complete with his hero Wylie Burp telling him to get out while he still can, and Fievel blatantly disobeying him and shooting out a gang of villainous cats.