Goldman does it again.
Here's the description of Coop, the lawman. Watch how Goldman:
1) describes Coop as the lawman every man wants to be;
2) inspires our trust in Coop.
" As Maverick turns --
JUST AN INCREDIBLE-LOOKING MAN
[THIS IS#1. I want to be called "just incredible looking," don't you?!]
--we'll find out son enough his name is ZANE COOPER.
He is raw-boned, blue-eyed, muscle & sinew; rugged as they come. There is also something about him we don't know yet but we will: Coop is so good, so fucking honorable, he seems like someone out of another era --
--which in point of fact, he is. Coop is the western hero who dominated movies for the most of this century. In other words, we are looking at John Wayne or Gary Cooper.
Not only has he never done anything bad, the thought of doing anything bad has never crossed his mind."
[THIS IS #2. We now believe anything Coop says. This continues until Act 3 when he shows himself to be a double-crosser. But by that time, we've been rooting for Coop so long that it really is a surprise.]
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: This intro is crafted very specifically so the audience has complete, utter confidence in Coop.
Why is this important? Because too many scripts today try to be smarter than the audience.
Here, Goldman sets up our expectations & doesn't betray us.
No red herrings.
No "look how clever I am" hints.
Until the crucial moment.
Then WHAM! The twist.
This is why he's William Goldman. Story is first.