I love history. When other kids were reading novels, fiction, and that sort, I was reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Theodore Rex, and fiction based on history. Typically, this is only useful in lame jokes and references that mostly only amuse me. Last night at True Grit, I alone in my group of four understood a particular line of dialog between Rooster Cogburn and La Boeuf.
Remember the scene early into their hunt where Cogburn and La Boeuf are arguing about their service during the Civil War, both give offense to the other and they decide to part ways? This one here:
La Boeuf proudly claimed to fight for the Army of Northern Virginia, which was the primary Confederate army under the leadership of Robert E. Lee. Meanwhile, Cogburn spoke about a leader that I'm sure you haven't heard of and he didn't seem to belong to the Union or Confederacy.
Cogburn was a bushwhacker in either Missouri or Kansas. Unbeknownst to a lot of people, while the battlefields of the east coast were soaked in blood at Antietam, Gettysburg, and the outskirts of Richmond, there was a whole other bloody and bitter fight between Missouri and Kansas. One a slave state, one not. The Bushwhacker conflict was dirty, a guerrilla war that didn't exist purely on a pre-ordained battlefield, but in homesteads, farms, and that meant civilians.
This makes Cogburn's past far more interesting. He wasn't just a Confederate or Union soldier fighting in a typical war. He was a passionate ruffian doing potentially unspeakable things on a distant battlefield not discussed in a lot of history books.
I took great satisfaction in describing this to my fellow movie-goers. I'm pretty sure they zoned out about 8 seconds into my explanation.