Revision with unchanged content. Pistols at High Noon traces the development of the Code Duello, or code of the duel, in America as the cultural rules changed in the wake of Reconstruction and westward expansion. The Civil War deconstructed the cultural milieu that had supported the duel, but its ethos was carried west and continued to exert a cultural influence as the frontier expanded. Implicit in this examination is a rhetorically based inquiry into the dynamic relationship between speech acts and physical acts and the way the two are culturally mediated through the codifications of the Duello. This dissertation examines how the values privileged by the Code Duello affect conflict and violence throughout western literature and popular culture, and continue to influence society's ideas about conflict, gender, and the individual's relationship within society even today.