Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that this is a serious-minded Western, not one of the charming but silly singing-cowboy fantasies that stampeded by the hundreds out of old Hollywood. Death is a serious thing here, and gunplay is realistic, not cartoonish or gratuitous. There's also a sense of the harshness of frontier life. The possibility of an adulterous love triangle is present but tastefully handled. Some viewers may be more troubled by the hints of Hollywood's longstanding Gone With the Wind sentimental representation of the Confederate South (the movie takes place shortly after the Civil War), or the equating of drinking whiskey with being a "real man."
Only the modest indication that Mrs. Starrett is attracted to Shane.
Fistfights and shootings, many of the bullets turning out to be fatal. Director Stevens, a WWII veteran, was determined to keep the gunplay realistic -- not gory, but not harmless and cartoony either.
Most characters take principled stands, putting their lives on the line for what they believe is right. But their hidden motivations result in violence. Shane tries to put his deadly past behind him, but gets dragged back into killing. He resists temptations to join the bad guys and have an affair. A supporting character is depicted (warmly) as a Confederate. Indians and other people of color are invisible.
Based on a popular (and equally fine) novel.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Whisky galore in a cowboy saloon, with Shane significantly humiliated, abused, and told he's not a "man" when he orders non-alcoholic stuff. Other characters get notably drunk.