In Unforgiven,Why does the cowboy stab the woman in the beginning of the movie?
Was he crazy?
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The woman is one of the younger prostitutes, working from the tavern. She upsets the cowboy by laughing at him - specifically giggling at his size.
When talking to Little Bill after the attack, Alice (the unofficial leader of the girls) says:
She's going to live. She didn't steal nothing. She didn't even touch his poke. Alls she done, when she seen he has a teensy little pecker, is give a giggle. That's all. She didn't know no better. Going to hang them, Little Bill?
(from the script) - thanks Clint
Its hinted that she is less experienced than the other girls ('she didn't know no better').