In his period epic Far and Away, director Ron Howard seems to make use of gunshots, to signal a change of "chapters", if you will, in the story.
- A gunshot spooks a horse at the beginning of the movie leading to the fatal injury of Mr. Donally and introduces Joseph
- The exploding rifle when Joseph tries to kill Mr. Christie signals the introduction of Shannon
- Mrs. Christie's gunshot into the fog as Joseph and Shannon escape the duel
- Mr. McGuire being shot in the street at the Port of Boston signals the beginning of Joseph and Shannon's new life in America
- Shannon being shot by the homeowner signals Joseph leaving Shannon and heading west
- The off screen gunshot (presumably at Mr. Christie) reintroduces the Christies at the Land Run of 1893
- The canon shot beginning the Land Run race also signals the final chapter
There may be more I am missing. In particular, the interlude returning to Ireland when Christie Manor is attacked as part of the Irish Land Wars. There is no clear device signaling the interlude.
I have not been able to find any commentary by Ron Howard confirming or denying the use of gunshots. Does this seem to be a legitimate device being used in the way I have described or am I extrapolating?