There is a recurring image of the Western hero beaten to a pulp and yet overcoming physical woulnds to defeat the bad.He quotes Gary Wills who writes about John Wayne's popularity:
The archtypal American is a displaced person - arrived from a rejected past, breaking into a glorious future, fearless himself, feared by others, killing but cleansing the world of things that 'need killing,'loving but not bound by love, rootless but carrying the Centre in himself, a gyroscopic direction-setter, a travelling norm.Then he lists other characteristics such as 'active rather than passive' 'not emotional but rather coldly rational and logical' 'in control' 'seeks to triumph' 'no compromise'.
See 'Clint Eastwood Westerns: Promised Land and Real Men' by Peter Francis in Christianson, E.S., Francis, P & Telford, W.R., Cinema Divinite, (London: SCM Press, 2005) pp 187-188.
Mal's loyalty for his crew overshadows some of these characteristics but in general they could have been written as a description of his personality.
Even when he puts his hands up in a gesture of surrender (which seems to happen in almost every episode!) he still seems to be in control of the situation.