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alt=, 250px, PLAY '' The Great Train Robbery'' (1903); runtime 00:11:51. Western is a
genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of being, category of literature, m ...

genre
of
fiction Fiction generally is a narrative form, in any media (communication), medium, consisting of people, events, or places that are imagination, imaginary—in other words, not based strictly on history or fact.William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman ''A Hand ...

fiction
set primarily in the latter half of the 19th and early 20th century in the
Western United States The Western United States (also called the American West, the Far West, and the West) is the region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the ...
, which is styled the "Old West". Its stories commonly center on the life of a nomadic
cowboy A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the ''vaquero'' ...

cowboy
or
gunfighter posse Gunslinger and gunfighter are words used historically to refer to people in the American Old West who had gained a reputation of being dangerous with a gun and had participated in gunfights and shootouts. Gunman was a more common term us ...
who rides a horse and is armed with a
revolver .357 Magnum The .357 Smith & Wesson Magnum, .357 S&W Magnum, .357 Magnum, or 9×33mmR as it is known in unofficial metric designation, is a smokeless powder Smokeless powder is a type of propellant used in firearms and artillery that produc ...

revolver
and/or a
rifle A rifle is a long-barrelled firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to launch typically solid projectiles, but can also project pressurized liquid (e.g. water gun ...

rifle
. Cowboys and gunslingers typically wear broad-brimmed and high-crowned
Stetson Stetson is a brand of hat manufactured by the John B. Stetson Company. Founded in 1865, John B. Stetson Company began when John B. Stetson headed west and created the original hat of the pioneering American West, the “ Boss of the Plains ...

Stetson
hats,
neckerchief A neckerchief (from ''neck'' (n.) + ''kerchief''), sometimes called a necker, kerchief or scarf, is a type of neckwear associated with those working or living outdoors, including farm labourers, cowboys and sailors. It is most commonly still seen t ...

neckerchief
bandanna A kerchief (from the Old French ''couvrechief'', "cover head"), also known as a bandana or bandanna, is a triangular or square piece of cloth tied around the Human head, head, face or neck for protective or decorative purposes. The popularity of ...
s, vests, spurs,
cowboy boot Cowboy boots refer to a specific style of riding boot, historically worn by cowboys. They have a High-heeled footwear#Men and heels, high heel that is traditionally made of stacked leather, rounded to pointed toe, high shaft, and, traditionally, ...
s, and
buckskins reenactor dressed in buckskins Buckskins are clothing File:KangaSiyu1.jpg, A kanga (African garment), kanga, worn throughout the African Great Lakes region Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel and attire) are items worn on the body. Cloth ...

buckskins
(alternatively ). Recurring characters include the aforementioned cowboys,
Indians Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
,
Spaniards ** ** * gl, españois * oc, espanhòls . , native_name_lang = , tablehdr = Diaspora A diaspora () is a scattered population whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale. Historically, the word diaspora was used to r ...
,
Mexicans Mexicans ( es, mexicanos) are the Citizenship, citizens of Mexico. The most spoken language by Mexicans is Mexican Spanish, but some may also speak languages from 68 different Languages of Mexico, Indigenous linguistic groups and other languag ...

Mexicans
, bandits, lawmen, prostitutes,
bounty hunter A bounty hunter is a professional person who captures fugitives or criminals for a commission or bounty (reward), bounty. The occupation, officially known as bail agency enforcer, bail enforcement agent, bail agent, recovery agent, bail recovery ...
s,
outlaws An outlaw is a person living outside the law. Outlaws or The Outlaws may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * The Outlaws, characters in the ''Just William (book series), Just William'' series of children's books by Richmal ...
,
gambler A gambling stand in Paris Gambling (also known as betting) is the wagering of money Image:National-Debt-Gillray.jpeg, In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III are contrasted with the beggar wh ...
s, soldiers (especially mounted cavalry), and settlers (farmers, ranchers, and townsfolk). The ambience is usually punctuated with a Western music
score Score or scorer may refer to: *Test score, the result of an exam or test Business * Score Digital, now part of Bauer Radio#Score Digital, Bauer Radio * Score Entertainment, a former American trading card design and manufacturing company * Score ...
, including
American folk music The term American folk music encompasses numerous music genres, variously known as ''traditional music'', ''traditional folk music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music ...
and
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...
/
Mexican Mexican may refer to: Mexico and its culture *Being related to, from, or connected to the country of Mexico, in North America ** Being related to the State of Mexico, one of the 32 federal entities of Mexico ** Culture of Mexico *** Mexican cuisi ...
folk music such as
country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. A country may be an independent sovereign state or part of a larger state, as a n ...

country
,
Native American music Indigenous music of North America, which includes American Indian music or Native American music, is the music that is used, created or performed by Indigenous peoples of North America The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the inhabitant ...
,
New Mexico music New Mexico music ( es, música nuevo mexicana) is a genre of music that originated in the United States, US US State, State of New Mexico, it derives from the Puebloan peoples, Pueblo Pueblo music, music in the 13th century, and with the folk musi ...
, and
ranchera Ranchera () or ''canción ranchera'' is a genre of the traditional music of Mexico. It dates to before the years of the Mexican Revolution. It later became closely associated with the Mariachi bands that evolved in Jalisco Jalisco (, , ; ...
s. Westerns often stress the harshness of the wilderness and frequently set the action in an arid, desolate landscape of deserts and mountains. Often, the vast landscape plays an important role, presenting a "mythic vision of the plains and deserts of the American West." Specific settings include ranches, small frontier towns, saloons, railways, wilderness, and isolated military forts of the Wild West. Many Westerns use a stock plot of depicting a crime, then showing the pursuit of the wrongdoer, ending in revenge and retribution, which is often dispensed through a
shootout A shootout, also called a firefight or gunfight, is a gun battle between armed groups. A shootout often, but not exactly, pits law enforcement against criminal groups; it can also involve two groups outside of law enforcement, such as rival g ...
or quick-draw duel.Agnew, Jeremy. December 2, 2014. ''The Creation of the Cowboy Hero: Fiction, Film and Fact'', p. 88, McFarland. June 25, 2004 The Western has been recognized as the most popular
Hollywood Hollywood is a neighborhood in the Central Los Angeles, central region of Los Angeles, California. Its name has come to be a metonymy, shorthand reference for the Cinema of the United States, U.S. film industry and the people associated with i ...

Hollywood
film genre from the 1930s through the 1960s.
John Ford John Martin Feeney (February 1, 1894 – August 31, 1973), known professionally as John Ford, was an American film director and naval officer. He is renowned both for Westerns Western is a genre of fiction Fiction generally is a narrat ...

John Ford
's landmark Western film ''
Stagecoach A stagecoach is a four-wheeled public coach used to carry paying passengers and light packages on journeys long enough to need a change of horses. It is strongly sprung and generally drawn by four horses. Widely used before steam-powered, rai ...
'' (1939) became one of the biggest hits of that year, and made
John Wayne Marion Robert Morrison (May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979), known professionally as John Wayne and nicknamed Duke, was an American actor and filmmaker who became a Pop icon, popular icon through his starring roles in films made during Hollywood's ...

John Wayne
a mainstream movie star. The popularity of Westerns continued to grow in the 1940s, with the release of films such as ''
The Ox-Bow Incident ''The Ox-Bow Incident'' is a 1943 American Western (genre), western film directed by William A. Wellman, starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews and Mary Beth Hughes, with Anthony Quinn, William Eythe, Harry Morgan and Jane Darwell. Two drifters are p ...
'' (1943), ''
My Darling Clementine ''My Darling Clementine'' is a 1946 American Western film directed by John Ford John Martin Feeney (February 1, 1894 – August 31, 1973), known professionally as John Ford, was an American film director. He is renowned both for Westerns su ...

My Darling Clementine
'' (1946), '' Fort Apache'' (1948), and '' Red River'' (1948). The 1950s have been described as the golden age of the Western, an era which saw the release of films such as '' Broken Arrow'' (1950), ''
High Noon ''High Noon'' is a 1952 American Western film produced by Stanley Kramer from a screenplay by Carl Foreman, directed by Fred Zinnemann, and starring Gary Cooper. The plot, which occurs in real time, centers on a town marshal Marshal is a ...
'' (1952), '' Shane'' (1953), ''
Wichita Wichita ( ) may refer to: People *Wichita people, a Native American tribe *Wichita language, the language of the tribe Places in the United States * Wichita, Kansas, a city * Wichita County, Kansas, a county in western Kansas (city of Wichita is ...
'' (1955), ''
The Searchers ''The Searchers'' is a 1956 American Technicolor VistaVision Western (genre), Western film directed by John Ford, based on the 1954 novel by Alan Le May, set during the Texas–Indian wars, and starring John Wayne as a middle-aged American Civi ...
'' (1956), and '' Rio Bravo'' (1959). Notable Western films released in the 1960s include ''
Cat Ballou ''Cat Ballou'' is a 1965 American Western (genre), Western comedy film starring Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his evil twin, dual role. The story involves a woman who hires a notorious gunman to protect h ...
'' (1965), ''
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly ''The Good, the Bad and the Ugly'' ( it, Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo, literally "The good, the ugly, the bad") is a 1966 Italian Epic film, epic spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood as "the Good", Lee ...
'' (1966), ''
The Wild Bunch ''The Wild Bunch'' is a 1969 American Revisionist Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O'Brien, Ben Johnson and Warren Oates Warren Mercer Oates (July 5, 1928 – Ap ...
'', and ''
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ''Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid'' is a 1969 American Western film directed by George Roy Hill and written by William Goldman. Based loosely on fact, the film tells the story of Wild West outlaws Robert LeRoy Parker, known as Butch Cassidy ...

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
'' (both 1969). Classic Westerns such as these have been the inspiration for various films about Western-type characters in contemporary settings, such as ''
Junior Bonner ''Junior Bonner'' is a 1972 American Western (genre), Western drama film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Steve McQueen, Joe Don Baker, Robert Preston (actor), Robert Preston and Ida Lupino. The film focuses on a veteran rodeo rider as he ret ...
'' (1972), set in the 1970s, and ''
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada ''The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada'' (also known as ''Three Burials'') is a 2005 French-American neo- Western film directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones and written by Guillermo Arriaga.
'' (2005), set in the 21st century.


Themes

The Western genre sometimes portrays the conquest of the wilderness and the subordination of nature in the name of civilization or the confiscation of the territorial rights of the original, Native American, inhabitants of the frontier. The Western depicts a society organized around codes of
honor Honour (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, whi ...

honor
and personal, direct or private justice–"frontier justice"–dispensed by gunfights. These honor codes are often played out through depictions of feuds or individuals seeking personal
revenge Revenge is committing a harmful action against a person or group in response to a grievance A grievance () is a wrong or hardship suffered, real or supposed, which forms legitimate grounds of complaint. In the past, the word meant the infli ...

revenge
or
retribution Retribution may refer to: * Punishment * Retributive justice, a theory of justice ** Divine retribution, retributive justice in a religious context * Revenge, a harmful action against a person or group in response to a grievance Film and televisi ...
against someone who has wronged them (e.g., '' True Grit'' has revenge and retribution as its main themes). This Western depiction of personal justice contrasts sharply with justice systems organized around rationalistic, abstract law that exist in cities, in which
social order The term social order can be used in two senses: In the first sense, it refers to a particular system of social structures and institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". ...
is maintained predominantly through relatively impersonal institutions such as
courtroom A courtroom is the enclosed space in which courts of law are held in front of a judge. A number of courtrooms, which may also be known as "courts", may be housed in a courthouse. In recent years, courtrooms have been equipped with audiovisual t ...

courtroom
s. The popular perception of the Western is a story that centers on the life of a seminomadic wanderer, usually a
cowboy A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the ''vaquero'' ...

cowboy
or a
gunfighter posse Gunslinger and gunfighter are words used historically to refer to people in the American Old West who had gained a reputation of being dangerous with a gun and had participated in gunfights and shootouts. Gunman was a more common term us ...
. A showdown or
duel A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two people, with matched weapons, in accordance with agreed-upon rules Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activi ...
at high noon featuring two or more gunfighters is a stereotypical scene in the popular conception of Westerns. In some ways, such protagonists may be considered the literary descendants of the , who stood at the center of earlier extensive genres such as the . Like the cowboy or gunfighter of the Western, the knight-errant of the earlier European tales and poetry was wandering from place to place on his horse, fighting villains of various kinds, and bound to no fixed social structures, but only to his own innate code of honor. Like knights-errant, the heroes of Westerns frequently rescue damsels in distress. Similarly, the wandering protagonists of Westerns share many characteristics with the '''' in modern Japanese culture. The Western typically takes these elements and uses them to tell simple morality tales, although some notable examples (e.g. the later Westerns of John Ford or
Clint Eastwood Clinton Eastwood Jr. (born May 31, 1930) is an American actor, film director, producer, and composer. After achieving success in the Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a tow ...
's ''
Unforgiven ''Unforgiven'' is a 1992 American revisionist Western film produced and directed by Clint Eastwood and written by David Peoples. The film portrays William Munny, an aging outlaw and killer who takes on one more job, years after he had turned to f ...
'', about an old hired killer) are more morally ambiguous. Westerns often stress the harshness and isolation of the wilderness, and frequently set the action in an arid, desolate landscape. Western films generally have specific settings, such as isolated ranches, Native American villages, or small frontier towns with a saloon. Oftentimes, these settings appear deserted and without much structure. Apart from the wilderness, the saloon usually emphasizes that this is the
Wild West The American frontier, also known as the Old West or the Wild West, includes the geography, history, folklore, and culture in the forward wave of United States territorial acquisitions, American expansion that began with European colonization of ...

Wild West
; it is the place to go for music (raucous piano playing), women (often
prostitute Prostitution is the business or practice of engaging in sexual activity Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality Human sexuality ...
s), gambling (draw poker or five-card stud), drinking (
beer Beer is one of the oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic drink An alcoholic drink is a drink A drink (or beverage) is a liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually ...

beer
,
whiskey Whisky or whiskey is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain A grain is a small, hard, dry seed, with or without an attached husk, hull or fruit layer, harvested for human or animal consumption. A grain crop is a gr ...
, or
tequila Tequila (; ) is a distilled beverage Liquor or spirit (also hard liquor, or distilled alcohol) is an alcoholic drink An alcoholic drink is a drink A drink (or beverage) is a liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid ...

tequila
if set in Mexico), brawling, and shooting. In some Westerns, where civilization has arrived, the town has a church, a general store, a bank, and a school; in others, where frontier rules still hold sway, it is, as
Sergio Leone Sergio Leone (; 3 January 1929 – 30 April 1989) was an Italian film director, producer and screenwriter credited as the creator of the Spaghetti Western The Spaghetti Western is a broad subgenre of Western (genre), Western films produced in ...

Sergio Leone
said, "where life has no value".


Plots

Common plots include: * The construction of a railroad or a telegraph line on the wild frontier * Ranchers protecting their family ranch from rustlers or large landowners, or who build a ranch empire * Conflict over resources such as water or minerals * Revenge stories, which hinge on the chase and pursuit by someone who has been wronged * Stories about cavalry fighting Native Americans * Outlaw gang plots * Stories about a lawman or bounty hunter tracking down his quarry


Film


Characteristics

The
American Film Institute The American Film Institute (AFI) is an American film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying ...
defines Western films as those "set in the American West that mbodythe spirit, the struggle, and the demise of the
new frontier The term New Frontier was used by Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th pre ...
." The term "Western", used to describe a narrative film genre, appears to have originated with a July 1912 article in ''Motion Picture World'' magazine. Most of the characteristics of Western films were part of 19th-century popular
Western fiction Western fiction is a genre of literature set in the American Old West The American frontier, also known as the Old West or the Wild West, includes the geography, history, folklore, and culture in the forward wave of American expansion that ...
, and were firmly in place before film became a popular art form. Western films commonly feature protagonists such as cowboys, gunslingers, and bounty hunters, who are often depicted as seminomadic wanderers who wear
Stetson Stetson is a brand of hat manufactured by the John B. Stetson Company. Founded in 1865, John B. Stetson Company began when John B. Stetson headed west and created the original hat of the pioneering American West, the “ Boss of the Plains ...

Stetson
hats,
bandanna A kerchief (from the Old French ''couvrechief'', "cover head"), also known as a bandana or bandanna, is a triangular or square piece of cloth tied around the Human head, head, face or neck for protective or decorative purposes. The popularity of ...
s, spurs, and
buckskins reenactor dressed in buckskins Buckskins are clothing File:KangaSiyu1.jpg, A kanga (African garment), kanga, worn throughout the African Great Lakes region Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel and attire) are items worn on the body. Cloth ...

buckskins
, use revolvers or rifles as everyday tools of survival and as a means to settle disputes using "frontier justice". Protagonists ride between dusty towns and cattle ranches on their trusty steeds. Western films were enormously popular in the
silent-film A silent film is a film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through the use o ...
era (1894–1927). With the advent of sound in 1927–28, the major Hollywood studios rapidly abandoned Westerns, leaving the genre to smaller studios and producers. These smaller organizations churned out countless low-budget features and serials in the 1930s. By the late 1930s, the Western film was widely regarded as a "pulp" genre in Hollywood, but its popularity was dramatically revived in 1939 by major studio productions such as ''
Dodge City Dodge City is the county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or Parish (administrative division), civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Hungary and the United Stat ...
'' starring
Errol Flynn Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn (20 June 1909 – 14 October 1959) was an Australian-American actor. Considered the natural successor to Douglas Fairbanks, he achieved worldwide fame during the Classical Hollywood cinema, Golden Age of Hollywood. He ...

Errol Flynn
, ''
Jesse James Jesse Woodson James (September 5, 1847April 3, 1882) was an American outlaw, Bank robbery, bank and Train robbery, train robber, guerrilla, and leader of the James–Younger Gang. Raised in the "Little Dixie (Missouri), Little Dixie" area of we ...
'' with
Tyrone Power Tyrone Edmund Power III (May 5, 1914 – November 15, 1958) was an American actor. From the 1930s to the 1950s, Power appeared in dozens of films, often in swashbuckler roles or romantic leads. His better-known films include ''The Mark of Zorro ...
, ''
Union Pacific Union commonly refers to: * Trade union, an organization of workers * Union (set theory), in mathematics, a fundamental operation on sets Union may also refer to: Arts and entertainment Music * Union (band), an American rock group ** '' ...
'' with
Joel McCrea Joel Albert McCrea (November 5, 1905 – October 20, 1990) was an American actor whose career spanned a wide variety of genres over almost five decades, including comedy, drama, romance, thrillers, adventures, and Western film, Westerns, for ...
, ''
Destry Rides Again ''Destry Rides Again'' is a 1939 American Western film directed by George Marshall George Catlett Marshall Jr. (December 31, 1880 – October 16, 1959) was an American soldier and statesman. He rose through the United States Army to become C ...
'' featuring
James Stewart James Maitland Stewart (May 20, 1908 – July 2, 1997) was an American actor and military pilot. Known for his distinctive drawl and everyman screen persona, Stewart's film career spanned 80 films from 1935 to 1991. With the strong morality he ...

James Stewart
and
Marlene Dietrich Marie Magdalene "Marlene" DietrichBorn as Maria Magdalena, not Marie Magdalene, according to Dietrich's biography by her daughter, Maria Riva ; however Dietrich's biography by Charlotte Chandler cites "Marie Magdalene" as her birth name . (, ; 2 ...

Marlene Dietrich
, and especially landmark Western adventure ''
Stagecoach A stagecoach is a four-wheeled public coach used to carry paying passengers and light packages on journeys long enough to need a change of horses. It is strongly sprung and generally drawn by four horses. Widely used before steam-powered, rai ...
'' starring
John Wayne Marion Robert Morrison (May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979), known professionally as John Wayne and nicknamed Duke, was an American actor and filmmaker who became a Pop icon, popular icon through his starring roles in films made during Hollywood's ...

John Wayne
, which became one of the biggest hits of the year. Released through United Artists, ''Stagecoach'' made John Wayne a mainstream screen star in the wake of a decade of headlining B Westerns. Wayne had been introduced to the screen 10 years earlier as the
leading man A leading man is a complimentary term for the actor An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance (also actress; #The term actress, see below). The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the theatre or in ...
in director
Raoul Walsh Raoul Walsh (Born Albert Edward Walsh; March 11, 1887December 31, 1980) was an American film director, actor, founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), and the brother of Silent Screen, silent screen actor Georg ...

Raoul Walsh
's spectacular
widescreen Widescreen images are images that are displayed within a set of aspect ratios The aspect ratio of a geometric Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; '' geo-'' "earth", '' -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic Arithmetic ( ...
''
The Big Trail ''The Big Trail'' is a 1930 American pre-Code '' (1931) were able to feature criminal, anti-hero protagonists. File:LegsTurntab42ndStTrailer.jpg, upright=1.5, ''42nd Street (film), 42nd Street'' (1933) made concessions to the Hays Code ...
'', which failed at the box office in spite of being shot on location across the American West, including the
Grand Canyon The Grand Canyon (, yuf-x-yav, Wi:kaʼi:la, , ) is a steep-sided canyon A canyon (; archaic British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West G ...

Grand Canyon
,
Yosemite Yosemite National Park ( ) is an American national park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or deve ...

Yosemite
, and the giant
redwoods Sequoioideae, popularly known as redwoods, is a subfamily of Pinophyta, coniferous trees within the family (biology), family Cupressaceae. It includes the List of superlative trees#Largest, largest and tallest trees in the world. Description T ...

redwoods
, due in part to exhibitors' inability to switch over to widescreen during the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning Great Depression in the United States, in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied around the world; in mos ...
. After the Westerns' renewed commercial successes in the late 1930s, their popularity continued to rise until its peak in the 1950s, when the number of Western films produced outnumbered all other genres combined. Screenwriter and scholar Eric R. Williams identifies western films as one of eleven super-genres in his screenwriters' taxonomy, claiming that all feature length narrative films can be classified by these super-genres. The other ten super-genres are
action ACTION is a bus operator in Canberra Canberra ( ) is the capital city of Australia. Founded following the Federation of Australia, federation of the colonies of Australia as the seat of government for the new nation, it is Australia's l ...
,
crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsay: "Crime, definitions of", in ...
,
fantasy Fantasy is a genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of being, c ...
,
horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean horror fiction *Horror film, a film genre *Horror comics, comic books focusing on h ...
,
romance Romance (from Vulgar Latin , "in the Roman language", i.e., "Latin") may refer to: Common meanings * Romance (love) Romance or Romantic love is an emotional feeling of love for, or a strong attraction towards another person, and the Court ...
,
science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 by the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination'' Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typ ...
,
slice of life Slice of life describes the depiction of mundane experiences in art and entertainment. In theater, slice-of-life refers to Naturalism (theatre), naturalism, while in literary parlance it is a narrative technique in which a seemingly arbitrary sequ ...
,
sports Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition arises whenever two or more parties strive for a common goal A goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, Planning, plan and co ...
,
thriller Thriller may refer to: * Thriller (genre), a broad genre of literature, film and television ** Thriller film, a film genre under the general thriller genre Comics * Thriller (DC Comics), ''Thriller'' (DC Comics), a comic book series published 1983 ...
, and
war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (news ...
. Western films often depict conflicts with
Native Americans Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
. While early Eurocentric Westerns frequently portray the "Injuns" as dishonorable villains, the later and more culturally neutral Westerns gave Native Americans a more sympathetic treatment. Other recurring themes of Westerns include treks (e.g. ''The Big Trail'') or perilous journeys (e.g. ''Stagecoach'') or groups of bandits terrorizing small towns such as in ''
The Magnificent Seven ''The Magnificent Seven'' is a 1960 American Western (genre), Western film directed by John Sturges and starring Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach and Steve McQueen. The supporting cast features Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn a ...
''. Early Westerns were mostly filmed in the studio, as in other early Hollywood films, but when location shooting became more common from the 1930s, producers of Westerns used desolate corners of
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ' ...

Arizona
,
California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territories of the United States by population, most populous and the List of ...

California
,
Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. It encompasses most of the Southern Rocky Mountains, as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the wester ...

Colorado
,
Kansas Kansas () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. Its Capital city, capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita, Kansas, Wichita. Kansas is a landlocked state bordered by Nebraska to the north; M ...

Kansas
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Montana Montana () is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West region of the United States. It is bordered by Idaho to the west; North Dakota and South Dakota to the east; Wyoming to the south; and by the Provinces and territories ...

Montana
,
Nevada Nevada (, ) is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, Western region of the United States. It is bordered by Oregon to the northwest, Idaho to the northeast, California to the west, Arizona to the southeast, and Utah to the east. Ne ...

Nevada
,
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe, New Mexico, Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque, New Mexico, Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Albuquerque metropolitan area, Greater Albuque ...

New Mexico
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Oklahoma Oklahoma () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...
,
Texas Texas (, ) is a state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States. It is the second largest U.S. state by both List of U.S. states and territories by area, area (after Alaska) and List of U.S. states and ter ...

Texas
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Utah Utah ( , ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Utah
, or
Wyoming Wyoming () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...
. These settings gave filmmakers the ability to depict vast plains, looming mountains, and epic canyons. Productions were also filmed on location at movie ranches. Often, the vast landscape becomes more than a vivid backdrop; it becomes a character in the film. After the early 1950s, various widescreen formats such as Cinemascope (1953) and VistaVision used the expanded width of the screen to display spectacular western landscapes. John Ford's use of Monument Valley as an expressive landscape in his films from ''Stagecoach'' to ''Cheyenne Autumn'' (1965), "present us with a mythic vision of the plains and deserts of the American West, embodied most memorably in Monument Valley, with its buttes and mesas that tower above the men on horseback, whether they be settlers, soldiers, or Native Americans".


Subgenres

Author and screenwriter Frank Gruber identified seven basic plots for Westerns: # Union Pacific story: The plot concerns construction of a railroad, a telegraph line, or some other type of modern technology or transportation. Wagon-train stories fall into this category. # Ranch story: The plot concerns threats to the ranch from rustlers or large landowners attempting to force out the proper owners. # Empire story: The plot involves building a ranch empire or an oil empire from scratch, a classic rags-to-riches plot. # Revenge story: The plot often involves an elaborate chase and pursuit by a wronged individual, but it may also include elements of the classic mystery story. # Cavalry and Indian story: The plot revolves around "taming" the wilderness for White settlers. # Outlaw story: The outlaw gangs dominate the action. # Marshal story: The lawman and his challenges drive the plot. Gruber said that good writers used dialogue and plot development to develop these basic plots into believable stories. Other subgenres include: * Spaghetti Westerns * epic (genre), Epic Westerns * Singing cowboy Westerns * :Western (genre) comedy films, Comedy Westerns, such as: ** ''Along Came Jones (film), Along Came Jones'' (1945), in which Gary Cooper spoofed his Western persona ** ''The Sheepman'' (1958), with Glenn Ford poking fun at himself ** ''
Cat Ballou ''Cat Ballou'' is a 1965 American Western (genre), Western comedy film starring Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his evil twin, dual role. The story involves a woman who hires a notorious gunman to protect h ...
'' (1965), with a drunk Lee Marvin atop a drunk horse ** ''Blazing Saddles'' (1974) * Contemporary or :Neo-Western films, neo-Western films, such as: **''Brokeback Mountain'' (2005) **''No Country for Old Men (film), No Country for Old Men'' (2007) **''Rango (2011 film), Rango'' (2011) In the 1960s and 1970s, the Western was reinvented with the revisionist Western.


Classical Western

The first known Western narrative film is the British short ''Kidnapping by Indians'', made by Mitchell and Kenyon in Blackburn, England, in 1899. ''The Great Train Robbery (1903 film), The Great Train Robbery'' (1903, based on the earlier British film ''A Daring Daylight Burglary''), Edwin S. Porter's film starring Broncho Billy Anderson, is often erroneously cited as the first Western, though George N. Fenin and William K. Everson point out that the "Edison company had played with Western material for several years prior to ''The Great Train Robbery''. " Nonetheless, they concur that Porter's film "set the pattern—of crime, pursuit, and retribution—for the Western film as a genre." The film's popularity opened the door for Anderson to become the screen's first cowboy star; he made several hundred Western film shorts. So popular was the genre that he soon faced competition from Tom Mix and William S. Hart. The Golden Age of the Western is epitomized by the work of several prominent directors including: * Robert Aldrich – ''Apache (film), Apache'' (1954), ''Vera Cruz (film), Vera Cruz'' (1954) * Budd Boetticher – several films with Randolph Scott including ''The Tall T'' (1957) and ''Comanche Station'' (1960) * Delmer Daves – '' Broken Arrow'' (1950), ''The Last Wagon (1956 film), The Last Wagon'' (1956), ''3:10 to Yuma (1957 film), 3:10 to Yuma'' (1957) * Allan Dwan – ''Silver Lode (film), Silver Lode'' (1954), ''Cattle Queen of Montana'' (1954) *
John Ford John Martin Feeney (February 1, 1894 – August 31, 1973), known professionally as John Ford, was an American film director and naval officer. He is renowned both for Westerns Western is a genre of fiction Fiction generally is a narrat ...

John Ford
– ''
Stagecoach A stagecoach is a four-wheeled public coach used to carry paying passengers and light packages on journeys long enough to need a change of horses. It is strongly sprung and generally drawn by four horses. Widely used before steam-powered, rai ...
'' (1939), ''
My Darling Clementine ''My Darling Clementine'' is a 1946 American Western film directed by John Ford John Martin Feeney (February 1, 1894 – August 31, 1973), known professionally as John Ford, was an American film director. He is renowned both for Westerns su ...

My Darling Clementine
'' (1946), ''
The Searchers ''The Searchers'' is a 1956 American Technicolor VistaVision Western (genre), Western film directed by John Ford, based on the 1954 novel by Alan Le May, set during the Texas–Indian wars, and starring John Wayne as a middle-aged American Civi ...
'' (1956), ''The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance'' (1962) * Samuel Fuller – ''Run of the Arrow'' (1957), ''Forty Guns'' (1957) * Howard Hawks – '' Red River'' (1948), '' Rio Bravo'' (1959), ''El Dorado (1966 film), El Dorado'' (1966) * Henry King (director), Henry King – ''The Gunfighter'' (1950), ''The Bravados'' (1958) * Anthony Mann – ''Winchester '73'' (1950), ''The Man from Laramie'' (1955), ''The Tin Star'' (1957) * Nicholas Ray – ''Johnny Guitar'' (1954) * George Stevens – ''Annie Oakley (1935 film), Annie Oakley'' (1935), '' Shane'' (1953) * John Sturges – ''Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (film), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral'' (1957), ''
The Magnificent Seven ''The Magnificent Seven'' is a 1960 American Western (genre), Western film directed by John Sturges and starring Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach and Steve McQueen. The supporting cast features Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn a ...
'' (1960) * Jacques Tourneur – ''Canyon Passage'' (1946), Wichita (1955 film), ''Wichita'' (1955) * King Vidor – ''Duel in the Sun (film), Duel in the Sun'' (1946), ''Man Without a Star'' (1955) * William A. Wellman – ''
The Ox-Bow Incident ''The Ox-Bow Incident'' is a 1943 American Western (genre), western film directed by William A. Wellman, starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews and Mary Beth Hughes, with Anthony Quinn, William Eythe, Harry Morgan and Jane Darwell. Two drifters are p ...
'' (1943), ''Yellow Sky'' (1948)


Acid Western

Film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum refers to a makeshift 1960s and 1970s genre called the acid Western, associated with Dennis Hopper, Jim McBride, and Rudy Wurlitzer, as well as films such as Monte Hellman's ''The Shooting'' (1966), Alejandro Jodorowsky's bizarre experimental film ''El Topo (1970 film), El Topo ''(''The Mole'')'''' (1970), and Robert Downey Sr.'s ''Greaser's Palace'' (1972). The 1970 film ''El Topo'' is an allegory, allegorical cult film, cult Western and underground film about the eponymous character, a violent black-clad gunfighter, and his quest for Enlightenment (spiritual), enlightenment. The film is filled with bizarre characters and occurrences, use of maimed and dwarfism, dwarf performers, and heavy doses of Christian symbolism and Eastern philosophy. Some spaghetti Westerns also crossed over into the acid Western genre, such as Enzo G. Castellari's mystical ''Keoma (film), Keoma'' (1976), a Western reworking of Ingmar Bergman's ''The Seventh Seal'' (1957). More recent acid Westerns include Alex Cox's ''Walker (film), Walker'' (1987) and Jim Jarmusch's ''Dead Man'' (1995). Rosenbaum describes the acid Western as "formulating a chilling, savage frontier poetry to justify its hallucinated agenda"; ultimately, he says, the Acid Western expresses a counterculture sensibility to critique and replace capitalism with alternative forms of exchange.


Australian Western or Meat pie western

The Australian Western genre or meat pie western is set in Australia, especially the Australian Outback or the The bush#Australia, Australian Bush. The genre borrows from US traditions and often features Indigenous Australians in the role
Native Americans Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
. ''The Tracker (2002 film), The Tracker'' is an archetype in this form of Australian Western, with signature scenes of harsh desert environments, and exploration of the themes of rough justice, exploitation of the Aboriginals, and the thirst for justice at all costs. Others in this category include ''Rangle River'' (1936), ''Kangaroo (1952 film), Kangaroo'', ''The Kangaroo Kid (1950 film), The Kangaroo Kid'' (1950),''The Sundowners (1960 film), The Sundowners'' (1960), ''Quigley Down Under'', ''Ned Kelly (1970 film), Ned Kelly'' (1970), ''The Man from Snowy River (1982 film), The Man from Snowy River'' (1982), ''The Proposition (2005 film), The Proposition'', ''Lucky Country (film), Lucky Country'', and ''Sweet Country (2017 film), Sweet Country''. ''Mystery Road (film), Mystery Road'' is an example of a modern Australian Western, and ''Mad Max (franchise), Mad Max'' has inspired many futurist dystopian examples of the Australian Western such as ''The Rover (2014 film), The Rover''.


Blaxploitation Western

Many blaxploitation films, particularly ones involving Fred Williamson, have incorporated a Western setting within them, with examples such as ''Soul Soldier'' (1970), ''Buck and the Preacher'' (1972), ''The Legend of Nigger Charley'' (1972), ''The Soul of Nigger Charley'' (1973), ''Thomasine & Bushrod'' (1974), ''Boss Nigger'' (1975), ''Adiós Amigo'' (1975), and ''Posse (1993 film), Posse'' (1993).


Charro, cabrito, or chili Westerns

Charro#In cinema, Charro Westerns, often featuring musical stars, as well as action, have been a standard feature of Cinema of Mexico, Mexican cinema since the 1930s. In the 1930s and 1940s, these were typically films about horsemen in rural Mexican society, displaying a set of cultural concerns very different from the Hollywood metanarrative, but the overlap between "charro" movies and Westerns became more apparent in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. Some examples are Ismael Rodríguez's ''Los Hermanos del Hierro'' (1961), Jorge Fons's ''Cinco Mil Dólares de Recompensa'', and Arturo Ripstein's ''Tiempo de morir''. The most important is Alberto Mariscal, great author of ''El tunco Maclovio'', ''Todo por nada'', ''Los marcados'', ''El juez de la soga'', and ''La chamuscada''.


Comedy Western

This subgenre is imitative in style to mock, comment on, or trivialize the Western genre's established traits, subjects, auteurs' styles, or some other target by means of humorous, satiric, or ironic imitation or parody. A prime example of comedy Western includes ''The Paleface (1948 film), The Paleface'' (1948), which makes a satirical effort to "send up Owen Wister's novel ''The Virginian'' and all the cliches of the Western from the fearless hero to the final shootout on Main Street." ''The Paleface'' "features a cowardly hero known as "Painless" Peter Potter (Bob Hope), an inept dentist, who often entertains the notion that he is a crack sharpshooter and accomplished Indian fighter".


Contemporary Western or neo-Western

Also known as neo-Westerns, these films have contemporary U.S. settings, and use Old West themes and motifs (a rebellious antihero, open plains and desert landscapes, and gunfights). These films have been on the rise since the release of Joel and Ethan Coen's ''No Country for Old Men (film), No Country for Old Men'' (2007). For the most part, they still take place in the Western United States, American West and reveal the progression of the Old West mentality into the late 20th and early 21st centuries. This subgenre often features Old West-type characters struggling with displacement in a "civilized" world that rejects their outdated brand of justice. Taylor Sheridan's filmography can be used as a template to identify what being a neo-Western film means, with three identifying themes. First is the lack of rules, with morals guided by the character's or audience's instincts of right and wrong rather than by governance. The second is characters searching for justice. The third theme, characters feeling remorse, connects the neo-Western film to the broader Western genre, reinforcing a universal theme that consequences come with actions. Examples include Nicholas Ray's ''The Lusty Men'' (1952); John Sturges's ''Bad Day at Black Rock'' (1955); ''Lonely Are the Brave'', screenplay by Dalton Trumbo (1962), ''Hud (1963 film), Hud'', starring Paul Newman (1963); the Oscar winning ''Midnight Cowboy'' (1969) Don Siegel's ''Dirty Harry'' (1971); Sam Peckinpah's ''The Getaway (1972 film), The Getaway'' (1972); ''
Junior Bonner ''Junior Bonner'' is a 1972 American Western (genre), Western drama film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Steve McQueen, Joe Don Baker, Robert Preston (actor), Robert Preston and Ida Lupino. The film focuses on a veteran rodeo rider as he ret ...
'' (1972); ''Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia'' (1974); ''Hearts of the West (1975 film), Hearts of the West'' starring Jeff Bridges (1975); John Carpenter's ''Assault_on_Precinct_13_(1976_film), Assault on Precinct 13'' (1976); Alan J. Pakula's ''Comes a Horseman'' (1978); ''J. W. Coop'' (1972), directed/co-produced/co-written by and starring Cliff Robertson; ''Flashpoint (1984 film), Flashpoint'' (1984); ''Extreme Prejudice (film), Extreme Prejudice'' (1987); Robert Rodríguez's ''El Mariachi'' (1992), ''Desperado (film), Desperado'' (1995) and ''Once Upon a Time in Mexico'' (2003); John Sayles's ''Lone Star (1996 film), Lone Star'' (1996); ''The Way of the Gun'' (2000); ''Down in the Valley (film), Down in the Valley'' (2005); Quentin Tarantino's ''Kill Bill: Volume 2'' (2004) and ''Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'' (2019); Tommy Lee Jones's ''
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada ''The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada'' (also known as ''Three Burials'') is a 2005 French-American neo- Western film directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones and written by Guillermo Arriaga.
'' (2005); Ang Lee's ''Brokeback Mountain'' (2005); Wim Wenders's ''Don't Come Knocking'' (2005); Joel and Ethan Coen's ''No Country for Old Men (film), No Country for Old Men'' (2007);
Clint Eastwood Clinton Eastwood Jr. (born May 31, 1930) is an American actor, film director, producer, and composer. After achieving success in the Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a tow ...
's ''Gran Torino'' (2008); Scott Cooper (director), Scott Cooper's ''Crazy Heart'' (2009); ''Out of the Furnace'' (2013); ''The Rover (2014 film), The Rover'' (2014); ''Rambo: Last Blood'' (2019); ''El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie'' (2019); ''Nomadland (film), Nomadland'' (2020); as well as George Miller (filmmaker), George Miller's ''Mad Max'' franchise. The television shows ''Sons Of Anarchy'' (2008–2014); ''Justified (TV series), Justified'' (2010–2015), ''Longmire (TV series), Longmire'' (2012–2017), ''Mystery Road (TV series), Mystery Road'' (2018–present) and ''Yellowstone (American TV series), Yellowstone'' (2018–present) along with the Nicholas Winding Refn noir/satire mini series ''Too Old to Die Young'' (2019); ''Sicario (2015 film), Sicario'' (2015) and its sequel ''Sicario: Day of the Soldado'' (2018); ''Hell or High Water (2016 film), Hell or High Water'' (2016); ''Wind River (film), Wind River'' (2017) and ''Those Who Wish Me Dead'' (2021), all written by Taylor Sheridan; and the superhero film ''Logan (film), Logan'' (2017). ''Fallout: New Vegas'' (2010), ''Call of Juarez: The Cartel'' (2011) and ''Grand Theft Auto V'' (2013) are examples of neo-Western video games. Likewise, the television series ''Breaking Bad'' and its spin off ''Better Call Saul'', which both take place in modern times, feature many examples of Western archetypes. According to creator Vince Gilligan, "After the first ''Breaking Bad'' episode, it started to dawn on me that we could be making a contemporary Western. So you see scenes that are like gunfighters squaring off, like
Clint Eastwood Clinton Eastwood Jr. (born May 31, 1930) is an American actor, film director, producer, and composer. After achieving success in the Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a tow ...
and Lee van Cleef—we have Walter White (Breaking Bad), Walt and others like that." The precursor to these was the radio series ''Tales of the Texas Rangers'' (1950–1952), with
Joel McCrea Joel Albert McCrea (November 5, 1905 – October 20, 1990) was an American actor whose career spanned a wide variety of genres over almost five decades, including comedy, drama, romance, thrillers, adventures, and Western film, Westerns, for ...
, a contemporary detective drama set in Texas, featuring many of the characteristics of traditional Westerns.


Dacoit Western

The Bollywood film ''Sholay'' (1975) was often referred to as a "curry Western". A more accurate genre label for the film is the "Dacoit Western, ''dacoit'' Western", as it combines the conventions of Indian dacoit film, ''dacoit'' films such as ''Mother India'' (1957) and ''Gunga Jumna'' (1961) with those of spaghetti Westerns. ''Sholay'' spawned its own genre of "''dacoit'' Western" films in Bollywood during the 1970s. The first Western films made in India – ''Kalam Vellum'' (1970, Tamil), ''Mosagallaku Mosagadu (1971 film), Mosagallaku Mosagadu'' (1971, Telugu), ''Mappusakshi'' (Malayalam), ''Ganga (1972 film), Ganga'' (1972, Tamil), and ''Jakkamma (film), Jakkamma'' (1972, Tamil) – were based on Classic Westerns. ''Thazhvaram'' (1990), the Malayalam film directed by Bharathan and written by noted writer M. T. Vasudevan Nair, perhaps most resembles the Spaghetti Westerns in terms of production and cinematic techniques. Earlier Spaghetti Westerns laid the groundwork for such films as ''Adima Changala'' (1971) starring Prem Nazir, a hugely popular "zapata Spaghetti Western film in Malayalam, and ''Sholay'' (1975) ''Khote Sikkay'' (1973) and ''Thai Meethu Sathiyam'' (1978) are notable curry Westerns. ''Kodama Simham'' (1990), a Telugu action film, starring Chiranjeevi and Mohan Babu, was one more addition to the Indo Western genre that fared well at the box office. It was also the first South Indian movie to be dubbed in English as ''Hunters of the Indian Treasure'' ''Takkari Donga'' (2002), starring Telugu actor Mahesh Babu, was applauded by critics, but was average at box office. ''Quick Gun Murugun'' (2009), an Indian comedy film that spoofs Indian Western movies, is based on a character created for television promotions at the time of the launch of the music network Channel [V] in 1994, which had cult following. ''Irumbukkottai Murattu Singam'' (2010), a Western adventure comedy film, based on cowboy movies and paying homages to the John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Jaishankar, was made in Tamil.'' Laal Kaptaan ''(2019) is an IndoWestern starring Saif Ali Khan, which is set during the rise of the British Empire in India.


Documentary Western

The documentary Western is a subgenre of Westerns that explore the nonfiction elements of the historical and contemporary American West. The West (miniseries), Ken Burns' ''The West'' is an example of a series based upon a historical storyline, whereas films such as ''Cowboys: A Documentary Portrait'' provide a nonfiction portrayal of modern working cowboys in the contemporary West.


Electric Western

The 1971 film ''Zachariah (film), Zachariah'' starring John Rubinstein, Don Johnson, and Pat Quinn (American actress), Pat Quinn, was billed as the "first electric Western." The film featured multiple performing musical ensemble, rock bands in an otherwise American frontier, American West setting. ''Zachariah'' featured appearances and music supplied by rock groups from the 1970s, including the James Gang and Country Joe and the Fish as "The Cracker Band." Fiddler Doug Kershaw had a musical cameo as does Elvin Jones as a gunslinging drummer named Job Cain. The independent film ''Hate Horses'' starring Dominique Swain, Ron Thompson (actor), Ron Thompson, and Paul Dooley billed itself as the "second electric Western."


Epic Western

The epic Western is a subgenre of the Western that emphasizes the story of the American Old West on a grand scale. Many epic Westerns are commonly set during a turbulent time, especially a war, as in Sergio Leone's ''
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly ''The Good, the Bad and the Ugly'' ( it, Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo, literally "The good, the ugly, the bad") is a 1966 Italian Epic film, epic spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood as "the Good", Lee ...
'' (1966), set during the American Civil War, or Sam Peckinpah's ''
The Wild Bunch ''The Wild Bunch'' is a 1969 American Revisionist Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O'Brien, Ben Johnson and Warren Oates Warren Mercer Oates (July 5, 1928 – Ap ...
'' (1969), set during the Mexican Revolution. One of the grandest films in this genre is Leone's ''Once Upon a Time in the West'' (1968), which shows many operatic conflicts centered on control of a town while using wide-scale shots on Monument Valley locations against a broad running time. Other notable examples include ''The Iron Horse (film), The Iron Horse'' (1924), ''Duel in the Sun (film), Duel in the Sun'' (1946), ''
The Searchers ''The Searchers'' is a 1956 American Technicolor VistaVision Western (genre), Western film directed by John Ford, based on the 1954 novel by Alan Le May, set during the Texas–Indian wars, and starring John Wayne as a middle-aged American Civi ...
'' (1956), ''Giant (1956 film), Giant'' (1956), ''The Big Country'' (1958), ''Cimarron (1960 film), Cimarron'' (1960), How the West Was Won (film), ''How the West Was Won'' (1962), ''Duck, You Sucker!'' (1971), ''Heaven's Gate (film), Heaven's Gate'' (1980), ''Dances with Wolves'' (1990), ''The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford'' (2007), ''Django Unchained'' (2012), and ''The Revenant (2015 film), The Revenant'' (2015).


Euro-Western

Euro-Westerns are Western-genre films made in Western Europe. The term can sometimes include the spaghetti Western subgenre. One example of a Euro-Western is the Anglo-Spanish film ''Savage Guns (1961 film), The Savage Guns'' (1961). Several Euro-Western films, nicknamed sauerkraut Westerns because they were made in Germany and shot in Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia, were derived from stories by novelist Karl May, and were Karl May film adaptations, film adaptations of May's work. One of the most popular German Western franchises was the ''Winnetou'' series, which featured a Native American Apache hero in the lead role. Also in Finland, only a few Western films have been made, the most notable of which could be the 1971 low-budget comedy ''The Unhanged'', directed by, written by, and starring Spede Pasanen. Some new Euro-Westerns emerged in the 2010s, including Kristian Levring's The Salvation (film), ''The Salvation'', Martin Koolhoven's Brimstone (2016 film), ''Brimstone'', and Andreas Prochaska's ''The Dark Valley''.


Fantasy Western

Fantasy Westerns mixed in fantasy settings and themes, and may include fantasy mythology as background. Some famous examples are Stephen King's ''The Stand'' and The Dark Tower series, ''The Dark Tower'' series of novels, the Vertigo (DC Comics), Vertigo comics series ''Preacher (comics), Preacher'', and Keiichi Sigsawa's light novel series, ''Kino's Journey'', illustrated by Kouhaku Kuroboshi.


Florida Western

Florida Westerns, also known as cracker Westerns, are set in Florida during the Second Seminole War. An example is ''Distant Drums'' (1951) starring Gary Cooper.


Greek Western

According to the naming conventions after spaghetti Western, in Greece they are also referred to as "fasolada Westerns" (Greek: φασολάδα = bean soup, i.e. the so-called national dish of Greece). A notable example is ''Blood on the Land'' (1966), which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


Horror Western

Another subgenre is the horror Western, with roots in films such as ''Curse of the Undead'' (1959) and ''Billy the Kid vs. Dracula'' (1966), which depicts the legendary outlaw Billy the Kid fighting against the notorious vampire. Another example is ''The Ghoul Goes West'', an unproduced Ed Wood film to star Bela Lugosi as Dracula in the Old West. Newer examples include the films ''Near Dark'' (1987) directed by Kathryn Bigelow, which tells the story about a human falling in love with a vampire, ''From Dusk till Dawn'' (1996) by Robert Rodriguez deals with outlaws battling vampires across the border, ''Vampires (1998 film), Vampires'' (1998) by John Carpenter, which tells about a group of vampires and vampire hunters looking for an ancient relic in the west, ''Ravenous (1999 film), Ravenous'' (1999), which deals with cannibalism at a remote US army outpost; ''The Burrowers'' (2008), about a band of trackers who are stalked by the titular creatures; and ''Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'' (2012). ''Undead Nightmare'' (2010), an expansion to ''Red Dead Redemption'' (2010) is an example of a video game in this genre, telling the tale of a zombie outbreak in the Old West. ''Bone Tomahawk'' (2015), one of the most recent entries in the genre, received wide critical acclaim for its chilling tale of cannibalism, but like many other movies in the genre, it was not a commercial success.


Martial arts Western (Wuxia Western)

While many of these mash-ups (e.g., ''Billy Jack'' (1971) and its sequel ''The Trial of Billy Jack'' (1974)) are cheap exploitation films, others are more serious dramas such as the ''Kung Fu (TV series), Kung Fu'' TV series, which ran from 1972 to 1975. Comedy examples include the Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson collaboration ''Shanghai Noon'' (2000). Further subdivisions of this subgenre include Westerns based on Ninja, ninjas and Samurai, samurais (incorporating samurai cinema themes), such as ''Red Sun'' (1971) with Charles Bronson, Alain Delon, and Toshiro Mifune.


Musical

There have been many musical films with a Western setting and many musicians have appeared in Western films, sometimes in non-musical roles. Singers Doris Day and Howard Keel worked together in ''Calamity Jane (film), Calamity Jane'', a huge success on release which remains one of the most popular Western musicals. On the other hand, crooner Dean Martin and pop singer Ricky Nelson played the parts of gunfighters in '' Rio Bravo'', which is not a musical, although they did combine to sing a couple of songs in the middle of the film while they were guarding the jailhouse.


Northern

The Northern (genre), Northern genre is a subgenre of Westerns taking place in Alaska or Western Canada. Examples include several versions of the Rex Beach novel, ''The Spoilers (Beach novel), The Spoilers'' (including 1930's ''The Spoilers (1930 film), The Spoilers'', with Gary Cooper, and 1942's ''The Spoilers (1942 film), The Spoilers'', with Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott, and Wayne); ''The Far Country'' (1954) with James Stewart; ''North to Alaska'' (1960) with Wayne; ''Death Hunt'' (1981) with Charles Bronson; and ''The Grey Fox'' (1983) with Richard Farnsworth.


Ostern

Ostern films, also known as "Eastern" or "Red Western" films, were produced in the Soviet Union and Socialist Eastern Europe. They were popular in Communist Eastern European countries and were a particular favorite of Joseph Stalin. "Red Western" films usually portrayed the Native Americans in the United States, American Indians sympathetically, as oppressed people, fighting for their rights, in contrast to American Westerns of the time, which frequently portrayed the Indians as villains. Osterns frequently featured Romani people, Gypsy or Turkic peoples, Turkic people in the role of the Indians, due to the shortage of authentic Indians in Eastern Europe. Gojko Mitić portrayed righteous, kind-hearted, and charming Indian Tribal chief, chiefs (e.g., in ''The Sons of the Great Mother Bear, Die Söhne der großen Bärin'' (1966), directed by Josef Mach). He became honorary chief of the Sioux tribe when he visited the United States, in the 1990s, and the television crew accompanying him showed the tribe of one of his films. American actor and singer Dean Reed, an expatriate who lived in East Germany, also starred in several Ostern films. "Eastern" films typically replaced the
Wild West The American frontier, also known as the Old West or the Wild West, includes the geography, history, folklore, and culture in the forward wave of United States territorial acquisitions, American expansion that began with European colonization of ...

Wild West
setting with by an Eastern world, Eastern setting in the steppes of the Caucasus. Western stock characters, such as "
cowboy A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the ''vaquero'' ...

cowboy
s and Native Americans in the United States, Indians", were also replaced by Peoples of the Caucasus, Caucasian stock characters, such as bandits and harems. A famous example of the genre was ''White Sun of the Desert'', which was List of highest-grossing films in the Soviet Union, popular in the Soviet Union.


Pornographic Western

Pornographic Westerns use the Old West as a background for stories primarily focused on erotica. The three major examples of the porn Western film are Russ Meyer's nudie-cutie ''Wild Gals of the Naked West'' (1962), and the hardcore ''A Dirty Western'' (1975) and ''Sweet Savage (1979 film), Sweet Savage'' (1979). ''Sweet Savage'' starred Aldo Ray, a veteran actor who had appeared in traditional Westerns, in a non-sex role. Among videogames, ''Custer's Revenge'' (1982) is an infamous example, considered to be one of the List of video games notable for negative reception, worst video games of all time.


Ramen Western

First used in the publicity of the film ''Tampopo'', the term "ramen Western" also is a play on words using a national dish. The term is used to describe Western style films set in Asia. Examples include ''The Drifting Avenger'', ''Break the Chain'', ''Millionaires Express'', ''East Meets West (1995 film), East Meets West'', Thai movies ''Tears of the Black Tiger'' and ''Dynamite Warrior'', ''Let the Bullets Fly'', ''Unforgiven (2013 film), Unforgiven'', ''Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts'', ''Buffalo Boys (2018 film), Buffalo Boys'', ''The Good, the Bad and the Weird'' and ''Sukiyaki Western Django''.


Revisionist Western

After the early 1960s, many American filmmakers began to question and change many traditional elements of Westerns, and to make revisionist Westerns that encouraged audiences to question the simple hero-versus-villain dualism and the morality of using violence to test one's character or to prove oneself right. This is shown in Sam Peckinpah's ''The Wild Bunch'' (1969). One major revision was the increasingly positive representation of Native Americans, who had been treated as "savages" in earlier films. Examples of such revisionist Westerns include ''Ride the High Country'' (1962), Richard Harris' ''A Man Called Horse (film), A Man Called Horse'' (1970), ''Little Big Man (film), Little Big Man'' (1970), ''Soldier Blue (1970),'' ''Man in the Wilderness'' (1971), ''The Outlaw Josey Wales'' (1976), ''Dances with Wolves'' (1990), ''
Unforgiven ''Unforgiven'' is a 1992 American revisionist Western film produced and directed by Clint Eastwood and written by David Peoples. The film portrays William Munny, an aging outlaw and killer who takes on one more job, years after he had turned to f ...
'' (1992), ''The Quick and the Dead (1995 film), The Quick and the Dead'' (1995), and ''Dead Man'' (1995). A television miniseries, ''Godless (miniseries), Godless'' (2016), also fits into this category. A few earlier revisionist Westerns gave women more powerful roles, such as ''Westward the Women'' (1951) starring Robert Taylor (American actor), Robert Taylor. Another earlier work encompassed all these features, ''The Last Wagon (1956 film), The Last Wagon'' (1956). In it, Richard Widmark played a white man raised by Comanches and persecuted by white people, Whites, with Felicia Farr and Susan Kohner playing young women forced into leadership roles.


Science fiction Western

The science fiction Western places science fiction elements within a traditional Western setting. Examples include ''Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter'' (1965) and ''The Valley of Gwangi'' (1969), the latter featuring cowboys and dinosaurs. John Jakes's ''Six Gun Planet'' takes place on a future planet colonized by people consciously seeking to recreate the Old West (with cowboys riding robot horses...). The movie ''Westworld (film), Westworld'' (1973) and its sequel ''Futureworld'' (1976), ''Back to the Future Part III'' (1990), ''Wild Wild West'' (1999), and ''Cowboys & Aliens'' (2011), and the television series Westworld (TV series), ''Westworld'' (2016, based on the movie). ''Fallout: New Vegas'' (2010) is an example of a video game that follows this format, with futuristic technology and genetic mutations placed among the Western themes and desert sprawl of the Mojave Desert, Mojave Wasteland.


Space Western

The Space Western, space Western or space frontier is a subgenre of science fiction, which uses the themes and trope (literature), tropes of Westerns within science-fiction stories. Subtle influences may include exploration of lawless frontiers in Deep space exploration, deep space, while more overt influences may feature literal cowboys in outer space who use ray guns and ride robotic horses. Examples include the American television series ''BraveStarr'' (which aired original episodes from September 1987 to February 1988) and ''Firefly (TV series), Firefly'' (created by Joss Whedon in 2002), and the films ''Battle Beyond the Stars'' (1980), which is a remake of ''
The Magnificent Seven ''The Magnificent Seven'' is a 1960 American Western (genre), Western film directed by John Sturges and starring Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach and Steve McQueen. The supporting cast features Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn a ...
''; ''Outland (film), Outland'' (1981), which is a remake of ''
High Noon ''High Noon'' is a 1952 American Western film produced by Stanley Kramer from a screenplay by Carl Foreman, directed by Fred Zinnemann, and starring Gary Cooper. The plot, which occurs in real time, centers on a town marshal Marshal is a ...
''; and ''Serenity (2005 film), Serenity'' (2005, based on the ''Firefly'' TV series). Another example is the Japanese anime series ''Cowboy Bebop''. The classic Western genre has also been a major influence on science-fiction films such as the original ''Star Wars: A New Hope, Star Wars'' movie of 1977, with 2018's ''Solo: A Star Wars Story'' and 2019's ''Star Wars: The Mandalorian'' more directly featuring Western tropes. Famously, Gene Roddenberry pitched the concept of the TV show ''Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek'' as a "''Wagon Train'' to the stars".


Spaghetti Western

During the 1960s and 1970s, a revival of the Western emerged in Italy with the "spaghetti Westerns", also known as "Italo-Westerns". The most famous of them is ''The Good, the Bad and the Ugly'', the third film of the Dollars Trilogy. Many of these films are low-budget affairs, shot in locations (for example, the Spanish desert Province of Almería, region of Almería) chosen for their inexpensive crew and production costs, as well as their similarity to landscapes of the Southwestern United States. Spaghetti Westerns were characterized by the presence of more action and violence than the Hollywood Westerns. Also, the protagonists usually acted out of more selfish motives (money or revenge being the most common) than in the classical Westerns. Some Spaghetti Westerns demythologized the American Western tradition, and some films from the genre are considered revisionist Westerns. For example, the Dollars Trilogy itself has much different tropes compared to standard Westerns, demythologizing the Sheriff figure (in ''A Fistful of Dollars'' and ''For a Few Dollars More''), putting both the United States, Union and the Confederate States of America, Confederacy in ambiguously moral positions (''The Good, the Bad and the Ugly''), and not featuring Native Americans (except for a brief mention in ''A Fistful of Dollars''). The Western films directed by Sergio Leone were felt by some to have a different tone from the Hollywood Westerns. Veteran American actors Charles Bronson, Lee Van Cleef, and Clint Eastwood became famous by starring in spaghetti Westerns, although the films also provided a showcase for other noted actors such as James Coburn, Henry Fonda, Rod Steiger, Klaus Kinski, Jason Robards, Gian Maria Volonte and Eli Wallach. Eastwood, previously the lead in the television series ''Rawhide (TV series), Rawhide'', unexpectedly found himself catapulted into the forefront of the film industry by Leone's ''A Fistful of Dollars'' (the first in the Dollars Trilogy).


Weird Western

The weird Western combines elements of the classic Western with those of other genres, invariably fantasy, horror and science fiction. ''The Wild Wild West'' television series, television movies, and 1999 film adaptation blend the Western with steampunk. The ''Jonah Hex'' franchise also blends the Western with superhero elements. The film ''Western Religion (film), Western Religion'' (2015), by writer and director James O'Brien (filmmaker), James O'Brien, introduces the devil into a traditional Wild West setting. The ''Old Man Logan'' (2008–2009) graphic novel combines the elements of superhero and post apocalyptic fiction with Westerns.


Genre studies

In the 1960s, academic and critical attention to cinema as a legitimate art form emerged. With the increased attention, film theory was developed to attempt to understand the significance of film. From this environment emerged (in conjunction with the literary movement) an enclave of critical studies called genre studies. This was primarily a semantic and structuralist approach to understanding how similar films convey meaning. One of the results of genre studies is that "Westerns" need not take place in the American West or even in the 19th century, as the codes can be found in other types of films. For example, a very typical Western plot is that an eastern lawman heads west, where he matches wits and trades bullets with a gang of outlaws and thugs, and is aided by a local lawman who is well-meaning, but largely ineffective until a critical moment, when he redeems himself by saving the hero's life, as in the quite complex classic The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Man who shot ''Liberty Valance''. This stars
James Stewart James Maitland Stewart (May 20, 1908 – July 2, 1997) was an American actor and military pilot. Known for his distinctive drawl and everyman screen persona, Stewart's film career spanned 80 films from 1935 to 1991. With the strong morality he ...

James Stewart
and
John Wayne Marion Robert Morrison (May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979), known professionally as John Wayne and nicknamed Duke, was an American actor and filmmaker who became a Pop icon, popular icon through his starring roles in films made during Hollywood's ...

John Wayne
although Lee Marvin, then a supporting actor, bears the title role to which the unknown hero (and plot ambiguity) alludes. This classic description can be used to describe any number of Westerns, but also other films such as ''Die Hard'' (itself a loose reworking of ''High Noon'') and Akira Kurosawa's ''Seven Samurai'', which are frequently cited examples of films that do not take place in the American West, but have many themes and characteristics common to Westerns. Likewise, films set in the American Old West may not necessarily be considered Westerns.


Influences

Being period drama pieces, both the Western and Samurai cinema, samurai genre influenced each other in style and themes throughout the years. ''The Magnificent Seven'' was a remake of Akira Kurosawa's film ''Seven Samurai'', and ''A Fistful of Dollars'' was a remake of Kurosawa's ''Yojimbo (movie), Yojimbo'', which itself was inspired by ''Red Harvest'', an American detective novel by Dashiell Hammett. Kurosawa was influenced by American Westerns and was a fan of the genre, most especially
John Ford John Martin Feeney (February 1, 1894 – August 31, 1973), known professionally as John Ford, was an American film director and naval officer. He is renowned both for Westerns Western is a genre of fiction Fiction generally is a narrat ...

John Ford
. Despite the Cold War, the Western was a strong influence on Eastern Bloc cinema, which had its own take on the genre, the so-called "Red Western" or "Ostern". Generally these took two forms: either straight Westerns shot in the Eastern Bloc, or action films involving the Russian Revolution of 1917, Russian Revolution and Russian civil war, civil war and the Basmachi rebellion. An offshoot of the Western genre is the "postapocalyptic" Western, in which a future society, struggling to rebuild after a major catastrophe, is portrayed in a manner very similar to the 19th-century frontier. Examples include ''The Postman (film), The Postman'' and the ''Mad Max'' series, and the computer game series ''Fallout (series), Fallout''. Many elements of space-travel series and films borrow extensively from the conventions of the Western genre. This is particularly the case in the space Western subgenre of science fiction. Peter Hyams' ''Outland (film), Outland'' transferred the plot of ''High Noon'' to Io, moon of Jupiter. More recently, the space opera series ''Firefly (TV series), Firefly'' used an explicitly Western theme for its portrayal of frontier worlds. Anime shows such as ''Cowboy Bebop'', ''Trigun'' and ''Outlaw Star'' have been similar mixes of science-fiction and Western elements. The science fiction Western can be seen as a subgenre of either Westerns or science fiction. Elements of Western films can be found also in some films belonging essentially to other genres. For example, ''Kelly's Heroes'' is a war film, but its action and characters are Western-like. The character played by Humphrey Bogart in film noir, noir films such as ''Casablanca (film), Casablanca'' and ''To Have and Have Not (film), To Have and Have Not''—an individual bound only by his own private code of honor—has a lot in common with the classic Western hero. In turn, the Western has also explored noir elements, as with the films ''Pursued'' and ''Sugar Creek (film), Sugar Creek''. In many of Robert A. Heinlein's books, the settlement of other planets is depicted in ways explicitly modeled on American settlement of the West. For example, in his ''Tunnel in the Sky'', settlers set out to the planet "New Canaan", via an interstellar teleporter portal across the galaxy, in Conestoga wagons, their captain sporting mustaches and a little goatee and riding a Palomino horse—with Heinlein explaining that the colonists would need to survive on their own for some years, so horses are more practical than machines. Stephen King's ''The Dark Tower'' is a series of seven books that meshes themes of Westerns, high fantasy, science fiction, and horror. The protagonist Roland of Gilead, Roland Deschain is a gunslinger whose image and personality are largely inspired by the Man with No Name from Sergio Leone's films. In addition, the superhero fantasy genre has been described as having been derived from the cowboy hero, only powered up to omnipotence in a primarily urban setting. The Western genre has been parodied on a number of occasions, famous examples being ''Support Your Local Sheriff!'', ''
Cat Ballou ''Cat Ballou'' is a 1965 American Western (genre), Western comedy film starring Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his evil twin, dual role. The story involves a woman who hires a notorious gunman to protect h ...
'', Mel Brooks's ''Blazing Saddles'', and ''Rustler's Rhapsody''. George Lucas's ''Star Wars'' films use many elements of a Western, and Lucas has said he intended for ''Star Wars'' to revitalize cinematic mythology, a part the Western once held. The Jedi, who take their name from Jidaigeki, are modeled after samurai, showing the influence of Kurosawa. The character Han Solo dressed like an archetypal gunslinger, and the Mos Eisley cantina is much like an Old West saloon. Meanwhile, films such as ''The Big Lebowski'', which plucked actor Sam Elliott out of the Old West and into a Los Angeles bowling alley, and ''Midnight Cowboy'', about a Southern-boy-turned-gigolo in New York (who disappoints a client when he does not measure up to Gary Cooper), transplanted Western themes into modern settings for both purposes of parody and homage.


Literature

Western fiction Western fiction is a genre of literature set in the American Old West The American frontier, also known as the Old West or the Wild West, includes the geography, history, folklore, and culture in the forward wave of American expansion that ...
is a genre of literature set in the American Old West, most commonly between 1860 and 1900. The first critically recognized Western was ''The Virginian (novel), The Virginian'' (1902) by Owen Wister. Other well-known writers of Western fiction include Zane Grey, from the early 1900s, Ernest Haycox, Luke Short, and Louis L'Amour, from the mid 20th century. Many writers better known in other genres, such as Leigh Brackett, Elmore Leonard, and Larry McMurtry, have also written Western novels. The genre's popularity peaked in the 1960s, due in part to the shuttering of many pulp magazines, the popularity of Television Westerns, televised Westerns, and the rise of the spy novel. Readership began to drop off in the mid- to late 1970s and reached a new low in the 2000s. Most bookstores, outside of a few Western states, now only carry a small number of Western novels and short-story collections. Literary forms that share similar themes include stories of the American frontier, the gaucho literature, ''gaucho'' literature of Argentina, and tales of the settlement of the Australian Outback.


Television

Television Westerns are a subgenre of the Western. When television became popular in the late 1940s and 1950s, TV Westerns quickly became an audience favorite. Beginning with rebroadcasts of existing films, a number of movie cowboys had their own TV shows. As demand for the Western increased, new stories and stars were introduced. A number of long-running TV Westerns became classics in their own right, such as: ''The Lone Ranger (TV series), The Lone Ranger'' (1949–1957), ''The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp'' (1955–1961), ''Cheyenne (TV series), Cheyenne'' (1955–1962), ''Gunsmoke'' (1955–1975), ''Maverick (TV series), Maverick'' (1957–1962), ''Have Gun – Will Travel'' (1957–1963), ''Wagon Train'' (1957–1965), ''Sugarfoot'' (1957–1961), ''The Rifleman'' (1958–1963), ''Rawhide (TV series), Rawhide'' (1959–1966), ''Bonanza'' (1959–1973), ''The Virginian (TV series), The Virginian'' (1962–1971), and ''The Big Valley'' (1965–1969). ''The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp'' was the first Western television series written for adults, premiering four days before ''Gunsmoke'' on September 6, 1955. The peak year for television Westerns was 1959, with 26 such shows airing during primetime. At least six of them were connected in some extent to Wyatt Earp: ''The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp'', ''Bat Masterson (TV series), Bat Masterson'', ''Tombstone Territory'', ''Broken Arrow (TV series), Broken Arrow'', ''Johnny Ringo (TV series), Johnny Ringo'', and ''Gunsmoke''.[Guinn, Jeff. ''The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral and How it Changed the American West'' (first hardcover ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. ] Increasing costs of American television production weeded out most action half-hour series in the early 1960s, and their replacement by hour-long television shows, increasingly in color. Traditional Westerns died out in the late 1960s as a result of network changes in demographic targeting along with pressure from parental television groups. Future entries in the genre would incorporate elements from other genera, such as crime drama and mystery whodunit elements. Western shows from the 1970s included ''Hec Ramsey'', ''Kung Fu (TV series), Kung Fu'', ''Little House on the Prairie (TV series), Little House on the Prairie'', ''McCloud (TV series), McCloud'', ''The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams'', and the short-lived but highly acclaimed ''How the West Was Won (TV series), How the West Was Won'' that originated from a miniseries with the same name. In the 1990s and 2000s, hour-long Westerns and slickly packaged made-for-TV movie Westerns were introduced, such as ''Lonesome Dove (film), Lonesome Dove'' (1989) and ''Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman''. Also, new elements were once again added to the Western formula, such as science-fiction Western ''Firefly'', created by Joss Whedon in 2002. ''Deadwood (TV series), Deadwood'' was a critically acclaimed Western series that aired on HBO from 2004 through 2006. ''Hell on Wheels (TV series), Hell on Wheels'', a fictionalized story of the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad, aired on AMC (TV channel), AMC for five seasons between 2011 and 2016. ''Longmire (TV series), Longmire'' is a Western series that centered on Walt Longmire, a sheriff in fictional Absaroka County,
Wyoming Wyoming () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...
. Originally aired on the A&E (TV channel), A&E network from 2012 to 2014, it was picked up by Netflix in 2015 until the show's conclusion in 2017.


Visual art

A number of visual artists focused their work on representations of the American Old West. American West-oriented art is sometimes referred to as "Western Art" by Americans. This relatively new category of art includes paintings, sculptures, and sometimes Native American crafts. Initially, subjects included exploration of the Western states and cowboy themes. Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell are two artists who captured the "Wild West" in paintings and sculpture. Some art museums, such as the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Wyoming and the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, feature American Western Art.


Other media

The popularity of Westerns extends beyond films, literature, television, and visual art to include numerous other media.


Anime and manga

With anime and manga, the genre tends towards the science-fiction Western [e.g., ''Cowboy Bebop'' (1998 anime), ''Trigun'' (1995–2007 manga), and ''Outlaw Star'' (1996–1999 manga)]. Although contemporary Westerns also appear, such as ''Kōya no Shōnen Isamu'', a 1971 ''shōnen ''manga about a boy with a Japanese father and a Native American mother, or ''El Cazador de la Bruja'', a 2007 anime television series set in modern-day Mexico. Part 7 of the manga series ''JoJo's Bizarre Adventure'' is based in the American Western setting. The story follows racers in a transcontinental horse race, the "Steel Ball Run". ''Golden Kamuy'' (2014–present) shifts its setting to 1900s Hokkaido, having the Ainu people instead of Native Americans, as well having other recognizable western tropes.


Comics

Western comics have included serious entries, (such as the classic comics of the late 1940s and early 1950s (namely ''Kid Colt, Outlaw'', ''Rawhide Kid'', and ''Red Ryder'') or more modern ones as Blueberry (comics), ''Blueberry''), cartoons, and parodies (such as ''Cocco Bill'' and ''Lucky Luke''). In the 1990s and 2000s, Western comics leaned towards the fantasy, horror and science fiction genres, usually involving supernatural monsters, or Christian iconography as in ''Preacher''. More traditional Western comics are found throughout this period, though (e.g., ''Jonah Hex'' and ''Loveless (comics), Loveless'').


Games

Western arcade games, computer games, role-playing games, and video games are often either straightforward Westerns or Western-horror hybrids. Some Western-themed computer games include ''The Oregon Trail (1971 video game), The Oregon Trail'' (1971), ''Mad Dog McCree'' (1990), ''Sunset Riders'' (1991), ''Outlaws (1997 video game), Outlaws'' (1997), ''Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive, Desperados'' series (2001–), ''Red Dead'' series (2004–), ''Gun (video game), Gun'' (2005), and ''Call of Juarez'' series (2007–). Other video games adapt the "weird West" concept – e.g., ''Fallout (video game), Fallout'' (1997), ''Gunman Chronicles'' (2000), ''Darkwatch'' (2005), the Borderlands (series), ''Borderlands'' series (2009–)'', Fallout: New Vegas'' (2010), and ''Hard West'' (2015).


Radio dramas

Western radio dramas were very popular from the 1930s to the 1960s. Some popular shows include ''Lone Ranger#Original radio series, The Lone Ranger'' (first broadcast in 1933), ''The Cisco Kid#Radio, The Cisco Kid'' (first broadcast in 1942), ''Dr. Sixgun'' (first broadcast in 1954), ''Have Gun – Will Travel#Radio show, Have Gun–Will Travel'' (first broadcast in 1958), and ''Gunsmoke#Radio series (1952–1961), Gunsmoke'' (first broadcast in 1952).


Web series

Westerns have been showcased in short-episodic web series. Examples include ''League of STEAM'', ''Red Bird (web series), Red Bird'', and Arkansas Traveler (web series), ''Arkansas Traveler''.


See also

* Dime Western * Wild West shows * List of Western computer and video games * List of Western fiction authors * Lists of Western films * Western lifestyle


References


Further reading

* Buscombe, Edward, and Christopher Brookeman. ''The British Film Institute, BFI Companion to the Western'' (A. Deutsch, 1988) * Everson, William K. ''A Pictorial History of the Western Film'' (New York: Citadel Press, 1969) * Kitses, Jim. ''Horizons West: The Western from John Ford to Clint Eastwood'' (British Film Institute, 2007). * Lenihan, John H. ''Showdown: Confronting Modern America in the Western Film'' (University of Illinois Press, 1980) * Nachbar, John G. ''Focus on the Western'' (Prentice Hall, 1974) * Simmon, Scott. ''The Invention of the Western Film: A Cultural History of the Genre's First Half Century'' (Cambridge University Press, 2003)


External links


Articles on Western film and TV in ''Western American Literature''

Special issue of ''Western American Literature'' on Global Westerns

Most Popular Westerns
at Internet Movie Database
Western Writers of America website

The Western
''St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture'', 2002
I Watch Westerns
''Ludwig von Mises Institute''
Film Festival for the Western Genre website
* hdl:10079/fa/beinecke.westfilmscriptc, Western Filmscript Collection . Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. {{Film genres Western (genre), American frontier, * Culture of the Western United States, * Film genres Fiction by genre Genres Western United States in fiction, * Works set in the 19th century