the Western


The Western is a genre of various arts which tell stories set primarily in the later half of the 19th century in the American Old West, often centering on the life of a nomadic cowboy or gunfighter armed with a revolver and a rifle who rides a horse.

The American frontier comprises the geography, history, folklore, and cultural expression of life in the forward wave of American expansion that began with English colonial settlements in the early 17th century and ended with the admission of the last mainland territories as states in 1912.

Gunslinger and gunfighter are literary words used historically to refer to men in the American Old West who had gained a reputation of being dangerous with a gun and had participated in gunfights and shootouts.

Genre is any category of literature, music, or other forms of art or entertainment, whether written or spoken, audio or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria.

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Cowboys and gunslingers typically wear Stetson hats, bandannas, spurs, cowboy boots and buckskins.

Buckskins are clothing, usually consisting of a jacket and leggings, made from buckskin, a soft sueded leather from the hide of deer.

Cowboy boots refer to a specific style of riding boot, historically worn by cowboys.

Stetson is a brand of hat manufactured by the John B. Stetson Company.

►Western Movies: The Last Wagon (1956) - Richard Widmark, Felicia Farr, Susan Kohner by Jerry Gilchrist


Other characters include Native Americans, bandits, lawmen, bounty hunters, outlaws, soldiers, settlers, both farmers and ranchers, and townsfolk.

A bounty hunter is a person who captures fugitives and criminals for a monetary reward.


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".

The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West, the Far West, or simply the West, traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States.


Specific settings include ranches, small frontier towns, saloons, railways and isolated military forts of the Wild West.


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.


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.


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 or quick draw duel.

Revenge is a form of justice usually assumed to be enacted in the absence of the norms of formal law and jurisprudence.

A shootout, also called a firefight or gunfight, is a gun battle between armed groups.


The Western was the most popular Hollywood genre, from the early 20th century to the 1960s.

Hollywood is an ethnically diverse, densely populated, relatively low-income neighborhood in the central region of Los Angeles, California.


Western films first became well-attended in the 1930s.


John Ford's landmark Western adventure Stagecoach became one of the biggest hits in 1939 and it made John Wayne a mainstream screen star.

Marion Mitchell Morrison, known professionally as John Wayne and nicknamed Duke, was an American actor, director, and producer.


Westerns were very popular throughout the 1950s and 1960s.


Many of the most acclaimed Westerns were released during this time – including High Noon, Shane, The Searchers, and The Wild Bunch.

The Searchers is a 1956 American Technicolor VistaVision 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 Civil War veteran who spends years looking for his abducted niece, accompanied by his adoptive nephew.

The Wild Bunch is a 1969 American epic Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah about an aging outlaw gang on the Mexico–United States border trying to adapt to the changing modern world of 1913.

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.

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