WorldCat Genres

Western films

Definition

Used for fictional works set in the period of American westward expansion. In the name of civilization, the wilderness is conquered and nature subordinated. Key thematic oppositions are between civilization and nature, law and anarchy, settler and nomad, and the new arrivals and the Native American. The hero is a person of integrity and principle, who tames the land, stands alone, faces danger, and is the fastest draw. Although usually set in the western United States from 1865-1900, settings in the Western may extend back to the era of America's colonial period, or as far geographically as Mexico, and into the first half of the 20th century. Many westerns made through the 1950s used a contemporary setting for traditional western narratives, and examples of the genre continue to be made, set in modern times.

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