Westerns have always been a favorite type of movie or television show buffs for many people. It is the lore of the wild west with its scenic landscapes and its historic characters that includes the lawless gunfighters that seem to have a timeless appeal. These have been a staple of the Hollywood industry since both movie and television’s inception with great success. Lets take a look at a few of both the movies and television shows that have contributed to the growth of the western genre and explore some of the characters that have been portrayed.
We will begin with the movie aspect considering that they were around long before the television and the shows that were developed for it.
Monument Valley, which is at the four corners section of the United States that consists of Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico has always been a favorite shooting location for many films. One in particular was “Stagecoach.” It was the ability to show the background in a wide screen format that was the main contribution to this film. This helped to set the standards that later western films would follow.
The film “The Magnificent Seven” portrayed the typical cliche of the good guys protecting the townsfolk and was to become a Hollywood standard that never officially has ended.
The spaghetti westerns helped to develop the loner type of character portrayed by Clint Eastwood in the films “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, For a Few Dollars More”, and “A Fist Full of Dollars.” These became wildly successful and many western movie enthusiasts are very familiar with these Sergio Leone directed classics.
In more recent days, Billy the Kid and his cohorts were portrayed by the Hollywood “brat pack” in the movie “Young Guns.” This was so successful that a sequel was also made. And, Clint Eastwood continued his western genre ways with the movie “Unforgiven” which went on to win and Oscar. When western movies are being discussed, it is very hard to discuss them and not have the name “John Wayne” pop up at some time within it. Fore, he became the epitome of the western movie single handedly.
The television shows that took part in this genre was programs such as “The Lone Ranger, Bonanza,” and especially “Gunsmoke.” These would depict various styles of living in the wild west and follow the characters and their lives from range life to lawless towns where the most important place in town would be the saloon.