25. The American Western Film

  1. Nicolas S. Witschi
  1. Corey K. Creekmur

Published Online: 27 MAY 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444396591.ch25

A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West

A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West

How to Cite

Creekmur, C. K. (2011) The American Western Film, in A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West (ed N. S. Witschi), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444396591.ch25

Editor Information

  1. Western Michigan University, USA

Author Information

  1. University of Iowa, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 27 MAY 2011
  2. Published Print: 15 APR 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405187336

Online ISBN: 9781444396591



  • the American Western Film;
  • remembering the Western, and film western - representing the past in American popular culture;
  • kinetoscope films, Sioux Ghost Dance, Bucking Broncho, and Annie Oakley - William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody's Wild West show;
  • “uninterrupted success” of the western, 1950s - Bazin, and that the western, indefinitely, crumbling with the Hollywood studio system itself;
  • elegiac accounts of late nineteenth-century American history - for early twentieth-century audiences;
  • the western, denounced as an artifact - brutal conquest and genocide by “superior,” “civilized” Anglo-Saxon and Christian hegemony;
  • David Belasco's popular stage melodrama The Girl of the Golden West - adapted into Giacomo Puccini's opera;
  • greater participation by Native Americans - women, forgotten role as stars, audiences and creators of early westerns;
  • the Western in Hollywood, popular films streamlined - by a factory-like studio system in Hollywood, California;
  • success of later westerns - Silverado, Dances with Wolves, and Tombstone, but not full-scale revivals of the genre


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Remembering the Western

  • Inventing the Western

  • The Western in Hollywood

  • Revision and Elegy

  • The Western's Endurance

  • References and Further Reading