In the novel , in comics and especially in cinema there is a wide range of genres. The western is one of the most popular formats in Hollywood film history. The English word western refers to a historical context that ranges from the conquest of the West in the United States in the first decade of the 1820s to the full domination of indigenous tribes in the late nineteenth century. In this article we will provide you the information about the Western Genre.
The films framed in these historical coordinates are logically set in the western United States, especially in the states of Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana and Idaho. This frame of reference is not always maintained, as some western genre films place their action in the middle of the 20th century.
Typical elements of the Western Genre
From a geographical point of view, these films highlight the great prairies, rocky mountains, semi-desert areas and the border with Mexico. In relation to the ambiance, it is very common appearances taverns, lounges, ranches and cities without law. The most typical characters are the cowboy , the band of gunmen, the sheriff, the Indians, the bounty hunter and the seventh cavalry.
Most of the films produce a certain type of conflict : a vigilante sheriff against the gunmen, the Indians against the settlers, the military against the Indians, and the cowboys against the chiefs.
Characteristics of the western genre
Westerns take place in the American West and are generally set between the 1850s and 1900s. There are many different characteristics of the Western genre, as the genre itself is very distinct. In general, these characteristics can be grouped into two main themes: the wild frontier and public order. As such, works created in this style are typically known for action and adventure. Some of the more familiar elements that make up westerns include cowboys, the conflict between settlers and Indians, and law enforcement officers in a small new frontier town.
Heroes must be adept at using a lasso in the western genre.
An important feature of the western genre is the setting. Westerns take place on the wild frontier, an open landscape of mountain ranges, rugged lands, and vast plains. Settlers build isolated farms or live in small towns, often with a main street; The main businesses of these small towns include a jail, livery stable, and saloons. The settlers are as different as the surroundings, the men in boots, spurs and Stetsons. Other predominant images of the West include wearing bandanas, denim, and a Colt 45.
Cowboys are synonymous with the western genre.
An icon associated with the genre is the cowboy. This person is a day laborer whose job revolves around livestock. Basically, ranch owners hired cowboys to drive cattle, which is the process of moving cattle from one area to another. Since much of the area between the cities was still unsettled, cattle movements were a dangerous undertaking. This is because, although the settlers were new to the West, Native American Indians lived in this area during the time period, and tensions between settlers and Indians were high.
A jail can be found in most western genre cities.
The untamed frontier is full of hostile environments, with conflict between settlers and Indians, as well as the ongoing fight between law enforcement officers and outlaws. Law enforcement officers protect cities from outlaws who might commit crimes such as bank robberies, stagecoach holdups, or train holdups. As long as the law is upheld, guns often come into play, and shootouts and standoffs are commonplace in the fight between the good guys and the bad guys.
A typical looking western genre town.
The importance of law and order on a wild frontier brings out the concept of heroes. In addition to the local law enforcement officers, the heroes are often cowboys, sheriffs, or skilled gunslingers. They tend to be brave, masculine and tough, as well as honorable, upright and clinging to a moral code. Additionally, the heroes are often adept at a variety of skills, including riding horses, firing a gun, and using a lasso. Some have a trusted companion and may even have a favorite horse.
A cowboy hat
Westerns generally feature a hero, often a cowboy.
Cattle are often a factor in the plot of many westerns.
A mythical genre in Hollywood history
The great Hollywood directors played an important role in consolidating this genre. Among them we can highlight John Houston, Sam Peckinpah, Howard Hawks, Robert Aldrich and John Sturges. The big actors in the movie industry were the protagonists of Western films, such as John Wayne, Gary Cooper, James Stewart, Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Clint Eastwood.
Among the most prominent titles are “The Diligence” (1939), “The Outlaw” (1943), “Only in the Face of Danger” (1952), “Rio Bravo” (1958) and the “Conquest of the West” (1962).
Although there has been a decline in the genre since the 1960s, great films have continued to be produced at all times (“Dancing with Wolves” in 1990, “Unforgivable” in 1992, or “Django Unleashed” in 2012).
Historical characters that appear in the western genre
As in other typically American film genres, Western films extol some episodes of US history. A significant example is the Battle of the Alamo, which was brought to the big screen on several occasions.
In this cinematographic tradition, the presence of relevant historical characters is very frequent: Billy the Kid, Geronimo, Buffalo Bill, Wyatt Earp, Seth Bullock, Bast Masterson, Sundance Kid and Sitting Bull. All these legendary figures from the wild west served as inspiration for writers in the western genre.