Western Movies

Workin’ on the Railroad

Hell-on-Wheels_Chinese-experienceFans of AMC’s Hell on Wheels anticipate the driving of the Golden Spike the same way Dracula anticipated the driving of the wooden one: closure is nice, but we are in no hurry.

If this is the new Golden Age of television, the Emmy-nominated Hell on Wheels, created by Tony and Joe Gayton, with its feast of characters and unsurpassed writing and direction, is one of the surest proofs.

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A Quarter-Century Tribute

Michael-Blake_Dances-With-WolvesEvery first-time movie director thinks he is making the next Citizen Kane.  Few are correct. But director and star Kevin Costner did something his first time at bat that no other freshman filmmaker ever has: his film won seven Oscars.

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A Horror Maestro Goes West

Willaim-Castle_Director_movie-postersWhen Director William Castle was grinding through his last Western film, 1955’s Duel on the Mississippi, B-movie immortality probably wasn’t on his mind. Duel on the Mississippi was just another movie Castle would make for Columbia Pictures’ low budget-mogul Sam Katzman, shot fast and cheap, but good enough for the Bijou.

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The Films of Pancho Villa

Viva Villa lobby card_The scene with Villa and his crazed lieutenant Sierra_ Stuart ErwinPancho Villa was admired by some of the finest writers of the 20th century, and a surprising number wrote screenplays about him: Ben Hecht, who, with Charles MacArthur, redefined our opinion of the press with 1931’s The Front Page; Robert Towne, whose Chinatown screenplay is arguably the most important work of literature of the 1970s; Sam Peckinpah who, from The Rifleman series to 1969’s The Wild Bunch, brought a combination of reality and poetry

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The Heart of the Movie

The Homesman-Mary-Bee-Cuddy-_Hilary-Swank_-Buster-Shaver-_Barry-CorbinIn February 1989, television history was being made with the CBS broadcast of Lonesome Dove. Adapted from Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the miniseries shattered ratings and became a “water cooler” favorite. Lonesome Dove was the show to watch, and one of the reasons was luckless Deputy Roscoe Brown, portrayed with great heart by Barry Corbin.

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The Faults Do Not Matter

LARGE_Sam-Peckinpah-with-his-Garrett-and-Billy_James-Coburn-Garett-_Kris-Kristofferson-BillyBecause we are dealing with a legend everyone seems to feel that it must be authentic. I am not interested in authenticity. I am interested in drama.

—Sam Peckinpah

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The Auteur Who Walked the West

/Director-Gordon-Douglas_Martin-Rackin_Alan-Ladd_Santiago

They’re the studio men, the directors who took assignments, working on Comedies, Westerns, Musicals and Horrors. They directed top stars, the youngsters coming up and the stars on the way down. They helmed movies the front office loved and second-rate features studios didn’t care about.

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Inside Straight

Kenny-Rogers_The-Gambler-movie-posterApril marked the 35th anniversary of CBS’s airing of Kenny Rogers as The Gambler. The now-classic Western television movie set ratings records, had four sequels, won multiple Emmy Awards and gave Kenny Rogers a trademark identity and a theme that’s one of the biggest hits in Country music history.

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Taking Aim at Gunslingers

Westerns-Sep-2014In the “Wyatt Earp: The Tombstone Vendetta” episode of Gunslingers, a weathered Kurt Russell states, “The O.K. Corral is the greatest gunslinger moment of all time.”

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Texas Rangers Epic Event

Texas-Rising_Brendan-Fraser_Bill-PaxtonThe script touched something deep inside me, which was how much I’d always wanted to make a Western.”

Director Roland Joffé’s voice charges with enthusiasm as he describes the emotions he felt during his first reading of producers Leslie Greif and Darrell Fetty’s script for Texas Rising, the History Channel’s eight-hour miniseries event, which airs over four nights beginning on Memorial Day.

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Bull Doggin’

Westerns_Steve-Ihnat_-Stephen-Lodge_The-HonkersWhen actor and director Steve Ihnat approached Stephen Lodge to work with him on a screenplay that eventually became The Honkers, Lodge had no idea he was in a race against Cliff Robertson and Sam Peckinpah.

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O’Reilly’s Legends & Lies

Billy-O riely_-legends-and-liesBill O’Reilly is no stranger to digging into history. The political commentator and host for The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News Channel has put his History degree to work in his nonfiction books, particularly Killing Kennedy, Killing Lincoln and, most recently, Killing Patton, all cowritten with author Martin Dugard.

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A Million Ways to Laugh in the West

westers_million-ways-to-die-in-the-westWhen a trailer is posted on the Internet, keeping track of the views and “shares” is the perfect way for studios to judge which films will hit...or miss. Godzilla? No question. But another trailer has taken the web by storm; incredibly, it’s a Comedy Western.

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For the Love of Money

The-stalwart-women_When-Calls-the-HeartThe mind of a television executive can be a confusing, dangerous maze of brilliance and misconception. Last year, A&E cancelled Longmire because the cabler felt the audience for its hit show wasn’t the “right audience.” In other words, too old.

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A Man to Match the Land

/John-Wayne_set-of-stage-coach_feature-sizeJohn Wayne had incrementally risen from three-day pictures to six-day pictures to ten-day pictures, with corresponding increases in salary but very little increase in prestige. “I kept nagging at [John] Ford,” remembered Wayne. “‘When is it my turn?’ He’d say, ‘Just wait. I’ll let you know when I get the right script.’ And he did.”

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He Knew Them All

Oscar-winning-actor-Victor-McLaglen-and-son-Andrew-McLaglen-show-Clint-Eastwood-the-proper-way-to-punch-on-the-set-of-Rawhide-in-1959.He was one of the pros. The six-foot-seven gentle giant directed movie stars by letting them do what they did best, while he created seamless entertainments.

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A Wild Western Zine

Westerns_lee-marivn_chester-good_matt-dillion_monogram-cowboyIn the 1960s, James Warren and Forrest J. Ackerman’s Famous Monsters of Filmland was such a runaway success, covering old and new Horror movies, the demand for another magazine was immediate. Drugstore racks were heavy with monsters for kids, but Warren wanted an adult readership, and they were watching Westerns.

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The Best of Movies, TV Series and DVDS for 2015

Western-Movies_All-Indian-cast-silent-film_The-Daughter-of-DawnThe Year 2014 proved to be a year of ups and downs for the Western, with a major film dying gutshot at the box office, while one of the most anticipated Westerns in years gained momentum and status at film festivals around the world. On television, the tug-of-war with the genre exploded, with A&E’s decision to cancel Longmire, despite its success, and rival networks launching new series, showing, again, the genre’s staying power.

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A True Giant

May15-WesternsTrue giants don’t need to declare themselves, they just are, and William Blinn, the quiet man from Ohio, is a true giant. Blinn has a talent for telling unusual stories, with a deep emotional center, which propelled him to the “top of the mountain” when he became a staff writer on Bonanza.

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The Little Big Man Hoax?

Dustin-Hoffman_little-big-manIn 1992, American Heritage magazine asked historians, artists and novelists to name their favorite American historical novel. The overwhelming winner was Thomas Berger’s 1964 novel, Little Big Man, the story of Jack Crabb, a white man raised by Northern Cheyennes, who spent his life going between the two cultures and witnessed nearly every famous event of the frontier West.

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Buried Treasures

Westerns_movies_vintage-movie-posters_1950s_lone-rangerDuring the 1960s, when Philadelphia’s channel 48 ran Satan’s Satellites, I had no idea I was munching popcorn through a serial (Zombies of the Stratosphere) re-cut into a feature.  I was jumping out of my pj’s because it was action-filled Sci-Fi, starring a jet-propelled hero, but I had never seen a chapter play. Featuring more fights and stunts than I had seen in a dozen programs, the story flew as fast as Rocket Man did, but something made it different.

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True Westerners

Rick Wallner

Rick Wallner

The best book on Bent’s Fort is David Lavender’s Bent’s Fort , although Mark Lee G...

Justice for Jack

Justice for Jack

Pioneer Jack Swilling should be remembered for his many contributions to Arizona...

Liberty, Not Death

Liberty, Not Death

Children soothed their thirst by scraping their fingernails on barrack windows t...

True West Site Guide

Mission

True West captures the spirit of the American West with authenticity, personality and humor by linking our history to our present. Whether you call it the Wild West, the Old West or the Far West, America's frontier history comes to life in True West, the world's oldest, continuously published Western Americana magazine.

Western movie fans, re-enactors, history buffs and road warriors, we got your history covered: outlaw, cowboy, Indian, lawman, gunfighter, fur trapper, miner, prospector, gambler, soldier, entertainer and pioneer. Check out these True Westerners now!
 

Product of the Month

The Illustrated Life and Times of Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp

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