Most western movies will usually depict a gunfighter against another gunfighter. One would usually be the good guy and one would usually be the bad guy. But, both of them would be very handy and quick with a gun and thus, it would often be exciting wondering which of them was going to end with the gunshot. In the early days, many times it would be the cowboys against the Indians or even the cavalry against the Indians. These were usually the cliché type of western movies that would follow a certain guideline that was the norm.
But, over the course of time, audiences would change and with them Hollywood too. This would bring on the western type of movies that would depict the wagon trail or the settler’s trails and these would become a success at the time. Why, there was even a point when the most successful cowboy style of movies would feature a singing cowboy.
However, everything comes back around full circle and it has been the gunfighter genre that has been shown to withstand the test of time. For example, in nineteen thirty nine, the movie Stagecoach was considered to be a great western and to this day it still is in the film lover’s views. But, by the nineteen sixties, the beautiful landscape that was such a very large part of the movie Stagecoach had given way to the gritty gun fighting movies such as The Magnificent Seven and the movies that were known as spaghetti westerns. This gun fighting regime would certainly hold its own and eventually come out as the top favorite version of the western style of movies.
This would lead to flicks such as Young Guns and Tombstone. These were harsh stories that would tell the story of some of the Wild West’s most notorious characters such as Billy the Kid, Doc Holiday, and Wyatt Earp and usually feature many gunfights.
Then movies like Unforgiven and Lonesome Dove were introduced. These were not considered to be gunfighter movies although; this is certainly debatable with Unforgiven in particular. But, these were western character studies that would depict harsh life one the range and in the lawless towns that they would go through. It was Unforgiven that became not only an Oscar contender but, an Oscar winner as well.
Of course, there are also many of the timeless classic television shows such as The Lone Ranger, Bonanza, and Gunsmoke that helped to develop this genre into what it has become today.
By Karen Saffie
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