The Crowded Prairie: American National Identity in the Hollywood Western

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I.B.Tauris, Dec 15, 1998 - Performing Arts - 239 pages
The Crowded Prairie examines the interaction of the Hollywood Western with diverse strands of US society, culture and ideology from the end of the Depression to the Bicentennial in 1976. In these years the Western became a vital medium for exploring many tensions which beset modern America, engaging covertly with such thorny issues as intervention in World War II, miscegenation, generational discord, ethnic ascendancy, McCarthyism, Civil Rights, Vietnam, Watergate and, above all, the individual's ever-increasing alienation from the changing values of American society. With force and fluency, Michael Coyne focuses on a group of Westerns chosen according to commercial success and critical acclaim, charting the Western's thematic transition from an agenda of patriotism and community involvement to fundamental distrust of America's power structure and personal disaffection.
 

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The crowded prairie: American national identity in the Hollywood western

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Coyne (history, Univ. of Edinburgh) brings forth a bracing analysis of what he terms the golden age of Hollywood Westerns, from Stagecoach (1939) to The Shootist (1976). As the title suggests, he ... Read full review

Contents

Stagecoach and the Western
16
My Darling Clementine and Duel
31
The Lonely Crowd Catholicism and Consensus
48
Dysfunctional Family Structures in Classic Westerns
66
Politics and Codes of Masculinity in Late 1950s Star
84
How the West Was Won and
105
The Vietnam
120
The Wild
142
Legends Revisited Legends Revised in Bicentennial
166
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About the author (1998)

Michael Coyne is a writer and film historian. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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