Westerns and American Culture, 1930–1955
Many people have fond memories of Friday nights and Saturday afternoons spent in theatres watching cowboy stars of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s chase villains across the silver screen or help a heroine out of harm’s way. Over 2,600 Westerns were produced between 1930 and 1955 and they became a defining part of American culture. This work focuses on the idea that Westerns were one of the vehicles by which viewers learned the values and norms of a wide range of social relationships and behavior, and thus examines the ways in which Western movies reflected American life and culture during this quarter century. Chapters discuss such topics as the ways that Westerns included current events in film plot and dialogue, reinforced the role of Christianity in American culture, reflected the emergence of a strong central government, and mirrored attitudes toward private enterprise. Also covered is how Westerns represented racial minorities, women, and Indians.
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