Movie Genres: Westerns–Studies? Directors, Actors, Issues, Biblio

Research in progress, Feb 9, 2022.

How to study Westerns, the uniquely American genre?

Some suggest to ho by major actors who contributed to the genre, such as Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda, and Clint Eastwood.

Other scholars take the auteurist approach by focusing on the major directors of the genre, such as John Ford, Howard Hawks, and Anthony Mann.

Issues: Male Camaraderie

In many Westerns, the narrative centers on the friendship/camaraderie/rivalry of two mature men:


Red River

Ride the High Country

The Searchers

They Rode Together


Wilburn, W. A. The Western Hero: A Study in Myth and American Values. Addison-Wesley,1973.

Wichter, Dixon: The Hero in America: A Chronicle of Hero Worship, Univ Michigan Press, 1963.

Wright, Will. Sixguns and Society: A Structural Study of the Western. Berkeley: Univ of CA Press, 1976.