The Student News Site of Truckee High School

The Truckee Times

Big News, Small Town

The Truckee Times

The Student News Site of Truckee High School

The Truckee Times


Big News, Small Town

The Appeal of Western Movies

Kayden Zimmerman

Westerns are a classic genre, the first one dating back to a two-minute film in 1899. Now, there are hundreds of Western films spread across every streaming platform. These films often highlight the North American frontier and show the audience a slice of a cowboy’s life. Several Westerns and their directors and actors have become notorious for these films and will always have a place in film history, but why are Westerns appealing? 

Freedom has been a topic in the United States for a long time, and for so many people, the idea of freedom is a primary appeal of the Western genre. Very often, when you think of a western film, you think of a loner cowboy with nothing but their horse and the road ahead. It can reinforce some people’s beliefs when they see a similar way of life to something they enjoy on television and add to the appeal.

Another enormous appeal in Western movies is the stillness and solitude of nature. In the bustling society today, almost always spent in some city, town, or other artificial area, it can be hard to connect to nature. This makes even a very unnatural part of life like the television give someone a way to connect to the outdoors. 

People love to be excellent. There are mounds of media that give people an avenue for them to imagine themselves as being cool or different than the life that they live in. An aesthetic famous among Westerners is the pillaging thugs that ruin a town, eventually defeated by the mysterious cowboy who is more morally grey than a hero. Movies like High Plains Drifter and Tombstone illustrate this mentality and aesthetic in infamous ways.

As enjoyable as they are to watch, western movies are not all good. Because of the timeline that they are set in and because of their dated beginnings, many Westerns are blatantly racist, sexist, and bigoted in many other ways. Themes like these can be seen in movies from the first Western ever made, which is apparent in the title Kidnapping by Indians, made in England in 1899. However, efforts have been made to change that and bring light to different social situations. MTV gave a list of westerns that have been better towards Native Americans than others. Other forms of prejudice have been explored in the Western genre; for example, in the movie Brokeback Mountain, the way that the LGBTQ+ community was treated in Western-like situations was discussed. 

Since the late 1800s, the American West has been a topic of film that has been extensively explored. The movies portraying the frontier are a gateway into the nature and beauty of the U.S. Westers are a commonly flawed genre. However, their portrayal of the beauty of the West is loved by many, and the window into a different life, a simple life, makes Western movies appealing.


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About the Contributor
Kayden Zimmerman, Staff Reporter
Kayden is a sophomore and this is her first year on staff. She enjoys writing about local topics of interest and issues regarding students of THS. Outside of school, she enjoys painting, climbing, and lifting weights with her friends.

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