Savages and Saints

The Changing Image of American Indians in Westerns


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About the Book

The history of American Indians on screen can be compared to a light shining through a prism. We may have seen bits and pieces of the genuine culture portrayed, but rarely did we see a satisfying and informative whole picture.
Savages and Saints deals with the changing image of the American Indian in the Western film genre, contrasting the fictionalized images of native Americans portrayed in classic films against the historical reality of life on the American frontier. The book tells the stories of frontier warriors, Indian and white, revealing how their stories were often drastically altered on screen according to the times the films were made, the stars involved in the film’s production, and the social/political beliefs of the filmmakers. Studio correspondence, letters from government files, and passages from western novels adapted for the screen are used to illustrate the various points.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Writer, actor and comedian Bob Herzberg is the author of scholarly books and Western novels. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Bob Herzberg
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 318
Bibliographic Info: 84 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015 [2008]
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6278-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5182-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix

Introduction      1

1. All Quiet on the Silent Screen (1903–1927): From Wild West Show to Cinematic Marauders      7

2. War Whoops in the Talkies (1928–1939): Rampaging on Screen While the Nation Is in the Red      42

3. The Great Whitewash (1940–1948): White Men on the Warpath      68

4. More Than One Red Menace (1949–1960): The Cold War on the Frontier      103

5. Mass Media Massacres (1960–1975): Wars on the Frontier, Both Past and Present      194

6. The Vanishing American Western (1978–the present): Cowboy and Indian Pictures Bite the Dust      272

Afterword      295

Bibliography      299

Index      303

Book Reviews & Awards

“highly recommended, thought provoking”—Western Clippings; “an important addition to the bookshelves of film scholars and Western buffs”—Western Writers of America; “an important addition”—Roundup Magazine.