Westerns in a Changing America, 1955–2000


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About the Book

For many, the Westerns of 1930 to 1955 were a defining part of American culture. Those Westerns were one of the vehicles by which viewers learned the values and norms of a wide range of social relationships and behavior. By 1955, however, Westerns began to include more controversial themes: cowardly citizens, emotionally deranged characters, graphic violence, marital infidelity, racial prejudice, and rape, among other issues. This work examines the manner in which Westerns reflected the substantial social, economic and political changes that shaped American culture in the latter half of the twentieth century.
Part One of this work considers shifting themes as the genre reacted to changes unfolding in the broader social landscape of American culture. Part Two examines the manner in which images of cowboys, outlaws, lawmen, American Indians and women changed in Westerns as the viewers were offered new understanding of the frontier experience.

About the Author(s)

R. Philip Loy teaches at Taylor University and is associate dean for the Social Science Division. He is also the author of Westerns and American Culture, 1930–1955 (2001). He lives in Upland, Indiana.

Bibliographic Details

R. Philip Loy
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 328
Bibliographic Info: 48 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2004
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1871-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8301-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. Randolph Scott and Audie Murphy in Changing Times      7
2. The Descent of the Hero      35
3. Westerns of the New Frontier      70
4. Sam Peckinpah in the 1960s      94
5. Clint Eastwood: “Man with No Name”      118
6. John Wayne: “The American”      144

7. “Nobody Gets to Be a Cowboy Forever”      177
8. Jesse James and Billy the Kid: Outlaws or Populist Heroes      193
9. “Never Mind Wyatt, It Happened That Way”      217
10. “Indians Are Human Beings”      241
11. “Hard-Ridin’ Woman with a Whip”      271

Epilogue      305
Bibliography      307
Index      311

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Engaging thoughts and ideas…thought-provoking…worthy…logical, and convincing…belongs in your library”—Western Clippings
  • “Substantial and significant”—Communication Booknotes Quarterly
  • “Interesting and well-written”—Wranglers’ Roost