Essay: Western Film

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Wstern Film

Motion picture directors have made numerous Western movies in the second half of the twentieth century until about the 90s when the genre had become a thing of the past among film fans. Most Westerns depicted the period subsequent to the Civil War, when people were migrating towards the west in large numbers with the belief that they would get rich there. A typical western involves a great deal of shooting done by renegade cowboys or by hero-like sheriffs.

John Ford's the Searchers follows the story of Civil War veteran Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) as he had just returned from the war where he fought for the Confederacy. Early westerns frequently displayed Indians as being ruthless savages dedicated to stealing and killing innocent people. The Indians in Ford's movie follow the pattern exactly.

John Wayne's character, Ethan, is a convinced anti-Indian and cannot control himself as he finds out about Lucy's affair with Scar. Ethan is the archetypal white man from the late nineteenth century in the period subsequent to the Civil War. White people felt that they had to civilize all Indians and that they were rightfully entitled to rule over all of Northern America.

Ethan is not the only person in the film displaying explicit racist beliefs towards Indians. In spite of the appearance of her gentle nature, Laurie advises Martin not to intervene between Ethan and Debbie because she also considers that a relationship between a white girl and an Indian is something outrageous.

All of the Indians involved in the film show no expression of intelligence or of good-will. The movie has been produced in 1956 when people regarded Indians as being uneducated and there was a general movement that promoted white people as a superior race.

In contrast to the Searchers, Little Big Man is a Western that proves the fact that people have changed their way of thinking from 1956 to 1970. The 70s have been a period when people were rebelling against unjust wars and for freedom and equality for all.

All of the Indian characters involved in the movie are different from most Indians participating in Westerns. In opposition, white men are presented as being thieves that would stop at nothing from exploiting everything and everyone.

The story of Jack Crabb is followed as he undergoes a series of unfortunate incidents. In spite of following the Hollywood pattern, the Indians in the movie prove to be very wise and kind.

Even with the fact that Jack has mistreated Younger Bear, he receives assistance from him as the Indian saves his life.

The audience is presented with Jack's life as he is subjected to two different styles of living: that in the Cheyenne camp and that among civilized whites. Life among the whites is composed [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Western Film."  Essaytown.com.  April 12, 2009.  Accessed December 9, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/western-film/785232.