2 January 2013 10:57 PM, PST | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

The Western was a movie staple for decades. It seemed the genre that would never die, feeding the fantasies of one generation after another of young boys who galloped around their backyards, playgrounds, and brick streets on broomsticks, banging away with their Mattel cap pistols. Something about a man on a horse set against the boundless wastes of Monument Valley, the crackle of saddle leather, two men facing off in a dusty street under the noon sun connected with the free spirit in every kid.

The American movie – a celluloid telling that was more than a skit – was born in a Western: Edwin S. Porter’s 11- minute The Great Train Robbery (1903). Thereafter, Westerns grew longer, they grew more complex. The West – hostile, endless, civilization barely maintaining a toehold against the elements, hostile natives, and robber barons – proved an infinitely plastic setting. In a place with no law, and where »

- Bill Mesce

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