This is a Mean Old World: Westerns in Contemporary Settings

In the traditional western, the hero saves the town, kills the villain, and all is right. But more often than not the genre depicts America’s ugliness – it’s injustices and cruelty. America, despite it’s great qualities and liberties, was built on violence and injustice. Many filmmakers have opted to show this historical accuracy instead of the fabled heroics: thus we should not repeat the past. Other filmmakers have used the genre staples as tools to show the injustices and struggles in contemporary settings.

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, 2005

Written by Guillermo Arriaga

Directed by Tommy Lee Jones

Through intricate weaving of non-linear story telling, this tale of retribution delves into the loyalty and forgiveness. Horse rancher Pete Perkins (Jones) honors his promise to his recently murdered friend Melquiades Estrada to bury him in his home town in Mexico. Estrada’s murder at the hands of border patrol
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