Old western movies can be amazing, disturbing, sad, happy or cheesy, but one thing all westerns share in common is the fact that they are always entertaining. Even in the time of silent film, westerns were a popular genre. Their popularity has not died down at all in the years since-they show no sign of losing their fanatic following. There is a romanticism tied into these movies that just seems timeless.
If you are new to westerns, the following are the best way to learn about the history of the genre while you gain an appreciation for great film.
The Great Train Robbery (1903)
This film was the first western movie ever made. It was a huge hit that helped pave the way for the western movie genre. It was a very short film, based on the true story of when Butch Cassidy's gang held up a train near Table Rock, Wyo.
This western movie, starring John Wayne and Claire Trevor, is a story about passengers on a stagecoach heading across New Mexico. During this colorful journey, the pair runs into an escapee from prison bent on revenge because he was framed for murder.
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
This western movie, starring Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston, is based on the classic theme of a treasure hunt. The tale involves three men who band together to prospect and find their fortune. However, after they overcome many obstacles and find the treasure, it is stolen by bandits.
Red River (1948)
This western, starring John Wayne and Montgomery Cliff, is a tale about two men who decide to join a wagon train heading west. After being attacked by Indians, the men decide to settle in Texas. There they start a huge cattle ranch. But the cattle must be taken to Missouri and a hard trip ensues.
Rio Grande (1950)
This western movie, starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, takes place just after the Civil War. An army officer is posted at the Rio Grande to train new recruits. When one of the recruits turns out to be the officer's son, many problems develop. The biggest problem is the conflict between the officer and the recruit's mother, who comes to take him away from the fighting.
High Noon (1952)
This western movie, starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly, is the tale of a sheriff who must face the murderous wrath of a man he once put in prison. Though the sheriff runs away at first, he comes back to the town to face the man in a shoot-out at high noon.
This film, starring Alan Ladd and Jean Arthur, is the story about a young boy's admiration for a stranger who comes to the aid of the boy and his widowed mother. As a rancher tries to push the family off their land, and hires a killer to guarantee success, the stranger manages to save the day.
The Searchers (1956)
This western, starring John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter, tells the tale of a man who return from the civil war to find his home and family destroyed by Comanche Indians. The man and his nephew search for a niece kidnapped by the Indians, they discover she has, herself, "turned Indian." As the story unfolds, it turns out that man's hatred for Indians becomes a major obstacle to bringing her home.
These famous cowboys have introduced countless moviegoers to Hollywood's take on the Wild West.
The women of the Wild West might not be quite as famous as their male counterparts, but they certainly did make quite the splash.