OK I just had a big debate with someone on another board on whether or not the Western genre is dead or alive. And of course the day after I saw the ads for "Comanche Moon." And of course I was reminded there were two Westerns in theaters last year--the remake of "3:10 to Yuma," and that Brad Pitt as Jesse James flick. But of course it could also be pointed out that Hollywood hasn't produced anywhere near the number of Westerns that it did before the early 70's. I mean, there used to be 56 Western series on TV at one time! Now there is only the occasional miniseries. Of course that may be why Westerns have gone so far downhill--Hollywood made too many Westerns, leading to oater overkill, and the public just got sick of them. So albeit Westerns are not extinct, if Hollywood only produces about 1% of this genre than what they used to, could you really call this genre "alive?" I thinkmaybe the word is "moribund." Hollywood does seem to want to revive this genre though. But can it be revived? Are modern day Americans too far removed from frontier times to identify with those times? After all when the Western genre was invented there where still a lot of people who had lived through these times, or at least had parents who did. After all, film director John Ford was friendswith Wyatt Earp. I think another problem is that there isn't as much as you can do plotwise with a Western as with other genres. Range wars, settlers/cavalry vs. Indians, good guys vs. outlaws (including taming a wild town), gunslinger vs. gunslinger, settlers vs. land grabbers, the cattle drive/let's get the wagon train/stage coach/railroad through hostile territory. Those scenarios cover about 99% of all Western plotlines. So even though Westerns may not become extinct totally, imho they will never be the force they were.
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