The settlement of the west has prompted storys which have captivated the public throughout this century. More than any other historic event it has been written about in books, magazines and comic books. Screen writers are no exception, it has been the most popular subject of motion pictures from their inception. It’s nearness in history is one of the most important reasons for it’s success.
Soon after the west’s settlement, motion pictures became popular. Parents and grandparents were telling stories that were made even more real by the events seen on the big screen. A person could much more easily imagine events occuring within the past 50 years or so as compared to 150 years with the revolution. This nearness in history gave stories of the west a realistic appeal for the masses.
With the turn of the century came the industrial revolution. At this time the average person’s life changed radically. People now became “factory workers,” clocking in and leaving their brains at the door. The glamour offered by these stories gave the majority of people a short escape from the everyday “grind.” People were able to ride off into the sunset for a few hours becoming a rugged individual who makes a difference as opposed to the faceless body that may turn one screw hour after hour.
Storylines variety was endless for the west’s story tellers. Any story could be written and placed as a western. The love interest, hated villian and old enemy all fit in a western. If a writer did not want to take the time to develop an enemy, one was readily available in the native americans. The wests stories can be varied by switching points of view as seen by the outlaw martyrs view, lonely marshall and wandering cow hands view.
The appeal of the wests settlement to writers will forever be strong. It’s impact on the movie industry alone has been tremendous as witnessed by the 7000 plus westerns made. It was said at one time that every movie star has played in a western. That saying will be true for quite some time to come.