Hollywood Western Film Analysis

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“The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles. He must therefore entertain new ideas and form new opinions” (Crevecoeur, 1782). A few generations later, one romanticized version America’s new man, with new principles, new ideas, and opinions is the man depicted in the Hollywood Western. That man, or person, is the settler, cowboy, or lonesome traveler who traverses the Western frontier in search of his place in and the promise of America. As America expands its frontier to the West during the nineteenth-century, the depiction of what it means to be a heroic settler formed in the American psyche. When films came to the silver screen the genre of Hollywood Westerns created protagonists who exemplified qualities often associated with what it means to be an American. Cole Hardin, of William Wyler’s The Westerner, and Will Lockhart, of Anthony Mann’s The Man From Laramie, are two characters in particular that personify the heroic qualities of what it means to be American in the late nineteenth-century and embody traits that Americans for generations to come admire and aspire to …show more content…
Ultimately, bringing law and order to the Western frontier and its wide open spaces exemplifies civilization, freedom and opportunity. Examining these qualities and taking them a step further, it is not an exaggeration to venture that fighting for justice and proper concept of civilization in the Hollywood Western conveys the concept of Manifest Destiny. The notion of Manifest Destiny which speaks to a divine purpose, moral superiority, and a mission to settle and make great the territories God endowed America with is a prevalent theme found in Hollywood Westerns. Cole Hardin and Will Lockhart bravely moving from town to town, alone and on a quasi-divine mission of righteousness and a personal morality is a personification of Manifest

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