A short essay on the Western, and where it needs to go now:
There is no place for Westerns in modern corporate culture but that doesn’t mean that the form is no longer alive in the American and in the world’s imagination. Any Hollywood studio executive will tell you, as though reciting the Nicene Creed, that audiences don’t want Westerns, and publishers will say the same of Western fiction. Both are craven lies.
When a traditional Western manages to slip through the cracks in Hollywood, it invariably meets with success. Dances With Wolves, Unforgiven, Tombstone, Open Range and the Coen brothers’ True Grit all turned a profit, and a few of them, True Grit conspicuously, made a very great deal of money. Non-traditional, cynical Westerns, the sort of Westerns that appeal to the collapsed males who run Hollywood, invariably flop. These dreadful men make their case from the latter type of Western, and ignore or explain away the former type. It may be that they don’t even know the difference between them . . .
Read the full essay here.