The American Old West: How Hollywood Made It “Wild” to Make Money & Advance Gun Control

Discussion in 'Off The Reservation' started by ammodotcom, Aug 10, 2020.

  1. ammodotcom

    ammodotcom G&G Evangelist

    Hollywood has a clever way of distorting our perspective on history, and a great example of this is Western film – a movie genre we've all come to love. Cattle rustlers, guns blazing, outlaws running loose, and vigilantes dishing out vengeance indiscriminately. These scenes have become more synonymous with the American Frontier than Winchester and their "Cartridge That Won the West." But these fictional tales have produced more than entertainment for over a century; they've also contributed to an ongoing, subtle push for gun control, all while making Hollywood millions.

    Revisionist history books tell us that the “Wild West” was an anarchic period of time that was not conducive to human prosperity. Images of a Hobbesian nightmare – a life that is brutish and short – are ingrained in our consciousness thanks to decades of public schooling and violent images on the silver screen which are light on actual history and heavy on creative license.

    However, individuals who believe in liberty and developing their critical thinking faculties should be skeptical of most mainstream narratives regarding history, especially American history. After all, these narratives by and large have been created by Hollywood, a legacy institution that has historically advanced politically correct content with the support of Washington in order to perpetuate the cultural status quo.

    When the curtain of political correctness that's been draped over this particular period of history is pulled back, we see a much more nuanced picture of the American Frontier. In fact, research by historians such as Peter J. Hill, Richard Shenkman, Roger D. McGrath, Terry Anderson, and W. Eugene Holland shows that this period was rather indicative of a “not so wild, Wild West.”

    For the purposes of this article, the Wild West will now be referred to as the Old West. This is by no means a pedantic distinction, but rather an acknowledgment of the fact that this time period was not “wild” by any stretch of the imagination when compared to other chaotic periods in human history. Indeed, the Old West had its fair share of challenges for American settlers. But as we’ll see below, crafty settlers found ways through ingenuity and mutual cooperation - all done with very limited state interference - to create a stable order for generations to come.

    Continue reading The American Old West: How Hollywood Made It “Wild” to Make Money & Advance Gun Control at And if you need your eyes free while panning for gold, you can also listen to our Resistance Library podcast!
  2. mitchr

    mitchr G&G Evangelist

    I fear too many people take Hollywood too seriously. It's called entertainment. :rolleyes: Even when they tout "based on a true story", you can bet it's usually been embellished to the point of being a fictional account of what happened. I've even learned to question "documentaries".
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  3. mauser9

    mauser9 G&G Evangelist

    Yeah gotta take those old westerns with a grain of salt. Great entertainment when we were kids but we all know Hollywood. Those "showdowns" at noon rarely occurred I read once. Don't forget the Winchesters too! Period incorrect Model 92s or 94s weren't around in 1875 but the Model 1873 not made after 1919 or 1920 in fairness. Also bet those "Colts" could have been actually Great Western models that were around in the 50s 60s. Am sure they were cheaper
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  4. ammodotcom

    ammodotcom G&G Evangelist

    Too many of them are made with some agenda. Unless it's detailing the lives of a pack or wolves or merekats or something, a documentary musn't be taken as a strict record of fact.
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  5. Jim Bridger

    Jim Bridger G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    The first Western type Frontier Novel was Last Of the Mohican. Frontier stories exist in most Countries. Robin Hood was a Frontier fantasy In England. Scotland Wm. Wallace etc.
    Yes, here in Wyoming we laugh at the Western movies. But we pay to watch the movies. Don't get too up set at the western genera.:usa2:
  6. mauser9

    mauser9 G&G Evangelist

    Good to see period correct firearms in recent westerns thanks to the reproductions by Uberti.
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  7. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    I call them "mockumentaries". o_O
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  8. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    New York
    Big Dog, a mockumentary is a genuine form of comedy movie meant to appear like a documentary, but is really a comedy. Some well known examples are This Is Spinal Tap, Best In Show, and A Mighty Wind.

    The kind of agenda-driven documentary you are talking about could more properly be referred to as a "Faux Documentary." I find it especially true of the biographical ones meant to convince voters to elect some politician.

    It even shows up on the History Channel, which has been known to run series based on the premise that Hitler did not commit suicide in the Fuehrerbunker in 1945, but instead slipped out of the city and by a laborious route made it to Argentina, where he lived out his life in a remote town in the interior/lived a quiet life in a suburb of Buenos Aires/lived on an estancia on the pampas somewhere as a big landowner. Somehow the fact that his valet Hans Linge, his chauffeur Erich Kempka, his personal adjutant Otto Gunsche, Parteiminister Martin Bormann, and the Fuehrerbunker's chief phone operator Rochus Misch, all of whom had been part of Hitler's official household for years and were the first to enter Hitler's personal quarters and saw the dead body with blood dripping from the bullet wound in the right temple; and the fact Kathe Heusemann, the dental assistant who had assisted with the installation of Hitler's new dental bridge and made positive identification of the bridge, does not seem to matter. Somehow Hitler got out of the bunker, made it to Tempelhof Airport, was flown out of Berlin to (depending on the theory) northern Italy, southeast France, or Spain, and then went by plane/ship/submarine to Argentina and disappeared.

    I'm expecting a "biography" that proves Donald Trump is an alien lizard in a Donald suit any day now.
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  9. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    I get plenty of laughs from agenda driven documentaries. Still "mockumentaries" to me.
    Think how drunk you'd get, playing the game "take a drink every time you hear a political lie!" ;)
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  10. Jim Bridger

    Jim Bridger G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Actually there are many real stories in the West that seem to be a fantasy.
    I like the fact that that there is only one draw and shoot in the street. "Bush Wacking" was real. Tom Horn invented the term "Dry Gulching" He would lie in wait along a dry gulch with a rifle. His trade mark was baloney wrappers and a fired .30-.30 case. In order to collect his bounty he place 3 small stones under the victims head. :eek:
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  11. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    New York
    I recall a genuine documentary on the History Channel a decade or more back that did a compare-and-contrast between Hollywood's Wild West, and the Old West as revealed through contemporary newspaper reports, town records, and personal diaries. It turned out that apart from the odd vendettas like the Earp-Clanton feud and robberies by organized gangs like the James Gang and the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang of Butch Cassidy, the Old West was a reasonably peaceful place with reported crimes lower than what we see today in towns of similar size.

    In terms of accuracy, movies like Red River and The Frisco Kid have it right. But it is the job of movies to entertain and make money, not to teach history. No one was going to pay money to watch a movie where the farmers sweat to raise and harvest crops, and how many cattle drives can you watch before it becomes boring? Even Rawhide was more about the people the drive encountered interacting with the drovers than the drive itself.

    98% of the Hollywood Westerns are complete hogwash. But the anti-gunners would have you believe that Hollywood's Wild West was the real West. It's why some a$$hole in the anti-gun movement coined the term "Dodge City on Saturday night" to describe what would happen if Florida passed the first must-issue CCW law. But it was that term we pro-Second Amendment types were able to turn against them when nothing of the kind happened after that law was passed.

    The Hollywood Western is a genre of movie and television that is good entertainment. Those of us of a certain age grew up with Gil Favor, Rowdy Yates, Major Seth Adams, Flint McCullough, Lucas McCain, Paladin, the Cartwright family, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Gene Autry, William Boyd, and of course the great John Wayne among many others imparting the Western ethos of honesty, integrity, standing up for what it right, and seeing that justice is done. We learned ethics from the Westerns. But none of us ever believed that the Westerns reflected the way the Old West really was.

    Today's witless wonders believe anything they see on the screen is real when it comes to history. It's not. It's entertainment. In my entire life, I have been to just one place where what I saw with my own two eyes matched with what was shown on the idiot box: Miami in the mid-1980s at the height of the cocaine wars as shown on Miami Vice.

    That seemed to be an anomaly right up there with Detective Danny Reagan's ongoing shooting of criminals in the Rotten Apple. As of the end of Season 8 (his entry in the Blue Bloods wiki has not been updated recently), Danny has killed 46 people while on the job, which puts him ahead of the legendary Harry Callahan of the SFPD. His actual count is higher than that.

    Any real-world cop with that kind of a record would either have been taken off the street and put into a desk job, or would have been medically retired with mental health issues just to keep the NYPD out of the newspapers. Most NYPD cops never have to fire their guns in anger in a 20 year career, while Danny Reagan is like Sergeant Rock. Blue Bloods is ENTERTAINMENT, but to the leftists it is reality. They are the ones who need a reality check. Just because it's on your TV screen in prime time does not make it real!
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  12. eastbank

    eastbank G&G Evangelist

    here,s the old west, living quarters run down, not all had horses and ragged apperences, but they were for the most part well armed.

    Attached Files:

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  13. PaleHawkDown

    PaleHawkDown G&G Evangelist

    I can't find it anywhere, but I read an article waaaay back in my college days about political systems of the Old West.

    Towns were essentially autonomous until they got big enough to attract the college-educated. As such, loose political systems were set up around the local industry.

    I wish I could remember the fine details, but the most successful towns were based around a sort of anarchy. Government was not welcomed or tolerated, people mainly looked out for their community, and big decisions were made as a group. Crime was likewise punished as a group. As such crime was relatively low.

    There were Theocracies, corporatacracies, small dictatorships, and even somewhat-functional socialistic communities - like the German towns in Texas and Arizona.

    In most of these there was very little crime in terms of theft or murder, though there were quite a few industries that might be frowned upon in a "civilized" society, and crime was almost universally dealt with in a total disregard for the judicial system.

    The article dealt a lot with how "wild" the West actually was.

    I think there was one year listed where the researcher could only find 15 shootings across every minor and major settlement, township and city in the West, and most were considered justified.

    Beginning in the 1870s, however, a lot of these "lawless", yet peaceful towns began to attract educated liberals from the East. These people brought their idea of laws and politics. They also brought writers desperate to paint the West as wild - the dime-store novelists and transplanted Yellow Journalists.

    What happened next was a social spiral. The propagandists wanting to enforce their will labeled the West as unruly. The few criminal acts were amplified, and their perpetrators were either romanticized or famously vilified. Their deeds were stretched and fictionalized.

    The era of the celebrity criminal drew more criminals to The West attempting to reach the fame, and these wannabees actually tried to do the outlandish deeds that hack writers invented whole cloth.

    There was also increased friction between the homesteaders and the people who had just moved in and were attempting to assert their will.

    After the Civil War there were also a lot of disaffected soldiers from both sides with their own prejudices and grievances, and there were often skirmishes as a result.

    The writer of the article ended the period of the Old West just before WWI.

    His conclusion was that the West was "lawless" but not actually dangerous, then the Easterners came and the West was full of laws, but a lot more dangerous for a period of about eight to 12 years.

    Then Westerners molded the government in a way that combined law with compromise and common sense, and the West was, again, mostly peaceful. The last hurrah of major crime in the West was largely due to the media's romanticized portrayal of The Wild Bunch.

    One exception to the West as a not-so-dangerous place was, as today, California. Between the El Camino Real and San Francisco, murders and theft were pretty constant. The thing is, since there were no Eastern writers to romanticize or chronicle the El Camino Real (until Johnston McCulley who was a few generations late), and the government of San Francisco was almost as liberal back then as they are today, crime was basically ignored.
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  14. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    New York
    One segment of the documentary Hollywood: A Celebration of the American Silent Film is titled, "Out West." It shows how the Western as we understand it evolved. It went from ill-received films written, directed by, and starring a reformed outlaw, to semi-documentaries like The Covered Wagon of 1922 directed by James Cruze (arguably the best movie about the westward migration that's ever been made, and featuring the real covered wagons that made the journey back in the day, driven by the families who owned them and knew how to live out of them) and The Iron Horse of 1924, John Ford's first major film (which featured among other things a few retired Chinese coolies who had helped the Central Pacific Railroad build the western portion of the transcontinental railroad, who came out to play in the film as a lark; Plains Indians who like to froze their noogies off because they were dressed for summer and they were shooting in the winter; and a flea-infested circus train that was so uncomfortable, the cast and crew took to sleeping in the buildings built as sets, so their fantasy became their reality); and then into the "Hollywood Western" developed by William S. Hart, Tom Mix, and Randolph Scott that bears little resemblance to what the Old West was truly like. It's worth watching, if you can manage to find the series.
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  15. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    If it's a choice between a less-than-accurate western oater versus the current crop of gangsta/hiphop crap on TV, I'll take the oater every time.
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  16. PaleHawkDown

    PaleHawkDown G&G Evangelist

    The oldest two "Westerns" I have ever watched were "The Great Train Robbery" - a 1903 film notable for being shot in New Jersey, and the original version of "The Virginian" from 1914 that I found by accident at the dollar store on a Western compilation. I thought it was the later version.
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  17. Rex in OTZ

    Rex in OTZ G&G Evangelist

    I grew up watching Tv shows.
    And young enuf to listen to first generation immigrants talk about farming with horses in the 1910's thru 1940's.
    My father talked about being in highschool when REA brought electricity to NE Nebraska (Ft Randle hydroelectric dam) not unusual to find indian arrowheads along cow paths.
    We could still see scars of old wagon roads across pastures.
    The home I grew up in had been built of local harvested wood (Niobrara river bottom cottonwood)
    Assembled with cast glass windows and square nails.
    One the hay meddows we put up prairie hay in had a wierd raised portion transecting it south to north.
    Turned out it was a rail spur that was built in the late 1860's to cross the Niobrara River.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
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  18. Rex in OTZ

    Rex in OTZ G&G Evangelist

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
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  19. Jim Bridger

    Jim Bridger G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    My family came West with the Fur Trade in 1820. Yes, tell it anyway that you choose. But if you have never lived in the Inner Mountain West your focus will likely miss the target. Many of the post regarding the eternal West are based on Urban Imagination.:D
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  20. PaleHawkDown

    PaleHawkDown G&G Evangelist

    Ditto for the South. I feel your pain.