There are few genres of entertainment more American than the Western. But for a genre so steeped in the iconography of our past, its accuracy in portraying historical event leaves much to be desired. Many argue that the Western is more myth than reality, and that this myth is akin to revisionist history.
Accurate or not, the genre has played a large role in both reflecting and shaping the culture we live in. Whether it's our infatuation with rugged individualism or our nation's love for guns, the influence of Westerns, and the ideals they promote, can be seen all around. This hour we talk with historians and film experts to unravel the origins and significance of the American Western.
- Richard Slotkin - Cultural critic, historian and the Olin Professor of English and American Studies Emeritus at Wesleyan University; author of Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America
- David Wrobel - Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma; author of, Global West, American Frontier: Travel, Empire, and Exceptionalism from Manifest Destiny to the Great Depression
- Mark Harrison - Professor of Film and Performance Studies at Evergreen State College in Washington
- Sandra Osawa - Member of the Makah Tribe as well as an award winning filmmaker and poet focusing on Native American issues; co-founder of Upstream Productions
Colin McEnroe, Betsy Kaplan, and Jonathan McNicol contributed to this show, which originally aired July 13, 2016.