The American West on Film
by Johnny D. Boggs
November 2019, 237pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6676-0
$70, £54, 61€, A96
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6677-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

How accurate are Hollywood’s film portrayals of the Old West?

More than a history of Western movies, The American West on Film intertwines film history, the history of the American West, and American social history into one unique volume.

The American West on Film chronicles 12 Hollywood motion pictures that are set in the post–Civil War American West, including The Ox-Bow Incident, Red River, High Noon, The Searchers, The Magnificent Seven, Little Big Man, and Tombstone. Each film overview summarizes the movie’s plot, details how the film came to be made, the critical and box-office reactions upon its release, and the history of the time period or actual event. This is followed by a comparison and contrast of the filmmakers’ version of history with the facts, as well as an analysis of the film’s significance, then and now.

Relying on contemporary accounts and historical analysis as well as perspectives from filmmakers, historians, and critics, the author describes what it took to get each movie made and how close to the historical truth the movie actually got. Readers will come away with a better understanding of how movies often reflect the time in which they were made, and how Westerns can offer provocative social commentary hidden beneath old-fashioned “shoot-em-ups.”


  • Offers an insider's look at the making of popular and classic motion pictures about America's westward expansion
  • Analyzes what Western movies often got wrong about the history of the American West and what it sometimes got right
  • Shows how movies reflect the period in which they were made
Johnny D. Boggs is a Spur and Western Heritage Wrangler award-winning novelist and film historian. His books include Jesse James and the Movies; Billy the Kid on Film, 1911–2012; and The Raven's Honor: A Sam Houston Story.

Hollywood History

Just exactly how accurate are Hollywood's film and television portrayals of U.S. history? What do these portrayals tell us, not only about the events they depict, but also the time in which they were made? Each volume in this unique reference series is devoted to a single topic or key theme in U.S. history, examining approximately 10 major motion pictures or television productions. Substantial essays summarize each film, provide a historical background of the event or period it depicts, and explain how accurate the film’s depiction is, while also analyzing the cultural context in which the film was made.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.