Characteristics of a Typical Western

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A typical Western would usually be set in the late 19th century in the mid-west of America in a remote town. The town is usually small, lonely and unwelcoming. Typically a western set looks like it is in the middle of a desert with sand, cacti and tumbleweed which gives a desert look, there are usually never any lakes or rivers around these features make the place look really hot and deserted. The buildings are generally timber board houses with swinging doors and outside the buildings are places to keep their horses, there is also always a General Store and a Saloon. Horses and carriages and cattle are used to give a western feel. The cowboys are typically dressed in western style clothing for example they wear simple shirts and jeans they may also wear ponchos, waist coats, hats, boots with spurs, guns and a belt to hold the gun and bullets, Hero's tend to wear lighter clothing and the villain’s tend to wear darker clothing. The storyline is normally about a hero who comes to a town to bring peace and drive the villains out. A hero is usually seen as a vigilante as he is not told to come to help but does anyway. The hero often appears as a quiet, secretive, mysterious person who may make the audience admire him one minute and dislike him the next, he is also a very smart, cunning and adaptable which are all good values in a hero. The villain is usually fixed to one idea he thinks it is a smart cunning person but in the end is always defeated. Many scenes are set around the Saloon (bar) and there is quite often a romance involved with the hero and a local girl, the villain competing for her affections! There are two different types of villains in typical westerns Native Americans and white villains (cowboys). Westerns are split down into sub genres for example classical westerns like "The Great Train Robbery" but there are also other western genres like revisionist westerns. Revisionist westerns occurred after the early 1960's, American film-makers began to change many traditional elements of Westerns. One major change was the increasingly positive representation of Native Americans who had been treated as "savages" in earlier films. Another example is Spaghetti westerns, Spaghetti westerns first came during the 1960's and 1970's, The changes were a new European, larger-than-life visual style, a harsher, more violent depiction of frontier life, choreographed gunfights and wide-screen close-ups.

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