American frontier  

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"Westerns lost their appeal in the seventies with the emergence of the younger "New Hollywood" audience, who were in the process of revising long held legends of the American west. A number of Westerns made in the seventies, are, as a result, definitely not conventional re-tellings of heroism and the taming of the American frontier. Instead, they make a new space for themselves which allows little room for the glorification of violence, the genocide of the American Indian, stultifying gender roles, or a style of myth-making that has little to do with the reality of a hard scrabble life lived on the borders of civilisation." --Sholem Stein

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The American frontier comprises the geography, history, folklore, and cultural expression of life in the forward wave of American expansion that began with English colonial settlements in the early 17th century and ended with the admission of the last remaining western territories as states in 1959. This era of massive migration and settlement was particularly encouraged by President Thomas Jefferson following the Louisiana Purchase, giving rise to the expansionist philosophy known as "Manifest destiny".

In 19th- and early 20th-century media, enormous popular attention was focused on the Western United States in the second half of the 19th century, from the 1860s to the 1890s, a period sometimes called the "Old West" or the "Wild West". Such media typically exaggerated the romance, anarchy, and chaotic violence of the period for greater dramatic effect. This eventually inspired the Western genre of film, which spilled over into television shows, novels, and comic books, as well as children's toys, games and costumes.

As the American frontier passed into history, the myths of the West in fiction and film took a firm hold in the imagination of Americans and foreigners alike. In David Murdoch's view, America is exceptional in choosing its iconic self-image: "No other nation has taken a time and place from its past and produced a construct of the imagination equal to America's creation of the West."

See also

  • Cowboy action shooting is a competitive shooting sport which originated in the early 1980s that requires shooters to compete using firearms typical of the mid-to-late 19th century including single action revolvers, lever action rifles (chambered in pistol calibers) and side by side double barrel shotguns or pump action shotguns with external hammers.
  • Cowboy hat
  • Boss of the plains
  • Historical reenactment : an activity in which participants recreate some aspects of a historical event or period.
  • National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum : museum and art gallery, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, housing one of the largest collections in the world of Western, American cowboy, American rodeo, and American Indian art, artifacts, and archival materials.
  • Reno Gang : Southern Indiana post civil war gang. First Train Robbers in US History. 10 members lynched by vigilante mob in 1868.
  • Rodeo : demonstration of cattle wrangling skills.
  • The Oregon-California Trails Association preserves, protects and shares the histories of emigrants who followed these trails westward.
  • Wanted poster : a poster, popular in mythic scenes of the west, let the public know of criminals whom authorities wish to apprehend.
  • Wild West Shows : a following of the wild west shows of the American frontier.
  • The West As America

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "American frontier" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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