Western - How To Improvise

Western"This town ain't big enough for the both of us."
—Western Cliché


Films about the trail to colonize the American West and the almost lawless state it created. One of the oldest genres, but core locations, scenarios, archetypes and ideas have remained constant.


  • Instantly recognizable through locations, clothing, music and even the way people stand.
  • Times are tense and a brawl or gunfight is just around the corner.
  • General lawlessness, especially outside of towns and even in the towns, but there are still good, honest souls to be found even in these times.
  • Often good and bad are obvious with Villains wearing black hats and Goodies wearing white.


WhereAmerican West.
Locations: ranch; saloon bar; brothel; reservation; sheriff’s office and jail; ghost town; bank; baddies’s hideaway; gold mine; prarie; wagon train.
When 1800s.
Includes civil war and gold rush eras.
WhoCowboy / rancher; outlaw / bandit / rustler; madam / whore, barman, sheriff, deputy, mayor, widowed mother and children; Native American Indian (friendly or hostile): chief, medicine man; Mexican; Man with No Name; god-fearing wife; undertaker; gold prospector. Also: posse member, pianist, card player, townsfolk. Native American names are poetically descriptive, such as Runs with Foxes or Hunts with the Wind .
WhatRiding horses and carriages; rounding up a cattle, cattle rustling, bank robberies, hanging up wanted posters; gathering up a posse; hiding out; lynchings; gun fights / duels / show-downs, bar fights; rodeos; sitting, eating and singing round campfire; playing cards; sliding drinks along the bar; villain tying girls to railway tracks; drawing up one-sided pacts with the Native Americans; siestas.

Examples (from Amazon)