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The Great American Westerns Still Blazing Trails In Americas Heart

Jan 10, 2008
From the very beginnings of movie making and television broadcasting one of the most popular kinds of shows were western themed. Early stars like Tom Mix, Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers, among others were big drawing cards at the box office.

People loved to watch them and the action packed scenes. Some of those early films are still watched today by those who like classic movies.

By the time the 1950's and 60's rolled around, western television shows were very big. There was The Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, Wild, Wild West, Wagon Train, Maverick, Gun Smoke, Branded, even the comedy, F Troop Young boys were especially great fans of these shows.

Some of them ran for a long time. Gun Smoke for example, started with a radio version and ran from 1952 until 1961, was considered one of the drama radio shows ever. He television series of Gun Smoke ran from 1955 until 1975, and is one of the longest running drama television series. Many of these programs can still be seen in rerun on cable or satellite channels.

As popular as the television western shows were, the big screen western stars were about make some great and unforgettable western movies as well. John Wayne started his career in the 1920's in silent films. He really became well know because of his western movies starting in 1939 when he made Stage Coach.

From then on he starred in many films, including dramas set in modern day and war films. He will always be most loved and remembered for his cowboy persona in films like True Grit, Sons of Katie Elder, Rooster Cogburn, and many, many more.

Along with John Wayne, came a lanky cowboy star named Clint Eastwood. He appeared in the television series Raw Hide, but went on to become a western film star that could rival John Wayne in the 1960's. In films like The Good, Bad, and Ugly, Fist Full of Dollars, A Few Dollars More, Two Mules for Sister Sarah, High Plains Drifter, and in 1976, The Outlaw Josey Wales he made his first real mark in movies.

It was during the 70's that he made films about Dirty Harry and other criminal hunting movies set in modern day situations that gained him even more acclaim. Other movies like Sudden Impact, Magnum Force, and The Enforcer were all movies he is remembered for.

He did comedy as well in The Every Which Way but Loose film and two of its sequels. Today he is still acting, but is one of our best known movie directors too.

Although there have been a few notable westerns that have been made in recent years like Young Guns, The Lonesome Dove series, and Dances with Wolves, they have not continued to be made regularly like in years gone by.
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