The "Wild West" Uncovered
In this thesis, I will look at the process of constructing the romanticization of the American West between 1850-1900 to learn more about how the mythical “Wild West” came into being. The “Wild West” is usually one of the first aspects people will list when asked about the United States, and this is why it is in my opinion essential to the American narrative. One very important medium through which the public gets this mythical perspective of the Old West is through film. Therefore, I will analyze how the frontier myth is incorporated into the early 1990s blockbusters Dances with Wolves (1990), Unforgiven (1992), and Tombstone (1993). Following a New Historicist approach, I will learn that these films do not only perpetuate the frontier myth, but at the same I will find that they are products of the time period they were made in as they are much more critical of this exact same myth in the sense that they challenge key components of the frontier myth; such as masculinity, violence, and ecological imperialism.
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