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Old February 10th, 2012, 09:13 AM   #1

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Most Realistic Western


What's the most realistic Western movie? Apparently Hollywood likes to emphasise the Indian threat and in 1849 the initial forty niners for the California Goldrush only encountered friendly Native Americans. The few scrapes which did happen were with some of the more obscure tribes which not many people have heard of, not the Apaches/Comanches etc.

Supposedly it was after the Civil War that the reduction of the Native Americans became more of a priority due to the US Army being free to secure the new territories.

So, with this in mind, does anyone know a historically accurate Western movie? Or are the majority of them glamorised?


BBC - BBC Radio 4 Programmes - In Our Time, Custer's Last Stand

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Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custer's Last Stand.
In 1876 a dispute between the American federal government and Native Americans over land rights led to an armed conflict now known as the Great Sioux War. An expeditionary federal force was sent out to coerce the Native Americans into reservations, and away from the gold reserves recently discovered in their traditional homelands.
One of the officers in this expeditionary force was a Civil War hero, George Custer. While en route to his arranged rendezvous, Custer unexpectedly encountered a large group of Sioux and Cheyenne warriors. Disobeying orders, he decided to attack. Barely half an hour later, he and all 200 of his men lay dead. Custer's Last Stand has become one of the most famous and closely studied military engagements in American history.
With:
Kathleen Burk
Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at University College, London
Adam Smith
Senior Lecturer in American History at University College London
Saul David
Professor of War Studies at the University of Buckingham.
Producer: Thomas Morris.
http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/...0519-1030b.mp3




BBC - BBC Radio 4 Programmes - In Our Time, The American West

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Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the myths and harsh reality of the 19th century American pioneers. In 1845 the editor of The New York Morning News wrote that it was the "manifest destiny" of the United States "to overspread and to posses the whole of the continent which providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us."
With such phrases ringing in their ears the pioneering wagon trains rolled west into the uncharted wilderness of the American continent. Thus began the wagon trails that cut a path beyond the frontier to California and Oregon, a path soon to be followed by gold prospectors, entrepreneurs, cowboys and finally the US army itself.
But what propelled them all to go? Was it an "experiment of liberty", or the promise of a better life? Does the story of the frontier help us to understand the American psyche and do our ideas about the American West owe more to the mythology of John Wayne movies than to the history of the real trailblazers?
With Frank McLynn, Visiting Professor in the Department of Literature, University of Strathclyde; Jenni Calder, Author of There Must Be a Lone Ranger: The myth and reality of the American Wild West; Christopher Frayling, Rector of the Royal College of Art.
http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/...0613-0900a.mp3

~EoR
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Old February 10th, 2012, 09:14 AM   #2

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Dances with Wolves, ofcourse.
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Old February 10th, 2012, 09:17 AM   #3

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And there's me thinking it was the one about the chap with a bad back on a mountain
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Old February 10th, 2012, 09:19 AM   #4

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But seriously, wasn't "Dances" one of the first westerns with actual Indians, speaking their actual languages and behaving like they - actually - would have done in real life?
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Old February 10th, 2012, 09:24 AM   #5

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Hard to nail down all four corners in what movie accurately depicts native Americans,
each will have some flaws or having the characters overshadowed by the white character.
But here is a quick list of some, at least, very well done movies:

Last of the Mohicans
A Man Called Horse
Jeremiah Johnson
Broken Arrow
The Searchers
Dances with Wolves
Black Robe
Nanook of the North
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Old February 10th, 2012, 09:33 AM   #6

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John Ford's She Wore A Yellow Ribbon depicts the life in the US Calvary at a outpost quite realistically.
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Old February 10th, 2012, 09:53 AM   #7

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I guess the white guy playing a Native American is no longer considered historically accurate Can't seem to find any movie screens unfortunately.

How it could ever be taken seriously I don't know... Makes for good non PC comedy though.

Thanks, I'll see if I can find some of these online.
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Old February 10th, 2012, 09:54 AM   #8

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Into the West (the TnT miniseries) wasn't bad for historical accuracy. Not my area of expertise, so I don't remember any glaring inaccuracies.
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Old February 10th, 2012, 09:54 AM   #9
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Check out Carry On Cowboy for a realistic depiction.
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Old February 10th, 2012, 10:01 AM   #10

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I seriously enjoyed Unforgiven. Not sure how realistic it was. Seemed good.
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