Since I'm interested in the True West, most people assume that I have no interest in the West of the Imagination. This is simply not true - I love them both. As I grew older and wiser I learned there was a difference, but both have a place for me in my heart and in my mind.
Like most people my age, I grew up with Sunday afternoon movies that featured John Wayne. I've since revisited some of those movies, now that I'm older and wiser, and while I know that Texas doesn't look like Monument Valley, I'm willing to let it go. And by the way, if you think all John Wayne movies are the same, I suggest that you look again. Yes, some are outrageous and goofy, but some really do help paint a picture of the real West, such as "The Searchers". This one is actually fairly painful.
For me though, the West of the Imagination hit its peak with "The Wild Wild West" which I watched as a kid. And even then I knew it was exaggerated, but I didn't care, and still don't. I moved onto Clint Eastwood's "Spaghetti Westerns" and even learned a bit about the real West, and how a territory becomes a state by watching "Hang 'em High". Yes, I know that these movies aren't meant to portray the real West like a documentary does, but there's a lot of good stuff there.
If you know how colorful the Victorian era was, you can appreciate the TV show "Bonanza". Yes, that show was meant to showcase the new technology of color TVs, but it's actually historically accurate. The Victorian era was an explosion of color, made possible by the industrial revolution, which made mass produced products, including dyes, affordable to ordinary people. And the Cartwrights would have had the money to buy some nice stuff!
So please don't walk up to me and tell me that all of my favorite Westerns aren't 100% historically accurate. I know that, and I don't care. I love the True West, and the West of the Imagination!
Let's head 'em off at the pass!
Image at the top of this post: John Wayne in the West of the Imagination in 1956 - The Searchers. https://www.amazon.com/Searchers-John-Wayne/dp/B001QJUX24
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