2152: "Westerns"

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Pfhorrest
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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed May 22, 2019 3:17 am UTC

Heimhenge wrote:Well I grew up in the middle of the Midwest (Wisconsin). When we traveled west from there, we didn't really feel like we were in the "west" until the terrain and flora started changing ... somewhere in the Dakotas. But Wiki disagrees with that:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midwestern_United_States


I took a road trip from southern California to Illinois almost exactly a decade ago (May 2009), and remarked on how suddenly different everything looked when we hit Iowa. Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado all looked like they could be anywhere in the inland deserts and/or mountains of California, and Nebraska looked like it could have been any stretch of farm country in the Central Valley (of California) except for the lack of any mountains in the distance, but when we hit Iowa suddenly there's... green, lush lawn in the median of the highway? What? I mean in springtime around here things get green for a while even just along the roadsides but it's tall wild grasses and wildflowers and chaparral, not just this short, dense grass that looks like someone waters it every day. It was really clear how much more it must rain back there than it does anywhere west of there.
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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby dtilque » Wed May 22, 2019 10:32 am UTC

I've never seen the movie Last of the Mohicans, so I'll take everyone's word that it's not a Western. I was taking about Cooper's Natty Bumppo books. Those could arguably be called Westerns. Proto-Westerns, perhaps, since they obviously didn't have many of the tropes we associate with Westerns.

As far as the Mountain Man era, I put that starting in 1806 because that's the year Lewis and Clark paid off John Colter (the real-life OG Mountain Man) on the way back to St Louis so he could go west with a couple other guys to do fur trapping. OK, Mountain Men and the stories told about them still don't have all the Western tropes, but they're getting there.
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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby DavidSh » Wed May 22, 2019 1:24 pm UTC

Last of the Mohicans is northern frontier, not western frontier, strictly speaking. Only a New Englander would count the corridor between Albany and Montreal as "western".

On the other hand, one of the Natty Bumpo stories, The Prairie, is set in the lands of the Louisiana Purchase. Kansas, approximately.

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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby cellocgw » Wed May 22, 2019 1:55 pm UTC

The DefinitiveDefinition(tm) of East v. West in the USA is this:

East is east and west is west
And the wrong one I have chose
Let's go where I'll keep on wearin'
Those frills and flowers and buttons and bows
Rings and things and buttons and bows
Don't bury me in this prairie
Take me where the cement grows
Let's move down to some big town
Where they love a gal by the cut of her clothes
And I'll stand out in buttons and bows
I'll love you in buckskin
Or skirts that I've homespun
But I'll love you longer, stronger where
Your friends don't tote a gun
My bones denounce the buckboard bounce
And the cactus hurts my toes
Let's vamoose where gals keep usin'
Those silks and satins and linen that shows
And I'm all yours in buttons and bows
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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby DanD » Wed May 22, 2019 3:16 pm UTC

GlassHouses wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:You're switching definition of "western" inappropriately. Gaul was once the western frontier (of the roman empire), but nobody is saying that Asterix comic books are in the "Western" genre.

The frontier moved. When you change both the time and place, you change the setting to.

What, proof by exaggeration? I'm not talking about ancient Europe. The Last of the Mohicans takes place on what was then the western frontier of the American colonies. Just because most "western" movies take place a bit further west, TLotM is not a Western? Now *that* sounds like arbitrary shifting of goalposts.


Mountain men trapped and hunted. Westerns mined, raised cattle. Both had farms, but the scale is different (as it still is), mountain men had small plots and rocks were the problem. Westerns had large fields and water was the problem. Mountain men navigated wilderness, and the terrain was the difficulty in getting places. Westerns navigated wide open prairies, and distance (and again water) were the difficulty in getting places.

And yes, all of that is stereotypes. The Rockies had plenty of hunting and trapping and forests, and the Mississippi plains had large farms. But stereotypes are what define the genre, and those two are separate.

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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Wed May 22, 2019 3:27 pm UTC

GlassHouses wrote:What, proof by exaggeration?
Well yes. We keep the idea of "western frontier of our civilization", change other things to extremes, and see the result is not obviously the same.

This (of course) doesn't prove that "western frontier" isn't relevant, it only proves that "western frontier" isn't the only thing that's relevant or sufficient to make a story a "western".

Last of the Mohicans is set in a different century, different nation, different biome, with a different aesthetic, thousands of miles away, involving very different native American tribes, and has different themes than a typical "western". It is a much better fit for "Western" than Asterix, but both stories are alike in that we can draw analogues with "westerns", but we can't properly call either a member of the genre.
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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby Reka » Wed May 22, 2019 8:36 pm UTC

GlassHouses wrote:Just because most "western" movies take place a bit further west, TLotM is not a Western?

LotM is, in fact, not a Western. So what was your point again?

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da Doctah
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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby da Doctah » Wed May 22, 2019 10:05 pm UTC

Doesn't most of the first volume of Lord of the Rings take place in Gondor, which is the western part of the continent? And doesn't that make The Fellowship of the Ring a Western?

Heck, Aragorn is even called "Ranger".

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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed May 22, 2019 11:41 pm UTC

Gondor is in the south east of the map of “the west”, next to Mordor. Its fallen sister kingdom of Arnor was in the northwest.

But the language everyone is speaking that gets rendered as English for the audience is actually called Westron, so...
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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby rmsgrey » Thu May 23, 2019 12:09 am UTC

da Doctah wrote:Doesn't most of the first volume of Lord of the Rings take place in Gondor, which is the western part of the continent? And doesn't that make The Fellowship of the Ring a Western?

Heck, Aragorn is even called "Ranger".


A) The earliest anyone enters Gondor is when Sam and Frodo enter Ithilien in the middle of Book 4, though you could make a case for the Fellowship entering territory that was once held by Gondor upon emerging from Moria early in Book 2, or when, late in Book 2, they pass the Argonath, which used to mark the border of Gondor. The majority of the first volume (everything up until the Fellowship enters Moria) is spent in Eriador, which used to be part of the Kingdom of Arnor. Book 3 is spent entirely within the borders of Rohan (historically part of Gondor), while Book 4 is spent in the Brown Lands, Emyn Muil and ithilien, ending at the borders of Mordor. Book 5 is spent mostly in Gondor, with a little in Rohan early on, and a little at the end in the Morannon, and Book 6 starts in Mordor, but passes through or by most places.

B) The entirety of LotR does indeed take place in the (North-)West of Middle Earth.

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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby DavidSh » Thu May 23, 2019 12:09 am UTC

Bah. In Lord of the Rings, true Westernesse is that island in the western sea that sank beneath the waves near the end of the Second Age. Also sometimes called Numenor.

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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby wumpus » Sun May 26, 2019 1:37 am UTC

da Doctah wrote:Doesn't most of the first volume of Lord of the Rings take place in Gondor, which is the western part of the continent? And doesn't that make The Fellowship of the Ring a Western?

Heck, Aragorn is even called "Ranger".


Fundamentally Lord of the Rings was specifically medieval, and was primarily centered on the idea that the land was ancient and full of the history of the Rangers and men of Gondor.

Westerns are all about exploring and taming new lands, not old. The Rangers, men of Gondor, and hobbits couldn't possibly see it as a Western.

Of course the elves and native Americans would probably see Lord of the Rings as a Western, and point out how the original inhabitants are getting squeezed out of their homeland (the steady pace of the settlers across the West is built into the Western. The fate of the original inhabitants is a Western trope, but not necessary). But that might require the seeing history from immortal eyes to compare the sweeping changes from the Second to Fourth age vs. the ~40 year era of the Old West.

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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Tue May 28, 2019 2:49 pm UTC

Unfortunate implications of the Middle Earth. Also, it's called "middle", so I'll assume it's not in the east or the west.
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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby Sableagle » Tue May 28, 2019 4:46 pm UTC

wumpus wrote:Of course the elves and native Americans would probably see Lord of the Rings as a Western, and point out how the original inhabitants are getting squeezed out of their homeland (the steady pace of the settlers across the West is built into the Western. The fate of the original inhabitants is a Western trope, but not necessary).
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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby ijuin » Tue May 28, 2019 8:42 pm UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:Unfortunate implications of the Middle Earth. Also, it's called "middle", so I'll assume it's not in the east or the west.


Just like how the “middle-earth” sea (Mediterranean) is not in the east or west?

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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue May 28, 2019 8:53 pm UTC

There are (or at least were) continents to the east and west of Endor, which is why it's called that (and translated into Westron [and thence English] as "Middle-Earth").
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Re: 2152: "Westerns"

Postby mihipte » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:02 am UTC

dtilque wrote:
wumpus wrote:
dtilque wrote: The period in question should start no later than 1806 or so, when the mountain men era began,


The Mountain Man era simply doesn't fit the "Old West" genre.


Maybe not technically, but the average person would likely say a movie about them was a Western.
Reruns of the Daniel Boone series with Fess Parker ran in the same TV programming batch as "Westerns" while I grew up, and yep it was lumped in with them. It's an uncomfortable fit, but there aren't enough Appalachian frontier shows to conceive a category for them. And the things that make one appealing mostly apply to the other just as well.


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