In his frontier thesis, Frederick Jackson Turner famously declared that the frontier was officially closed by 1890. Indeed, after the last major historical event of the old West, the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889, most Westerners believed the West to be crowded and finally settled. Almost immediately a sense of nostalgia developed, and it became important for America’s collective cultural consciousness that the myth of the West be preserved. The days of covered wagons were no more. Indian Territory, for years a notorious “no man’s land,” was now settled. North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Montana became states in 1889. Geronimo was safely on a reservation, and while there would still be problems with Native Americans into the 1890s, nevertheless, by 1890 “the Western hero was safely down on paper” (Calder 1975, 6).

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

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