The earliest cinema Westerns usually developed conflict around outlaws and law-abiding citizens. By the mid-20th century, though, conflict more often came in response to a common enemy—usually Indians. Beginning in the 1960s, the common enemy in most Western plots became Mexicans. Because the Western mythis about unity and equality among whites, someone, somewhere must serve as the foil, savage and uncivilized. Indian bashing is no longer acceptable in American culture, but Hispanics have remained eligible for any kind of derision. Occasionally, Mexican characters of such films as The Magnificent Seven(1960), Bandolero!(1968), and The Wild Bunch (1969) achieve normative status.
   See also INDIANS.

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

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