MYTHOLOGICAL HISTORICISM AND ALTERNATIVE WESTERNS

   No matter how much a director of alternative Westernsmay want to counter images, themes, and even cliches of classic Westerns, the cultural accoutrements of a century-long film tradition remains. Armando Pratt refers to this fact as mythological historicism. Films such as Dances with Wolves (1990), The Last of the Mohicans (1992), and Geronimo:An American Legend(1993) “produce not so much a new Indian as an updated version.” No matter what one does, “the Indian, whom revision would present as an authentic historical person, still complies with the demand of the mythology of conquest” (Pratt cited in Cawelti 1999, 107). Despite all efforts to portray Native Americans authentically, in each of these films a sympathetic white character is necessary in order to validate Native pride.
   See also INDIANS.

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

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  • ALTERNATIVE WESTERNS —    The Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, the American Indian movement, and other historical events of the 1960s and 1970s brought paradigmatic changes in American culture that affected every form of art and… …   Westerns in Cinema

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