One of the most common motifs in Western as well as mainstream fiction, the communityversus-individual theme pervades cinema Westerns even more than Western novels: “Among film makers—and it is easier on film— John Ford has an unrivalled ability to make us see the individual within the collective, and the collective beyond the individual” (Calder 1975, 5). Stagecoach (1939), for example, presents a collection of individuals isolated from their communal ties as they make the desperate trek to Lordsburg. Through the course of the film, these individuals must construct their own communal ties within the small group on the stagecoach.

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

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