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Video Review - American Heroes Channel - The Cowboy

The Cowboy

Release date: January 23, 2016


"THE COWBOY is a dynamic celebration of the most beloved American icon. These two hour-long specials tell the tale of the Old West through the lens of historians, renowned actors, directors, producers, and cinematographers —including Bruce Dern, Seth MacFarlane, Adam Beach, Anson Mount and Ben Mankiewicz—as well as real-life cowboys and modern-day Western figures. Featuring original interviews with those inspired by the legends and lore presented in iconic moments from classic and contemporary Western films, on-set and on-the-range footage all set to a classic Cowboy score, THE COWBOY explores the significance of what it meant to be this virtuous embodiment of the American character—and harkens back to the spirit that this way of life captured."


A Cowboy was a term for someone causing trouble and who led a hard life but Hollywood changed that. They made them more romantic and heroic.

A cowboy's job was tough - they worked in all sorts of weather (good and bad), they had to cross rivers, the dealt with harsh landscapes, unruly cattle and horses, illness

Mid-19th century was the dawn of the media age when news reported westward expansion.

First official western movie was "The Great Train Robbery" of 1903. It was ten minutes long and actually shot in New Jersey.

Movies hired out-of-work cowboys since professional stuntmen didn't exist yet.

Wyatt Earp visited John Ford's sets and talked to John Wayne.

"The Virginian" (1929) was the first grown-up western with sound

"The Big Trail" starred John Wayne but was a box office disaster

John Wayne's movies made cowboys icons/heroes giving up the "wild life"

1950s saw a slew of quirky western television shows (The Lone Ranger, Bonanza, etc)

Cowboys rarely marry the girl in television, capitalizing on the myth that they are loners

By the 1960s, big westerns are on the decline

"The Magnificent Seven" - a movie where even the bad guys can rise to hero-level status

Late 1960s/1970's, westerns became violent

"Butch Cassidy" movie, everyone dies

I didn't find a video on the American Heroes Channel but it might be out there on YouTube. Otherwise, you can purchase it on Amazon:

Link to the Episode on AHC site

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