Question for all Old West buffs....

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by todd s, Jul 9, 2003.

  1. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 1999
    Messages:
    7,133
    Likes Received:
    75
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    I am curious as to when the "wild" west came to an end? What I mean is when the last of the old west style towns, people wearing sidearms and when the last of the Indian attacks. I ask this because of the new show Peacemakers coming out. It tagline is that the old west is coming to an end... It is supposed to be a CSI meets the old west.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The movie "The Wild Bunch" dealt with this very subject. It was the story of a gang of old time outlaws at the end of the "Wild West". I believe it was set sometime 1900-1910. The movie depicted cars replacing horses and many other "out with the old" themes. One very symbolic scene was of a gun battle pitting the six-shooters and winchesters of the gang vs. a modern machine gun. A very important movie that helped usher in a new level of violence and was one of the last great westerns before the modern resurgence (i.e Unforgiven).
     
  3. Jason Boucher

    Jason Boucher Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 1999
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid had the same theme. That's why they go to Bolivia, because the Old West is coming to an end (actually, law and order is coming to the west). Symbolic scene in that film is the introduction of the bicycle. Butch even throws the bicycle aside when they leave for Bolivia and says something to the effect, "You can keep the future for yourself." By the way, that was in 1902.
     
  4. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 1998
    Messages:
    8,991
    Likes Received:
    347
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    Real Name:
    Dennis
    You east-coasters ought to come out West and see for yourself. Heck I still pack my 6 gun on occasion. The last white lynching in the US took place right here in San Jose in the 1930's (The Hart kidknappers) http://www.santacruzpl.org/readyref/...-l/lynch.shtml . So there is still vigilante justice simmering under the surface here. Heck we are about to tar and feather our Governor Davis!
     
  5. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 1999
    Messages:
    7,133
    Likes Received:
    75
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Just bumping this up to see if anyone else knows anything more?
     
  6. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2000
    Messages:
    3,210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    There is also the "fiction becoming fact" problem.Cheap western novels became very popular in the mid to late 1800s. Many writers never left the East Coast and popularized misconceptions of the West.
    Wars tend to be great accelerators of society. They move vast numbers of people around that never left the farm, huge amounts of money which pays for things like jeeps and inventions and then get sold back to the public for surplus for pennies...etc etc.
    You could say the Civil War was the beginning of the end.
    World War I was the end.

    Gotta get the Extra big size ready for Arnie when he screws up!
     
  7. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 1998
    Messages:
    8,991
    Likes Received:
    347
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    Real Name:
    Dennis
    Hey I was right - we did tar and feather Gray Davis.
     
  8. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    8,311
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Joseph DeMartino
    By convention 1900 is pretty much accepted at the end of the "frontier", the leading edge of Euro-American civilization the gradually moved from east to west (taking the occasional break for war) from the 1700s onwards. For a long time there was a definable "edge" to this expansion, through the largely unexplored territory between the western-most American settlements and the recently-acquired Spanish lands of the Pacific coast. Once there was no longer a gap between California and the rest of the U.S., the "wild west" was already fading into legend. There were no longer large areas without civil government, at least rudimentary las enforcement and "respectable" women.

    There is a famous book written around 1900 that speaks of the closing of the frontier, and what this meant to the American psyche. The dime novelists of the mid 1800s certainly contributed their bit to the legends (as earlier cheap fiction had embellished the lives of Daniel Boone and Davey Crocket), but most of western fiction that established "the West" of myth and film only came into being after the frontier era was over. It was men like Buffalo Bill Cody and his "Wild West" shows, and plays depicting both the fall of the Alamo and Custer's Last Stand that created many of the cliches of the Western, like the high noon duel in the middle of a town's main street (of which there may not be a single document case) and the circled wagons fending off Indian attack. (One of the few such incidents involved white men disguised as Indians attacking a wagon train out of what amounted to greed and religious intolerance.)

    As with most such things there is no specific moment you can point to and say "This was the end", but 1900 is as good a point as any to say, "By this time what we think of as 'the wild west' no longer existed in most places." I suppose you could say the wild west didn't end until the last person who had personal recollections of it finally died, and that would put it fairly recently, if indeed it has ended.

    We tend to think of history as coming in neat little units, and forget that human lifespans are quite long enough to cover many different "eras". Men who were born when America was still a British colony lived to sit for photographs taken only a few years before the start of the Civil War. They went from the era of powdered wigs and knee breeches to an age when men dressed in clothes and wore haircuts hardly distinguishable from those of our own time. In the 1940s travellers to the Dakotas could still meet and talk to Sioux tribesman who had fought Custer.

    Wyatt Earp really did act as a technical advisor on Hollywood movies in the 20s and 30s. Earp's friend Bat Masterson was a sportswriter for a New York paper when he died sometime in the 30s. When I was a kid living in the Bronx we had a neighbor who had worked with Masterson, and kept pictures of the two of them in his living room. That's a straight line of only 4 people and 2 generations from Wyatt Earp to - me of all people. There's probably an old geezer in a nursing home somewhere who, as a five or six year old boy, witness all the excitement and heard all the gossip about the gunfight near the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. Maybe when he dies the West will be finished.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  9. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 1999
    Messages:
    7,133
    Likes Received:
    75
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Thanks Joe. The connections is what I was talking about. When my grandfather was a kid(in the mid 20's) he met someone who fought in the civil war. The guy was in his 80's. It is fascinating that we could speak to people who saw things we could only imagine from books and an occasional photo.
     
  10. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    8,311
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Joseph DeMartino
     
  11. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 1999
    Messages:
    1,609
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0


    This from the Nov 10, 2003 Washington Times:

    The Department of Veterans Affairs reports 26.4 million living American veterans from both war and peacetime periods. About 4.3 million of those are World War II veterans. Five children of Civil War veterans remained on the veterans compensation and pension rolls as of September. The last Civil War widow, Gertrude Janeway — Union — died Jan. 17 at age 93.
     
  12. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2000
    Messages:
    938
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    With appologies to historians, Custers defeat in 1876 was a pyrric victory for the plains Indians. The army made a concerted effort to round up tribes and move them to reservations. Campaings remained like the efforts to corral tribes in the Dakotas that lead the the massacre at Wounded Knee, and the campaign to remove the Nez Perce from valuable Oregon ag-land in the 1890's.

    Barbed wire fenced off the open range and the "wild" cattle towns gradually began to vote republican.

    The uniting of the costs by rail in 1869 ment there was no "frontier".

    As to WILD, guess the eastern pulp writers coined the phrase in the 19th centry.
     
  13. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 1999
    Messages:
    1,609
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Just as barbed wire helped change the physical landscape from "wild" to "controlled", the expansionist movement of the federal and state governments immediately following the civil war helped change the judicial/legislative environment of the frontier town.

    Not saying it was good or bad, but a strong government presence seems to bring a sense of "control".....
     
  14. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 1999
    Messages:
    7,133
    Likes Received:
    75
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Kirk,

    That is amazing to think that their are still people alive whose father's fought in the civil war.
     
  15. andrew markworthy

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 1999
    Messages:
    4,762
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Forgive a Brit for asking this, but wasn't the 'Wild' West a bit of a myth anyway? My understanding is that shootings in frontier towns were far rarer than is generally believed (and certainly far less common than in the established cities), cowboys (as opposed to farmhands) formed a tiny minority of the population, etc.
     
  16. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2000
    Messages:
    2,376
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    110
     
  17. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 1999
    Messages:
    1,609
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Andy brings up a great point about the comparison to the Prohibition era, another time sterotyped as "corrupt society out of control".

    Would be very interesting to get some statistics on the number of murders or acts of violence per capita during the 1800's vs the Prohibition of the 20's vs the current gang/drug wars of our inner cities.

    Baltimore averages over 1 murder per day. Think the Wild West was that bad ?
     

Share This Page