Riding the Video Range: The Rise and Fall of the Western on Television
- Publish Date: 1995-04-14
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Gary A. Yoggy
In June 1949, Hopalong Cassidy. Then Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger, Zorro, Davy Crockett, the Cisco Kid, Matt Dillon, Bat Masterson, the Cartwrights, Hec Ramsey, Paladin (Have Gun Will Travel)--no television genre has generated as many enduring characters as the Western. Gunsmoke, Death Valley Days, Bonanza, Maverick, and Wagon Train are just a few of the small-screen oaters that became instant classics. Recent years have seen a resurgence, with shows such as Lonesome Dove and The Young Riders updating and redefining the genre for a modern audience. Though the characters were different, Western shows format often fell into one of several broad categories: marshals, sheriffs and other lawmen, wagon trains, cattle drives and ranchers, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns, and even spoofs. Arranged by categories, over 150 television Westerns are analyzed here, focusing on the characters, stories and why the shows succeeded or failed. How Native Americans have been portrayed is examined, as are such phenomena as single parent families (in shows such as The Big Valley, The Rifleman and Bonanza), women, Asians and blacks.