Author Topic: Discussion: Most "Accurate" Western Movies  (Read 601 times)

Offline Coal Creek Griff

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 2079
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 636
Discussion: Most "Accurate" Western Movies
« on: January 27, 2024, 03:41:56 PM »
It’s kind of an idle mental discussion, but I thought that it might be interesting.

I was suffering from a bout of insomnia recently and I was thinking through the western movies that I know and trying to decide which are the most “accurate”.  Of course, “accurate” can be hard to define, but I was thinking in terms of clothing/equipment as well as attitudes and behavior of the characters.  For example, there are some western movies from, say the 1960s, where the characters have definitely ‘60s attitudes and perspectives which would have been unthinkable in the 1880s.  There are many fine western movies where the female characters wear men’s clothes (e.g. trousers) without comment, when in reality it would have been considered at least scandalous and morally corrupt if not illegal.  And, of course, we all know the movies set in the 1860s when the characters are using 1890s-era firearms.

Some excellent movies combine many aspects that are not historically accurate.  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid comes to mind: clothing wrong, gunleather wrong, hairstyles wrong and attitudes most certainly wrong.  It’s a fun movie, but wouldn’t make my list of “accurate”.

Movies, by nature, often include events or characters which would be at least highly unlikely, but a truly, completely accurate film would probably be rather boring – farmers farming, cowboys cowboying, lawmen rattling doorknobs at night.  We have to allow the film makers the opportunity to “spice it up” a little to add interest.

With all of that in mind, what would you suggest as being some of the most “accurate” western films?  Here are a few that I came up with.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford with Brad Pitt.  They seemed to try hard to capture the feel of the time, even showing how cold it could be inside a house in the winter time.  I’m not usually a huge Brad Pitt fan, but I thought that his portrayal of Jesse James was chilling.

Will Penny with Charlton Heston seems fairly accurate (except for the roving family of psychotic, Bible quoting killers).  Again, I have to give the film makers some license in making an interesting story.

The Big Trail with John Wayne.  Certainly, the wagon train portions are pretty impressive in capturing what it must have been like.  Most of the weapons and equipment seem correct to the time period.  The clothing and styles seem right, for example the married women wear their hair up and don’t wear trousers.

Conagher with Sam Elliott seems like a possibility.  The characters and pacing seem right, as does the plot of the woman and children being stranded with the unexpected death of the husband/father.  Again, I have to excuse a few attitudes; when the bad guys have a chance to kill the hero, they decide to let him live and instead leave the area because they have so much respect for him.  I suspect that bad guys in the old west would have taken advantage of the opportunity, but it kind of ruins the movie if the hero dies halfway through the story.  Katherine Ross wears the wrong hairstyle, I believe, and I don't think that she would be so quick to enter a saloon as portrayed at the end of the film.  Overall, though, I feel that it ranks pretty highly.

There must be more, but these come to mind immediately.  What other westerns would you consider to be particularly “accurate” in some way?

Oddly, a few days after I was thinking about this, Google suggested an article on nearly the same subject.  Frankly I haven’t really read the article, but I was interested to scroll down through the movies that they suggested.  There is a little overlap with my short list above and I don’t necessarily agree with all of their choices, but I’ll include the link for interest: https://movieweb.com/western-movies-historically-accurate/#mccabe-amp-mrs-miller-1971

Hopefully some of you have suggestions -- maybe we'll find out about movies that we haven't seen!

Griff
Manager, WT Ranch--Coal Creek Division

BOLD #921
BOSS #196
1860 Henry Rifle Shooter #173
SSS #573

Offline Major 2

  • "Still running against the wind"
  • Deputy Marshal
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 15882
  • NCOWS #: 3032
  • GAF #: 785
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 422
Re: Discussion: Most "Accurate" Western Movies
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2024, 04:32:13 PM »
True Grit, the one by the Coen Brothers
when planets align...do the deal !

Offline Coal Creek Griff

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 2079
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 636
Re: Discussion: Most "Accurate" Western Movies
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2024, 04:59:11 PM »
True Grit, the one by the Coen Brothers

That's a good one.  I should probably have included Tombstone too; they certainly made an effort with costumes and props as well as dialogue, although the attitudes of the "Josie" character seem anachronistic to me.

Griff
Manager, WT Ranch--Coal Creek Division

BOLD #921
BOSS #196
1860 Henry Rifle Shooter #173
SSS #573

Advertising

  • Guest
Re: Discussion: Most "Accurate" Western Movies
« Reply #3 on: Today at 10:17:50 AM »

Offline River City John

  • NCOWS Senator
  • NCOWS Member
  • Top Active Citizen
  • ***
  • Posts: 4415
  • Mr. & Mrs. John Covert
  • NCOWS #: L-146
  • GAF #: 275
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 470
Re: Discussion: Most "Accurate" Western Movies
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2024, 06:13:28 PM »
"The Long Riders" was a good one, too.
"I was born by the river in a little tent, and just like the river I've been running ever since." - Sam Cooke
"He who will not look backward with reverence, will not look forward with hope." - Edmund Burke
". . .freedom is not everything or the only thing, perhaps we will put that discovery behind us and comprehend, before it's too late, that without freedom all else is nothing."- G. Warren Nutter
NCOWS #L146
GAF #275

Offline Black River Smith

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 1185
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 39
Re: Discussion: Most "Accurate" Western Movies
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2024, 08:33:19 PM »
For me it would be:

The Missouri Breaks

Geronimo

Lonesome Dove

Unforgiven - (not the best as a likely story line)

Riders of the Purple Sage -  Very good all the way around

For Characters, clothing and accessories
Black River Smith

Offline Coal Creek Griff

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 2079
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 636
Re: Discussion: Most "Accurate" Western Movies
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2024, 08:53:02 PM »
Those are some excellent suggestions.

Black River Smith, which version of Riders of the Purple Sage is best?

Griff
Manager, WT Ranch--Coal Creek Division

BOLD #921
BOSS #196
1860 Henry Rifle Shooter #173
SSS #573

Offline Niederlander

  • American Plainsmen Society
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 3105
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Discussion: Most "Accurate" Western Movies
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2024, 12:02:05 PM »
I thought Kevin Costner's Wyatt Earp did pretty well, for an Earp movie especially.  Conagher was good.  I thought Open Range was quite good, too.
"There go those Nebraskans, and all hell couldn't stop them!"

Offline Black River Smith

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 1185
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 39
Re: Discussion: Most "Accurate" Western Movies
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2024, 12:30:16 PM »
Those are some excellent suggestions.

Black River Smith, which version of Riders of the Purple Sage is best?

Griff

Griff,

The only version I have seen is with Ed Harris as the main character.  Produced in 1995.

Last night after posting, I came up with another type/movie I really like for all around details.

Ride with the Devil  ----- With Toby Maguire and Jewel produced in 1999.


And also thanks for the comment.  I like Westerns....
Black River Smith

Offline Major 2

  • "Still running against the wind"
  • Deputy Marshal
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 15882
  • NCOWS #: 3032
  • GAF #: 785
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 422
Re: Discussion: Most "Accurate" Western Movies
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2024, 01:20:36 PM »
Not exactly a Western (Eastern ?)  or mid-Eastern it was filmed in Romania. :-X
Hatfield & McCoy's (Costner's) aside from the brass framed Remington's (which also plagues "Ride with the Devil" ...
Interesting point about "Ride with the Devil" several of us tried to convince Ang Lee the Brass Remington's were incorrect (one of the reasons we were hired was our period knowledge).
However, he said he liked the way they stood out, siding with the DP over the Art Dept.
Even some the Reenactors brought it up and offered their personal arms, only to be ignored.

Another Eastern? Last of The Mohican's Daniel Day Lewis
when planets align...do the deal !

Offline Niederlander

  • American Plainsmen Society
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 3105
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Discussion: Most "Accurate" Western Movies
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2024, 05:36:23 PM »
I LOVED Last of the Mohicans!
"There go those Nebraskans, and all hell couldn't stop them!"

Offline River City John

  • NCOWS Senator
  • NCOWS Member
  • Top Active Citizen
  • ***
  • Posts: 4415
  • Mr. & Mrs. John Covert
  • NCOWS #: L-146
  • GAF #: 275
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 470
Re: Discussion: Most "Accurate" Western Movies
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2024, 10:43:10 PM »
Not exactly a Western (Eastern ?)  or mid-Eastern it was filmed in Romania. :-X
Hatfield & McCoy's (Costner's) aside from the brass framed Remington's (which also plagues "Ride with the Devil" ...
Interesting point about "Ride with the Devil" several of us tried to convince Ang Lee the Brass Remington's were incorrect (one of the reasons we were hired was our period knowledge).
However, he said he liked the way they stood out, siding with the DP over the Art Dept.
Even some the Reenactors brought it up and offered their personal arms, only to be ignored.



And yet they got the little detail of guerrillas turning the "US" belt plate upside down if worn.
"I was born by the river in a little tent, and just like the river I've been running ever since." - Sam Cooke
"He who will not look backward with reverence, will not look forward with hope." - Edmund Burke
". . .freedom is not everything or the only thing, perhaps we will put that discovery behind us and comprehend, before it's too late, that without freedom all else is nothing."- G. Warren Nutter
NCOWS #L146
GAF #275

Offline Black River Smith

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 1185
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 39
Re: Discussion: Most "Accurate" Western Movies
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2024, 08:26:22 PM »
Interesting point about "Ride with the Devil" several of us tried to convince Ang Lee the Brass Remington's were incorrect (one of the reasons we were hired was our period knowledge).
However, he said he liked the way they stood out, siding with the DP over the Art Dept.
Even some the Reenactors brought it up and offered their personal arms, only to be ignored.

I can agree with you and 'know' that you would 'know' these details .... But I still like it, for what it was.


"Last of the Mohican's" --- Truly Truly -- I forget that one  -- OH so True.
Black River Smith

 

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk

© 1995 - 2023 CAScity.com