The Western is a genre of film that depicts the American Old West and embodies the spirit and struggle of the new frontier. Westerns often centered around semi-nomadic heroes, such as cowboys or outlaws, in a setting that juxtaposed the harsh landscape of the western frontier with the encroaching presence of American settlers at a time of major transition.

Common conventions of the Western genre include the desert frontier, morally ambiguous characters, gun fights, bar fights, Native Americans and horses. Westerns deal with themes of morality, law, and codes of honor amongst the harsh and ultimately lawless frontier. Films set elsewhere will often borrow these conventions and themes, bringing Western stories out of the western time period.

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