[[quoteright:307:[[Creator/BuffaloBill http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/buffalobill1_2700.jpg]] ]]
[[caption-width-right:307:And that's just what they could fit on the poster!]]

->''"I love the West. I read a lot about the West, and I'm shocked, I'm ashamed that in pictures they have not made the true story of the winning of the West--comprising 90 percent foreigners, 100 percent laborers, nothing to do with guns. Streets, mountains, roads, bridges, streams, forests--that's the winning of the West to me. Hard! Tremendous, tremendous fight. But [instead] we have, as you know, cowboys and Indians and all that."''
-->-- '''Creator/SamuelFuller''', director of three Westerns.

The American Old West was the land west of the Mississippi River roughly in or around the latter half of the nineteenth century; specifically we might start it at the California [[GoldFever Gold Rush]] of 1848 and end it at the U.S. Census Bureau's official recognition in 1890 [[EndOfAnAge of the end of the frontier]]. This setting is home to TheWestern, a definitively American genre almost as stylized and standardized as ''CommediaDellArte''. The Wild West is basically the ThemeParkVersion or fictionalization of this setting. It has its own set of specialized subtropes, including a wide assortment of [[WesternCharacters stock character types]] and its own specialized locations.

TheThemeParkVersion of the old west is a land of Indians, grizzled prospectors, scenic bluffs, Conestoga wagons, tough, shotgun-toting pioneers and buxom, be-feathered dance-hall girls. Also home to very lucrative [[SoftGlass sugar glass]] and balsa-wood chair industries, judging by the number of {{bar brawl}}s which occur during a single episode of a typical western series. [[{{Villains}} Bad guys]] and [[AntiHero anti-heroes]] wear black hats, good guys and sheriffs wear white hats, shootouts on Main Street occur with the frequency of at least one an hour--with the sun at high noon each time--and everyone drinks sarsaparilla or whiskey.

The real Old West was nothing like TheThemeParkVersion (which was originally the creation of 19th-century "dime novels"). There weren't any huge shootouts, quickdraw duels were rare, and gun duels and violent gun-wielding criminals weren't exclusive to desert-like "western" areas. Plus, since many guns were very inaccurate in those days, they sometimes tended to happen in significantly closer quarters than they do in fiction. The average Western town had 1.5 murders per year, and most of those weren't done with guns (due to the West having a relatively small population compared to the East). Carrying guns in these towns was more likely to get you arrested than shot, and you were much more likely to die from diseases like cholera, dysentery, and tuberculosis, or in an accident like being dragged by your own horse, than to be killed in a raging gunfight or get scalped by Indians. Although by means, it was still a lawless and violent era, with three major 19th-century American wars taking place in the frontier (the Mexican-American war, the Civil War and the American Indian Wars) and also other range wars, bandit attacks and feuds. Not to mention that courts were almost non-existent, so settlers substituted with vigilance committees, which were more focused on lynching people than doing any law practices. But overall, the Wild West was not so wild--it was actually more simple and boring, in fact.

See also TheWestern (the genre of works which largely take place in this setting). A popular subject of TheParody, and surprisingly popular outside America. Frequently overlaps with TheSavageSouth. DawnOfTheWildWest is a sub-trope set during the time period just before the Wild West. TwilightOfTheOldWest is about the dying embers of the Wild West flickering out during the early years of the NewOldWest. May overlap with SettlingTheFrontier. Largely occurs contemporaneously with TheGildedAge.
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!!Popular tropes from this time period are:
[[index]]
* AdventureTowns: Many towns were depicted as havens of debauchery.
* AntiHero: ...would draw before the villain.
* BadassBandolier: Especially during the Mexican Revolution.
* BadassBeard
* BadassLongcoat: One could argue this fashion arose from the long duster coats which were commonly worn in this period, and which mythical cowboys--and cool guys in general--have been wearing ever since.
* BadassMustache
* BanditClan: The Dalton gang and UsefulNotes/JesseJames had family members in them.
* BarBrawl
* BlackAndGrayMorality: The villains are usually ruthless, greedy and despicable characters. On the other hand the "heroes" are not exactly noble guys either. See AntiHero above.
* BlastingItOutOfTheirHands: Usually only when an unrealistically pure good guy is shooting.
* BoomTown: The gold rush created many towns raised in places where people presumably could find gold.
* BountyHunter: With so many outlaws being around some people made it a profession to track them down in order to get the reward for their capture.
* CardSharp: Some people were very good with cards, almost too good at times. If you were lucky you were just tarred and feathered for cheating.
* CaliforniaDoubling: The geography of the American West is varied, but most movies tend to take place in Monument Valley. {{Spaghetti Western}}s often used the Tabernas Desert in Andalusia, Spain to double for America.
* CoolGuns: The Colt M1873 and lever action rifle have acquired legendary status to present day.
* CoolTrain: So cool that if you find railroad clipart or caricatures, chances are, it's designed around the kind of trains used in the American West.
* CountryMusic: The genre originated here.
* CowboyEpisode: When TheWildWest seeps into a series that isn't TheWestern.
* CrapsackWorld: Rampant lawlessness. Constant war with Indians. Everyone carries guns. [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking Very little opportunities]] [[TheDungAges for a bath]]. Why did anyone ever romanticize this period?
* TheDrifter
* FeudingFamilies: The Hatfield–[=McCoy=] feud is the most famous example of two families fighting one another to the death. Interestingly enough, their descendants have reconciled and strongly distanced themselves from their violent predecessors. Still, all stories set in the Wild West that depict a rivalry between two families will be based on them.
* FriendlyLocalChinatown: This time period was when Chinese people were starting to immigrate to the US, forming the first ever Chinatowns. Expect to see a ChineseLaunderer.
* GatlingGood: For superior firepower in any gunfight.
* GhostTown: Whenever a place was no longer economically profitable it would soon die out.
* GunsAkimbo: A JustifiedTrope--with the single-action revolvers of the period, it was quicker to fire one gun, then fire the second while you were cocking the first. It was just as inaccurate as it is today, though.
* TheGunslinger
* TheGunfighterWannabe: Characters will frequently try to be a tough and quick sharp shooter, but be the laughing stock of the actual gun experts.
* HangingJudge: Roy Bean is a historical example, though his legend has been exaggerated.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, UsefulNotes/BillyTheKid, UsefulNotes/CalamityJane, Frank & UsefulNotes/JesseJames, Wild Bill Hickok, Geronimo, Roy Bean, Creator/BuffaloBill, among many others.
* HumansAreWhite: Although historically about a third of all cowboys were black or Hispanic (And the word "cowboy" itself originally referred specifically to black farmhands), it wasn't until the 1960s that ''any'' black people started showing up in Westerns, and not until the 1970s that they started being main cast members.
* KirksRock: Frequently used in Westerns due to its convenience to Hollywood.
* KnightErrant: The "wandering gunslinger" variation.
* MobileKiosk: Most of the alleged doctors in the Wild West would travel by wagon from town to town selling a 'miracle elixir' said to cure whatever ailment they could come up with. These show up in Westerns from time to time.
* {{Outlaw}}: Many criminals are wanted "dead or alive".
* PriceOnTheirHead: Someone is willing to pay for this character, dead or alive.
* QuickDraw: A trope that shows up in the ShowdownAtHighNoon.
* RaceLift:
** For every time someone says Crazy Horse's father was white, even though he inherited his name from his father.
** In general, most depictions of classic cowboys in media show them as disproportionately white. While there obviously were white cowboys, there was also a much higher percentage of black, Asian, Latin, and Native American cowboys than is typically portrayed in the media.
* TheRemnant: A number of outlaw bands are made up of ex-Confederate soldiers who just kept fighting [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar the war]] even after it ended.
* RidingIntoTheSunset: The best way to end your western, so that the hero can go off to new adventures.
* RunForTheBorder: A typical tactic by many outlaws wanted in one state.
* TheSavageSouth: Typically there is more lawlessness and danger in the southern areas than the northern ones. This is especially common in the unrest of the years following the Civil War.
* SawedOffShotgun: Typical Western guns were always shorter and lighter compared to what a modern rifleman may use, since they were designed to be fired from horseback.
* SettlingTheFrontier: Settlers and new settlements play a major role in many Westerns.
* TheSheriff: Even though sheriffs have existed since the Middle Ages, most people automatically think of a sheriff as depicted in the cowboy era, with a big moustache and a star badge on his chest.
* ShowdownAtHighNoon: Cowboys will settle matters at high noon in a duel.
* SmokingBarrelBlowout: Gunbarrels are more likely to smoke in the first place than in later eras with higher quality gunpowder.
* SnakeOilSalesman: There were a lot of cunning tricksters around in those days.
* TarAndFeathers: A common humiliating punishment for people who didn't obey the laws.
* ThrowawayGuns: Revolvers are slow to reload, so a good gunfighter will have several to draw from as the previous go empty.
* WantedPoster: Expect to see them all over town, especially if the bad man featured on it is the BigBad, one of his henchmen, or at least relevant to the plot. In some cases even the good guy might end up on one if he's been wrongly accused and needs to prove his innocence.
* TheWestern: The genre that takes place here.
* WesternCharacters: The full collection of stock characters of Westerns are listed on this page.
[[/index]]
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!!Works that are set in this time period include:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* ''ComicBook/{{Blueberry}}'': Renowned comic book series about a badass cowboy. Drawn in a realistic style.
* ''ComicBook/LesTuniquesBleues'': Tragicomedic comic strip series about two soldiers during the UsefulNotes/AmericanCivilWar.
* ''ComicBook/JonahHex''
** Although, interestingly, not in the movie. It's apparently set in the Wild South, unless Jonah's horse is extraordinarily fast--he travels from the Old-West-style town he's in to the villain's lair in about a day. The villain's lair is an old Confederate fort, on the Atlantic coast.
* ''ComicBook/LuckyLuke'': One of the most popular cowboy comics in the world and a clever {{Satire}} of all the tropes of TheWestern.
* ''ComicStrip/TexWiller''
* Creator/MarvelComics had a number of Western heroes, including the Rawhide Kid, the Two-Gun Kid (who got unstuck in time and briefly became an [[Comicbook/TheAvengers Avenger]]) and the original Comicbook/GhostRider (who dressed up as a ghost, not the guy with the flaming skull). In the modern age, a miniseries called ''Blaze of Glory'' revived those characters to show their final days.
* ''Franchise/{{Zorro}}''
* ''ComicBook/SuskeEnWiske'': The stories "Bibbergoud", "De TexasRakkers", "De Gouden Locomotief", "De Bevende Baobab",... all take place in the Wild West.
* ''ComicStrip/{{Nero}}'': "De Bende Van De Zwarte Kous", "Het Ei van October", "Het Groene Vuur",... all take place in the Wild West.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Films -- Animation ]]

* The ComicBook/LuckyLuke animated features ''WesternAnimation/DaisyTown'' and ''WesternAnimation/LaBalladeDesDalton''.
* ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail: Fievel Goes West''

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Films -- Live-Action ]]

* See IndexOfFilmWesterns for a more complete list.
* ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartIII''
* ''Film/BlazingSaddles''
* ''Film/BrokenTrail''
* ''Film/CrossfireTrail''
* ''Film/DeadMan''
* ''Film/TheHallelujahTrail''
* ''Film/HighNoon''
* ''Film/TheLifeAndTimesOfJudgeRoyBean'' is an interesting partial inversion--it actually is set from the 1890s to the early 1920s, yet plays the Western trope very straight. Bonus points for being actually based on a true story, showing that The Wild West was able to [[TwilightOfTheOldWest partially live on into the 20th century]].
* ''Film/LonesomeDove''
* ''Film/McCabeAndMrsMiller'', which averts the typical old Hollywood version of the West.
* ''Film/{{Maverick}}''
* ''Film/OldYeller''
* ''Film/TheSearchers'', a {{Deconstruction}} of period Westerns
* ''Film/{{Shane}}''
* ''Film/ShanghaiNoon''
* ''Film/{{Silverado}}''
* ''Film/TheShootist,'' notable for being John Wayne's very last film. Also another Western that takes place after the romanticized age, right after the turn of the 20th century.
* ''Film/TheAlamo''
* ''Film/{{Tombstone}}''
* ''Film/TrueGrit''
* ''Film/{{Unforgiven}}'', a revival/{{Reconstruction}} of the genre after ''Film/HeavensGate'' killed it dead about 15 years before.
* ''Film/{{Westworld}}''
* ''Film/YoungGuns'' and its sequel.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* See also WesternLiterature.
* One of the downtime locations in ''Literature/TimeScout'' is Denver, 1885. A lot of people go down there for Wild West shooting competitions.
* ''Literature/TheAlloyOfLaw'' has the Roughs, which are a FantasyCounterpartCulture version of the Wild West.
* Many of the novels of Creator/JTEdson, including all of ''The Floating Outfit'', ''Waco'' and ''Waxahachie Smith'' series.
* While he is now better known for fantasy, Creator/RobertEHoward wrote many, many Western tales, both humorous and serious.
* Creator/LouisLAmour wrote scores of western novels.
* DimeNovel inventor Creator/FrankReade had quite a few adventures out West.
* ''Literature/SixGunSnowWhite'' is the [[Literature/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs original fairy tale]] re-imagined in this setting.
* [[{{Creator/KarlMay}} Karl May]]'s ''[[{{Literature/Winnetou}} Winnetou]]'' novels set in the 1860s to the 1870s timeframe are the source of [[TheThemeParkVersion the stereotypical image of the West]] in European countries.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* See also WesternSeries.
* ''Series/TheBigValley''
* ''Series/{{Bonanza}}''
* ''Series/TheCiscoKid''
* ''Series/TheDakotas''
* ''{{Series/Deadwood}}'' (Decidedly ''not'' TheThemeParkVersion.)
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The First Doctor paid a visit in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS3E8TheGunfighters "The Gunfighters"]].
** And again, the Eleventh in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS33E3ATownCalledMercy "A Town Called Mercy"]].
* ''Series/DrQuinnMedicineWoman''
* ''Series/ElfregoBaca''
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' was TheWestern InSpace.
* ''Series/FrontierCircus''
* ''Series/FTroop''
* ''Series/{{Gunsmoke}}''
* ''HaveGunWillTravel''
* ''Series/HecRamsey''
* ''Series/{{Highlander}}'' had quite a few Western flashbacks of Duncan's earlier history.
* ''Series/HopalongCassidy''
* ''Series/KungFu''
* ''Series/LittleHouseOnThePrairie''
* ''Series/TheLoneRanger''
* The ''Series/MacGyver'' dream episodes set in the town of Serenity.
* ''Series/{{Maverick}}''
* ''Series/NickArcade's'' Slurpy Gulch board
* Ethan Chandler in Creator/{{Showtime}}'s GothicHorror series ''Series/PennyDreadful'' is the star of a traveling Wild West Show.
* ''Series/{{Rawhide}}''
* ''Series/TheRifleman''
* ''Series/TheRoyRogersShow''
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** A single episode of ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' ("[[Recap/StarTrekS3E6SpectreOfTheGun Spectre of the Gun]]") put the main cast at the gunfight at the OK Corral.
** A ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode saw Lt Worf and son in a holodeck simulation set in this era.
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS06E18Frontierland "Frontierland" (S06, Ep18)]], the Winchesters travel back in time and meet Samuel Colt.
* ''Series/TheTexasRangers''
* Several episodes of ''Series/TheTwilightZone''
* ''Series/WagonTrain'' (''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' was originally conceived as being, in Gene Roddenberry's own words, "WagonTrainToTheStars.")
* ''Series/TheWildWildWest''
* ''Series/WildWestTech'': This show isn't so much set in this time and place as discusses this time and place. And the technology to be found there.
* ''Series/{{Zorro}}''

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music ]]

* Music/TheBeatles did a Wild West tale of failed revenge with "Rocky Raccoon", a song from Music/TheWhiteAlbum written by Music/PaulMcCartney.
* Music/TheBonzoDogBand's "Bad Blood", from ''Let's Make Up and Be Friendly'', is another Western revenge tale and an AffectionateParody of Music/JohnnyCash.
* Music/{{Beck}}'s "Farewell Ride" from ''Music/{{Guero}} has lyrics built on Western imagery. Sample:
-->''I don't see the face of\\
Kindness I don't hear the\\
Mission bells I don't smell\\
The morning roses all I see\\
Is all I see is\\
Two white horses in a line\\
Carrying me to my burying ground''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Pinballs ]]

* ''Pinball/ElDorado'' (and its variations ''Gold Strike'' and ''Lucky Strike'')
* The "Wild West" table of ''VideoGame/PsychoPinball'' takes place in a ThemeParkVersion, complete with a bank, jail, rodeo, and nearby gold mine.
* Also played for laughs in ''Pinball/CactusCanyon''.
* ''Pinball/MaverickTheMovie,'' based on [[Film/{{Maverick}} the 1994 film.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Radio ]]

* ''Series/TheCiscoKid''
* ''Radio/{{Gunsmoke}}''
* ''Series/HaveGunWillTravel''
* ''Series/TheLoneRanger''
* ''Series/TheRoyRogersShow''
* ''Series/WildBillHickok''

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}''
* ''TabletopGame/DogsInTheVineyard'', although its version of the time period is a lot less Wild, so to speak.
* ''[[TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse Werewolf: The Wild West]]''
* ''TabletopGame/{{Rifts}} New West'' adds a lot of magic, monsters, and cyberpunk flavor, and ''in-universe'' is a deliberate attempt to re-create the Wild West as a way of holding on to lost history. Naturally, they [[TheThemeParkVersion get some things wrong]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theater ]]

* ''The Girl of the Golden West'', play by David Belasco and opera by Music/GiacomoPuccini.
* Creator/BuffaloBill 's ''Wild West'' shows popularized cowboy stories near the end of the 19th and early 20th century.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theme Parks ]]

* Frontierland in the Ride/DisneyThemeParks.
* The western sequence on ''Ride/TheGreatMovieRide''.
* Ride/TweetsieRailroad in Boone, North Carolina is a mix between this trope and CoolTrain.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In ''VideoGame/TheAdventuresOfLomax'', the third world is like this, complete with cowboy enemies.
* ''VideoGame/{{Bastion}}'' evokes this with its old-timey narrator and most of the soundtrack, which is full of banjos and the occasional voiced song that sounds like a traditional folk song.
* ''VideoGame/CallOfJuarez''
** ''VideoGame/CallOfJuarezBoundInBlood''
** ''VideoGame/CallOfJuarezGunslinger''
* ''VideoGame/{{Desperados}}''
* ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' takes place mainly in the Mojave, and outside of Vegas itself, mostly resides here. You can even take a perk named 'Cowboy' to make your .45-70 lever-action deadlier than a triple plasma rifle.
* ''VideoGame/FistfulOfFrags'' is a multiplayer first-person shooter based on the Source Engine. Its most prominent feature is the effect that period weaponry has on a typical FPS death-match arena. The weapons are slow, clunky, but very powerful, placing a greater emphasis on landing your shots.
* ''VideoGame/FreddyPharkasFrontierPharmacist''
* ''VideoGame/{{Gun}}''
* ''VideoGame/LethalEnforcers II: Gun Fighters''
* A couple of ''Videogame/MountAndBlade'' {{Game Mod}}s, especially ''[[Videogame/EighteenSixtySixAMountAndBladeWestern 1866: A Mount & Blade Western]]''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Outlaws}}''
* ''VideoGame/PlantsVsZombies2ItsAboutTime'': One of the time periods takes place in the wild west, featuring minecart rails that help the player move their plants around, as well as western-themed zombies--cowboys, prospectors, saloon pianists, rodeo bulls, and... [[TheLastOfTheseIsNotLikeTheOthers chicken wranglers]].
* ''VideoGame/RedDeadRevolver''
* ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption'': While the game itself is set during 1909, it fits many of the tropes associated with the Wild West. The game even has three distinct acts, with the first being the Standard Western (good guys, bad guys, etc), the second taking the form of the Spaghetti Western (moral ambiguity), and the third and final act set in the Dying West.
* ''VideoGame/SlyCooperThievesInTime'' has the Cotton Mouth Bluff world, complete with coyote[=/=]{{jackalope}}[=/=]steer guards, a huge train moving through the world, a SmallNameBigEgo armadillo sheriff, [[FrothyMugsOfWater sarsparilla bars]], and the guncane-toting "Tennessee Kid" Cooper. TheCaper of the world is even a train robbery.
* ''VideoGame/SunsetRiders''
* The second level of ''VideoGame/TinyToonAdventuresBusterBustsLoose'' takes place in a western town, featuring The Coyote Kid (from the TV series episode, "High Toon") and his henchmen as enemies. Here, Montana Max is in the progress of robbing a safe, and the second half of the level takes place [[LocomotiveLevel on a runaway train]] to chase after him.
* ''VideoGame/TroubleInTerroristTown'': Technically if you go on the Mogz server hosted in the UK on the maps de_westwood and cs_desperados the modern guns have been replaced by western ones. However they do not have auto reload which means once your clip is dry (Shotgun 7 shells, DoubleBarrel 2 shells, LeverRifle 5 bullets and 1 bullet for the sharps and six for either the colt or peacemaker) you have to pistol whip your opponent or get out of range and reload.
* The ''VideoGame/WildArms'' series combines western tropes with a StandardFantasySetting. How Western the series is varies per game.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* ''Webcomic/NextTownOver''

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* ''Roleply/SurvivalOfTheFittest'': Virtua-SOTF, a Mini site game, has been confirmed to be a [[InsideAComputerSystem Virtual Reality]] game that takes place in a "Old West" setting.
* This is one of the eras visited in ''Literature/ChronoHustle'', especially seen in the third story.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/QuickDrawMcGraw''
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Histeria}}!'' episode "The Wild West"
* The 1966 ''Franchise/LoneRanger'' series
* Several ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' episodes, usually the ones starring Yosemite Sam. Examples include:
** "WesternAnimation/DripAlongDaffy"
** "WesternAnimation/BuckarooBugs"
** "WesternAnimation/BugsBunnyRidesAgain"
** "WesternAnimation/WildAndWoollyHare"
* ''WesternAnimation/PartyWagon''
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' has a CowboyEpisode where the girls visit Appleloosa; there you can find horse-drawn carriages (they switch), among other things.
* The ''Creator/VanBeurenStudios'' cartoon shorts "Hot Tamale", The Gay Gaucho", "In the Bag" and "Redskin Blues" are all set in this time period.
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