[[caption-width-right:307:And that's just what they could fit on the poster!]]

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 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 not 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 relative small population that those in the East). Carrying guns in these towns would rather 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 being killed in raging gunfights or getting scalped by Indians. Although by means, it was still a lawless and violent era, with three major 19th American wars taking place in the frontier (Mexican-American war, Civil War and American Indian Wars) and also other range wars, bandit attacks and feuds. Not to mention that courts were almost non-existent, so settlers substitute it with vigilance committees, which were more focused on lynching people than doing any law practices. The Wild West was not so wild -- it was actually more simple and boring, in fact.

See also TheWestern. 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 WildWest. TwilightOfTheOldWest is about the dying embers of the WildWest flickering out during the early years of the NewOldWest. May overlap with SettlingTheFrontier. Largely occurs contemporaneously with TheGildedAge.
!!Popular tropes from this time period are:

* AntiHero: ...would draw before the villain.
* [[{{Badass}} Badass Tropes]]:
** 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
* 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.
* BountyHunter
* 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.
* 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.
* 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 / KnightErrant
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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 disproportionally 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
* RunForTheBorder
* 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.
* ShowdownAtHighNoon
* SmokingBarrelBlowout
* TarAndFeathers
* ThrowawayGuns: Revolvers are slow to reload, so a good gunfighter will have several to draw from as the previous goes empty.
* WantedPoster: Expect to see them allover 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.

!!Works that are set in this time period are:

* ''ComicBook/{{Blueberry}}''
* ''ComicBook/LesTuniquesBleues''
* ''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''
* ''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}}''

* Pick a Western. ''Any'' Western...
* ''[[Film/BackToTheFuture Back To The Future Part III]]''
* ''Film/BlazingSaddles''
* ''Film/BrokenTrail''
* ''Film/DeadMan''
* ''Film/TheHallelujahTrail''
* ''Film/HighNoon''
* ''Film/TheLifeAndTimesOfJudgeRoyBean'' is an interesting partial inversion - it actually is set from the 1890's to the early 1920's, 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.

* 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 FrankReade had quite a few adventures out West.
* ''Literature/SixGunSnowWhite'' is the [[Literature/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs original fairy tale]] re-imagined in this setting.

[[AC:{{Live-Action TV}}]]
* ''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/{{Gunsmoke}}''
* ''Series/FTroop''
* ''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 [[TheWildWest Wild West]] Show.
* ''Series/{{Rawhide}}''
* ''Series/TheRifleman''
* ''Series/TheRoyRogersShow''
* A single episode of ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' ("Spectre of the Gun") put the main cast at the gunfight at the OK Corral.
** A TNG 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, ''Series/WagonTrain To The Stars''.)
* ''Series/TheWildWildWest''
* ''Series/WildWestTech'': This show isn't so much set in this time and place as discuss this time and place. And the technology to be found there.
* ''Series/{{Zorro}}''
* Ethan Chandler in Creator/{{Showtime}}'s GothicHorror series ''Series/PennyDreadful'' is the star of a traveling [[TheWildWest Wild West]] Show.

* 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 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''.

* ''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.]]

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

* ''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]].

* ''The Girl of the Golden West'', play by David Belasco and opera by Puccini

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

* ''VideoGame/CallOfJuarez''
** ''VideoGame/CallOfJuarezBoundInBlood''
** ''VideoGame/CallOfJuarezGunslinger''
* ''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.
* ''VideoGame/{{Desperados}}''
* ''VideoGame/{{Gun}}''
* ''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/{{Outlaws}}''
* ''VideoGame/SunsetRiders''
* ''VideoGame/WildArms'' series combines western tropes with a StandardFantasySetting. How Western the series is varies per game.
* ''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/FreddyPharkasFrontierPharmacist''
* ''VideoGame/LethalEnforcers II: Gun Fighters''
* A couple of ''Videogame/MountAndBlade'' {{Game Mod}}s, especially ''[[Videogame/EighteenSixtySixAMountAndBladeWestern 1866: A Mount & Blade Western]]''.
* ''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/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.
* In ''VideoGame/TheAdventuresOfLomax'', the third world is like this, complete with cowboy enemies.
* The second level of ''Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose'' 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.

* ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail: Fievel Goes West''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Quick-Draw McGraw}}''
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Histeria}}!'' episode "The Wild West"
* The 1966 ''LoneRanger'' series
* Several WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes episodes
* ''WesternAnimation/PartyWagon''
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' had a CowboyEpisode where the girls visit Appleoosa; there you can find horse-drawn carriages (they switch), among other things.

* ''NextTownOver''

* ''WebOriginal/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.