Like any film genre, the western has its share of solid films that never receive the full appreciation they should. Here are five examples.

“Dark Command’ (1940): Directed by Raoul Walsh, this was John Wayne-s follow-up to “Stagecoach’, the film that made him a star. Based on the story of William Quantrill, the film co-stars William Pidgeon, Claire Trevor and Roy Rogers.

“Ride the High Country’ (1962): Sam Peckinpah-s film stars Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott as aging cowboys guarding a shipment of gold through hazardous territory. The film has a strong supporting cast and gained notoriety for Peckinpah.

“The Way West’ (1967): The story of a wagon train en route to Oregon stars Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum and Richard Widmark. The cast includes a young Sally Field and a group of veteran character actors.

“Will Penny’ (1968): Charlton Heston stars an aging cowboy in a subtle western that is stronger on character study than outright action. The film features beautiful cinematography and one of Heston-s best performances.

“Ulzana-s Raid’ (1972): Director Robert Aldrich created a raw, tough western with graphic violence not seen in the genre at the time. Burt Lancaster stars as an army scout hunting down a renegade Apache warrior.

Determining the lowest budgeted western ever made night not be a very easy task. There were scores of low budget B Movie westerns produced in the 1930s and 1940s. Westerns had a large audience during the classic age of cinema. A significant segment of the audience were young children. Since kids did not need a huge budget or a big star to draw them to theaters, quite a number of low budget westerns were made. The western with the lowest budget is something that might be lost to history because budgetary records have most likely be lost or destroyed. That said, there is a western which just might be the lowest budgeted movie in the entire genre. That film would be The Terror of Tiny Town. This 1938 film featured an all-midget cast and was a hit on the matine circuit for young ones. More than likely, the money saved on this film was not only from reusing sets from other movies, but also from not paying the cast accordingly.

There may have been lower budgeted westerns made during the silent era. However, many films from this time period are lost along with the records of their production. In today’s world of home video, perhaps the all-time cheapest western is soon to be made. Still bored? Click to continue: Tila Tequila in a new low-budget film

It might be hard to believe, but the movie that bears the distinction of being the first Western ever filmed was made in 1903. The twelve minute long “The Great Train Robbery”, a silent movie, was an immediate hit with audiences and paved the way for scores of other movies set in the mythical “Old West”.
“The Great Train Robbery” packed a lot of action into such a short movie. The film told the story of a group of outlaws who robbed a train and made off with the loot. The movie showed the desperadoes blowing open the safe on the train, robbing the passengers on the train and then making off with their ill-gotten gains on horseback, while they are pursued by a posse of lawmen. The whole story can be found at http://wolfnwings.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/cops-and-robbers/ The movie ends with a stable of Western movies, a spirited gunfight between the robbers and the lawmen. At the end of the film the robbers are all killed by the good guys. An obvious message of the film is that “crime does not pay.”
From a historical standpoint, “The Great Train Robbery” is considered an important film not just because it was the first Western but because of some of the cinematic effects in the movie. The film had a definite storyline, plot and character development. The film also shifted from one scene to another. Some of the film’s producers were concerned that the shifting of one scene to another might confuse audiences, but this was not the case. Another innovation in the brief movie was the movement of the camera during the filming of a scene.
The movie was distributed by the Edison Film Company and capitalized on the public’s fascination with Cowboys and Indians, Lawmen and Bandits and the Old West made popular in the dime novels of the day.