Description: The fundamental dichotomy between savage and civilized man is examined within the archetypal Western myth of American culture. The roots of the dichotomy are explored through images produced between 1888 and 1909 by artists Frederic Remington and Charles Russell. Four John Ford films are then used as a basis for the "dichotomous archetype" approach to understanding Western myth in film. Next, twenty-nine "historical" and "contemporary" Western movies are discussed chronologically, from The Virginian (1929) to Dances with Wolves (1990), in terms of the savage/civilized schema as it is personified by the roles of archetypal characters. The conclusion proposes a potential resolution of the savage/civilized conflict through an ecumenical mythology that recognizes a universal reverence for nature.
Date: May 1991
Creator: Robinson, Scott E. (Scott Elmon), 1961-
Partner: UNT Libraries