The Sagebrush Trail: Western Movies and Twentieth-Century America by Richard AquilaThe Sagebrush Trail: Western Movies and Twentieth-Century America by Richard Aquila

The Sagebrush Trail: Western Movies and Twentieth-Century America

byRichard Aquila

Paperback | April 16, 2015

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The Sagebrush Trail is a history of Western movies but also a history of twentieth-century America. Richard Aquila’s fast-paced narrative covers both the silent and sound eras, and includes classic westerns such as Stagecoach, A Fistful of Dollars, and Unforgiven, as well as B-Westerns that starred film cowboys like Tom Mix, Gene Autry, and Hopalong Cassidy.

The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 traces the birth and growth of Westerns from 1900 through the end of World War II. Part 2 focuses on a transitional period in Western movie history during the two decades following World War II. Finally, part 3 shows how Western movies reflected the rapid political, social, and cultural changes that transformed America in the 1960s and the last decades of the twentieth century.

The Sagebrush Trail explains how Westerns evolved throughout the twentieth century in response to changing times, and it provides new evidence and fresh interpretations about both Westerns and American history. These films offer perspectives on the past that historians might otherwise miss. They reveal how Americans reacted to political and social movements, war, and cultural change. The result is the definitive story of Western movies, which contributes to our understanding of not just movie history but also the mythic West and American history. Because of its subject matter and unique approach that blends movies and history, The Sagebrush Trail should appeal to anyone interested in Western movies, pop culture, the American West, and recent American history and culture.

The mythic West beckons but eludes. Yet glimpses of its utopian potential can always be found, even if just for a few hours in the realm of Western movies. There on the silver screen, the mythic West continues to ride tall in the saddle along a “sagebrush trail” that reveals valuable clues about American life and thought.
Richard Aquila is a professor of history and American studies at Penn State University, the Behrend College, and a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. He has published four books, including Wanted Dead or Alive: The American West in Popular Culture.
Title:The Sagebrush Trail: Western Movies and Twentieth-Century AmericaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9.03 × 6.02 × 0.81 inPublished:April 16, 2015Publisher:UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0816531544

ISBN - 13:9780816531547


Editorial Reviews

“General readers and nonspecialists will welcome Aquila’s jargon-free, accessible writing.”—Western Historical Quarterly

"The Sagebrush Trail is an unexpected pleasure, linking a multitude of films to their cultural contexts and finding in them 'clues about America' 'that historians might otherwise miss.'"—Journal of American History