Film expert Andrew Patrick Nelson will examine the so-called decline of western films between the years of 1969-1980 for the next meeting of the Pahaska Corral of Westerners.
The meeting is Monday, Sept. 24, at the Governors Room in the Irma Hotel in Cody, Wyoming, beginning with a no-host dinner starting at 6 p.m. and followed by the presentation around 7 p.m.
The dinner and the presentation are open to the public; however, due to limited seating, nonmembers must RSVP by emailing Jeremy Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nelson will also present a lecture examining depictions of Buffalo Bill on the silver screen at noon in the Coe Auditorium of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West followed by a book signing.
By the end of the 1960s, the Hollywood West of Tom Mix, Randolph Scott, and even John Wayne was passé — or so the story goes. Many film historians and critics have argued that movies portraying a mythic American West gave way to revisionist films that were made as violent critiques of the Western’s “golden years.” Yet rumors surrounding the death of the Western have been greatly exaggerated. In this presentation, film Nelson offers a new history of the Hollywood Western in the 1970s, a time when filmmakers tried to revive the genre by appealing to a diverse audience that included longtime fans and a new generation of socially conscious viewers.
John Wayne was still the Western’s number one box office draw, but he and other stars like Burt Lancaster and Gregory Peck faced stiff competition from young talents, including Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, and Paul Newman. The films of new directors like Sam Peckinpah and Robert Altman played alongside those of Hollywood veterans like Howard Hawks and Henry Hathaway. And as these competing visions of the Old West vied for moviegoers’ attention, the Western remained as rich and complex as at any time in its history.
Nelson is associate professor of Film History and Critical Studies and the Film Option Coordinator at Montana State University. He is a former visiting sScholar at the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University and has served as a guest film curator at several museums, including the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles and the Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio.
He is the author and editor of numerous books and essays about popular American cinema, including "Still in the Saddle: The Hollywood Western, 1969-1980" (University of Oklahoma Press, 2015), which has been praised as “essential reading for fans of Western films” and “a valuable study that will change the way we think about Westerns.” He appears as a commentator in the Fox News documentary series Legends & Lies and regularly lectures on Western film and culture at venues both in the United States and internationally.