Comparison of a classic cowboy movie and a modern remash

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, United States, White American Pages: 4 (1340 words) Published: February 26, 2014

From cowboys and Indians to cowboys and aliens, the Western genre has changed remarkably over the decades and what better way to show this than to compare the classic Western, The Searchers (directed by John Ford in 1956) with the Revisionist Western, Cowboys and Aliens (Jon Favreau, 2011). Earlier films saw Native Americans portrayed as animalistic savages with many films including The Searchers centred on the fear of miscegenation. Furthermore, gender roles were limited and characters were mostly two-dimensional. In Cowboys and Aliens, Native Americans are depicted not as savages, but as allies with the White Americans and the heroic role is taken on by a female. This goes to show how representations of race and gender have changed over the years. The Searchers begins with conflict between the Indians and the white Americans which determine the plot for the rest of the film. The film establishes conflict between two forces, the White Americans Settlers and the Indian Americans in which they engage in many bloody battles as main characters, Ethan (John Wayne) and Marty search for Debbie who was kidnapped by the Indians. Ethan however does not intend on recusing Debbie but would rather to kill her for “living with a buck” as he put it, referring to the Indian warrior-chief called Scar. Ethan’s hatred isn’t only confined to the Comanche’s (Indian tribe), going on to say that “the only good Indian being a dead Indian”. Ethan shoots the eyes out of an already dead Comanche in his grave, claiming if it has no eyes, then it can’t enter the spiritual land. Halfway through The Searchers, Ethan Edwards is lead to three white females who have been released from Indian Captivity. The screenplay depicts these women as ‘mad’, and in a way animalistic. A bystander suggests that ‘It’s hard to believe they’re white’, and to our surprise, Ethan replies with ‘They ain’t white. Not anymore. They’re Comanche’. The scene ends with a close up shot of Ethan’s face shows him...
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