The Introduction outlines the book in terms of contemporary film scholarship on the Western. The broader aim here is to set the book in the present before outlining the history of the two main evolutionary approaches taken to the genre, describing how, despite influential critical responses to this approach having been advanced in recent decades, more film scholars still adhere to these approaches than do question them. The Introduction also describes how the version of frontier mythology most closely associated with the Western, in both of the genre's so-call classical and revisionist phases, was deliberately constructed on the cusp of the twentieth century by a handful of interconnected historians, politicians and producers of popular culture; namely, William Cody, Frederick Jackson Turner, and Theodore Roosevelt. But what is the nature of the Western's relationship to the myth? The Introduction ends by considering this question before outlining the films and defining of the terms of analysis that the book will use.
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