CowboyLands Best Western Lists

Top 10 Revisionist Westerns (Bucko’s)

10. McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) A rich complex town setting full of relatively realistic townspeople, and an upended showdown.

9. Little Big Man (1970) I had to put my fingers in my ears whenever Dustin Hoffman spoke, but the glimpse into life on the plains was worth it.

8. Hud (1963) The old versus the new in the New West. Nobody wins. From Larry McMurty’s Horseman, Pass By.

7. Unforgiven (1992) The more I learn about westerns, the more I appreciate Eastwood’s take on the high and bloody price of being a gunslinger.

6. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) Apart from the over-the-top Christ-like death at the end, it’s Pat Garret’s story, and the passing of the Old West, done on an epic scale.

5. Lonely Are the Brave (1962) Also a passing of the Old West, done on a smaller scale, which means more poignancy, more tragedy. From Edward Abbey’s The Brave Cowboy.

4. Midnight Cowboy (1969) I know people will scream about this one, but I think it’s the West as a state of mind in old-school New York City, setting up a naïve buckaroo’s conflict with the big, bad modern world.

3. Brokeback Mountain (2005) A revisionist take on cowboy love, the New West, and sheepherding.

2. Dead Man (1995) An anti-western on acid.

1. The Ballad of Little Jo (1993) So subversive it isn’t on any top-ten lists. To save herself, a woman lives life as a man on the frontier. Based on a true and truly Wild West story, the life of Josephine Monaghan. The movie poster read: “In the Wild West, a woman had only two choices. She could be a wife or she could be a whore … Josephine chose to be a man.”

From the Picksburg Kid: Here’s my list of Top Putrid Shoot-em-ups, culled from many sleepless nights in front of the entertainment center…

Cry Blood Apache

It Can be Done Amigo

Gone with the West (split on this one, I liked it, Bucko didn’t) *amigo, I am in awe of its awfulness.

Dan Candy’s Law

The Hanged Man

Dead Aim

Kid Vengeance

Deadwood 76

Hawk of Powder River

The Trail Beyond


10- ZORRO, 1974, Alain Delon.

9- WHITE COMANCHE, 1967, William Shatner.

“One of us must die…”

Yeah, right…me or this movie.

8- RIDERS OF DESTINY, 1933, John Wayne and Gabby Hayes.

7- ROY ROGERS TV SHOW, 1951-1957, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and Pat Brady.

6- DEVIL RIDERS, 1943, Buster Crabbe.

5- GUNS AND FURY, 1945, Duncan Renaldo and Leon Carillo.

“Help! Help! Help!” cries the Sheriff. I”ll say. It needs it.

4- COWBOY G MEN, 1952, Jackie Coogan and Russel Hayden.

3- ZORRO’S BLACK WHIP, 1944, Linda Stirling.

2- JESSE JAMES AT BAY, 1941, Roy Rogers, Gabby Hayes, and Gale Storm.

1- PHANTOM EMPIRE, 1935, Gene Autry and Smiley Burdette.

“To the rescue!” yell the Junior Thunder Riders. Too late. Nothing can rescue the Phantom Empire.

One Buckaroo’s List of BEST WESTERN NOVELS

1. The Virginian by Owen Wister

2. The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter van Tilburg Clark

3. Shane by Jack Schaefer

4. The Big Sky by A. B. Guthrie, Jr.

5. The Searchers by Alan Le May

6. Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey

7. Paso por Aqui by Eugene Manlove Rhodes

8. Bugles in the Afternoon by Ernest Haycox

9. The Long Rifle by Stewart Edward White

10. Vengeance Valley by Luke Short

11. The Hell Bent Kid by Charles O. Locke

12. Cheyenne Autumn by Mari Sandoz

13. Destry Rides Again by Max Brand

14. Hondo by Louis L’Amour

15. The Sea of Grass by Conrad Richter

16. Ride the Man Down by Luke Short

17. The Day the Cowboys Quit by Elmer Kelton

18. Stay Away, Joe by Dan Cushman

19. The Time It Never Rained by Elmer Kelton

20. True Grit by Charles Portis

21. Monte Walsh by Jack Schaefer

22. Flint by Louis L’Amour

23. From Where the Sun Now Stands by Will Henry

24. Hombre by Elmore Leonard

25. The Wonderful Country by Tom Lea

26. The Homesman by Glendon Swarthout

27. The Shootist by Glendon Swarthout

28. Valdez is Coming by Elmore Leonard

29. The Rounders by Max Evans

30. The Hi-Lo Country by Max Evans