47 Years Ago in TIME

The intense popularity of TV WESTERNS moved experts to ponder the social and cultural significance of the genre long before today's hit movie Brokeback Mountain.

Theorizers, both professional and amateur, think the western helps people to get away from the complexities of modern life and back to the "restful absolutes" of the past ... In the cowboy's world, justice is the result of direct action, not of elaborate legality. A man's fate depends on his own choices and capacities, not on the vast impersonal forces of society or science. His motives are clearly this or that, unsullied by psychologizing (except,...

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