Monday, 19 January 2015

The Wild West

Western Emporium:

Western Emporium is an online shop that sells western boots, hats, clothing etc. for both men and women. The page boldly states “Old West and Frontier clothing. Quality products. Authentic style”. It represents an image of the Old West that has become popular in society. This particular page comes across as more of a fancy dress site than clothes that would be worn on a day to day basis as they were back then, giving the feeling that those who buy from a site such as this are reminiscing on their childhood, stories and films about ‘cowboys and Indians of the West’. There are hundreds of emporiums like this all over America, some selling fancy dress or others selling ‘vintage’ western attire, showing the popularity that the West has.


The 'Wild West'

The Old West Gallery

The 'Old West Galley'  is a site of numerous 'wild west' themed products. With every thing from Clothing and Native American items to films and replica guns this online market provides access to a sub-culture that is so greatly represented through movie culture, on a era that is so historically important that items from it have ended up incorporated into modern day fashion. The variety of products available emphasis the how big the market is , the selection range included outfits that are designed on type of clothing frontiers men wore to themed contemporary products such as 'sheriff star' wallets and belts an cell phone cases. Additionally the site capitalizes on memorabilia from old wild west tv shows and movies that were so popular in american tv culture, selling photos from TV shows such as 'Bonanza' (1957-1973) show that the stereo typical 'Wild West' products what  what many consumers want rather than genuine products.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

The 'Wild West'

The paintings on this website seem to portray the stereotypical 'Wild West', or 'Old West' as this website seems to prefer, as if purposefully marketing our beliefs of what the 'Wild West' looked like. The first two images practically epitomise what the average person would believe was exactly what it was like to live in the 'Wild West'.

'Searching' (2011)

This first painting, by Kim Lockman, is a depiction of John Wayne, the famous 'Wild West' actor. This man has seemed to epitomise the American 'Wild West' for people all over the globe for his portrayals of the West. Biographer Ronald Davis wrote that "John Wayne personified for millions the nation's frontier heritage" which only begins to describe his effect on the west. This painting of him standing tall and proud in his authentic cowboy clothing with a strong horse standing smaller than him in the background seems to encourage the idea of complete power and freedom that Americans seem to love about the 'Wild West'. The original of this painting sold for $1,800, proof of the fact that people from all over the globe buy into this image of strength, power and freedom of the 'Wild West'.

'Cowboys Roping A Steer' (1897)

This second painting was painted at the time where the 'Wild West' was still a very true part of life as this year was still classed as part of the American Frontier period. It shows a group of cowboys in a positive light as they show off their skills and rope a 'steer', The painting is busy with the three cowboys and their horses almost blending together as they attempt to complete their task. If you look closely enough you can in fact see genuine markings on the horses and the steer, as well as a few cowboys in the far left background looking after some cattle. This image of farming cattle shows how plentiful the land was for these men, as in the background it can easily be seen that the cattle outnumber the men. By capturing some men chasing after a loose steer, the painter has effectively epitomised the image that people nowadays think of when asked about the 'Wild West', it paints the perfect image of freedom and masculinity, making people see power when they see cowboys.

I found it interesting to compare the two first images on this website, that has a whole category dedicated to the 'Old West', as one is from a fairly recent year and the other is from the time, yet both seem to epitomise the idea of complete freedom and power in the 'Wild West'. The one from the American Frontier period seems to portray the moment as being an every day occurrence with the men in the background herding some cattle and the men in the foreground capturing a loose steer, whereas the image of John Wayne's purpose seems to be to portray freedom and power in a way that suggests it is still attainable today.

Ronald L. Davis (2012). Duke: The Life and Image of John Wayne. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 6.

Western USA tours

This website is trying to sell tours of  Western America, with tours such as “America’s Canyonlands” and “western discovery”. Many of these tours are marketed towards those wanting to see the canyons, with many offering tours to the Grand Canyon national park in Arizona, and Bryce Canyon national park in Utah. Lake Powell is also a key feature of many of these tours, which shows how one of the most popular things to see in Western USA today is its areas of natural beauty. Although many of these tours focus on the big cities present in Western America, such as San Diego and San Francisco in California and Las Vegas in Nevada. This suggests that the things most associated with the West of America today are its biggest cities as well as its National parks and other natural attractions. 

the wild west in the magic kingdom

When Walt Disney started work of his theme parks he wanted there to be something for every one including some attractions that didn't at the time attach to one of his movies or cartoons, an example of that would be Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show with Mickey and friends in Disneyland Paris.
its dinner theatre where you go inside are handed a cowboy hat at the door before finding your seats.
the show its self everything the average person would think a wild west show would be. cowboys, Indians, a stagecoach robbery, as well as some historical names such as Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley.Right there for that show the wild west is brought back through the magic of Disney and at the end of the night all we have left are the memories and a hat.