American Old West

undeveloped territory of the United States c. 1607–1920

The American Old West (often referred to as the Old West, Wild West or Far West) comprises the history, geography, people, lore, and cultural expression of life in the Western United States, most often referring to the period of the later half of the 19th century, between the American Civil War and the end of the century.

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The Western is ultimately a stripped down moral universe that is, whatever the dramatic problems are, beyond the normal avenues of social control and social alleviation of the problem, and I like to do that even within contemporary stories. ~ David Giller
  • The Western is ultimately a stripped down moral universe that is, whatever the dramatic problems are, beyond the normal avenues of social control and social alleviation of the problem, and I like to do that even within contemporary stories.
    • David Giller as quoted in Axmaker, Sean (October 3, 2005). "Walter Hill: "Operate on your instinct". GreenCine Daily. Retrieved December 12, 2007.
  • We didn't build this Nation by everyone scratching and clawing for himself. We built it, like we built the West, by pitching in together and by always acting responsibly.
  • You and your forebears… tamed a wild frontier. And, believe it or not, you did it without an area redevelopment program or urban renewal. So now, load up the musket and help us conquer this wild growth and centralization of power which threatens all that we've created.
    • Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a Rally for Senator Malcolm Wallop in Cheyenne, Wyoming. March 2, 1982.
  • Go West, young man, and grow up with the country.
  • The existence of an area of free land, its continual recession, and the advancement of American settlement westward, explain American development
    • Frederick Jackson Turner to the American Historical Association at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois
  • “People were allowed to own guns, and everyone did own guns [in the West], for the most part,” says Winkler. “Having a firearm to protect yourself in the lawless wilderness from wild animals, hostile native tribes, and outlaws was a wise idea. But when you came into town, you had to either check your guns if you were a visitor or keep your guns at home if you were a resident.”
  • Frontier towns with and without gun legislation were violent places, more violent than family-friendly farming communities and Eastern cities of the time, but those without restrictions tended to have worse violence. “I've never seen any rhetoric from that time period saying that the only thing that's going to reduce violence is more people with guns,” says Winkler. “It seems to be much more of a 20th-century attitude than one associated with the Wild West.”

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