Westerns: A Favorites List

As I mentioned in the last post, I love westerns. So, I decided to compile a list of those I’ve enjoyed watching. I’m sure I’ll remember many more after I post this, but here are a few you might enjoy when you feel in the mood for action and western scenery. Also see below for a chance to win Robin Lee Hatcher’s new book Betrayal.

Singing Cowboy Westerns and Other Saturday Matinee Westerns

The Zane Grey Classic Western Collection with Randolph Scott, Russell Hayden, and George O’Brien. Particularly enjoyed: Dude Ranger, Wagon Wheels, Knights of the Range, Arizona Raiders (with Flash Gordon actor Buster Crabbe). Haven’t read the books, but they were quite popular.

Gene Autry (especially those with Smiley Burnette as Frog Millhouse) Whirlwind, Gaucho Serenade, and most of the rest, except Phantom Empire, which has a strange fantasy twist to it

Roy Rogers

The Three Mesquites

Hopalong Cassidy

I have watched one Lone Ranger and didn’t care for it (everybody died except him), so I’m not recommending them.

Jimmy Stewart

The Far Country, Bend in the River, Rarebreed

Worth mentioning though not my favorites: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence (also with John Wayne) and Winchester ‘73

John Wayne

Red River, Rio Bravo, Rio Grande, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Rio Lobo, McClintock, True Grit, The Cowboys, Stagecoach, Angel and the Badman, North to Alaska

Didn’t like: The Searchers, 3 Godfathers

Tyrone Power

Mark of Zorro It’s set in California, so it counts, right?

Rawhide Forced by stagecoach line owner father to work at a lonely stagecoach stop, Power’s only desire is to return to civilization until four escaped prisoners take over the stop and Power has to keep himself and stranded traveler Susan Hayward alive.


Westward the Women  Robert Taylor grudgingly takes a group of brides out west, including former girl-of-ill-repute Denise Darcel

The Hanging Tree Gary Cooper is a doctor with a secret in gold rush territory.

The Big Country This is a great Gregory Peck western, but don’t waste your time on Mackenna’s Gold

Four Faces West Joel McCrea steals $2000 from a bank in order to save his father’s ranch. He leaves an I.O.U note, works to pay the money back, and tries to stay out of jail without having to use his pistols. The nurse who tended to his rattlesnake bite encourages him to give himself up. Joel McCrea is said to be a star of many westerns, but this is the only one I recall seeing him in.

Ride ‘Em Cowboy and The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap Two fun Abbot and Costello westerns.

Can’t Help Singing An amusing western with singing star Deanna Durbin as a spoiled society girl running away to marry a soldier in California

Audie Murphy The Duel at Silvercreek

Cat Ballou Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin. Not my favorite, but it’s funny in parts. I’ve never seen a horse and rider lean against a wall like that before.

Note: You may have noticed a lack of Clint Eastwood movies. I’ve only seen part of Paint Your Wagon, and the only thing I liked about it was the music.

About the book giveaway

In exchange for a review, Zondervan sent me a copy of Robin Lee Hatcher’s new book Betrayal and the previous book in the Where the Heart Lives series, Belonging, to read and a copy to give away.

These inspirational Christian fiction romances are very enjoyable and are set out west, so it seems fitting that to enter to win the books, you must, in the comments section, either tell me your favorite western(s) or tell me why you want to win the books.

How will the winner be decided? By the tried and true method of drawing a commenter’s name from a hat.

If you want your name in the hat more than once: Subscribe to the blog and tell me you did in the comments section (or that you already have subscribed), follow me on twitter (@e_kitchens), or remind me of a great western (as in one that I enjoyed) but I forgot to mention.

I will post my review of Betrayal tomorrow. A post on The Big Country and an announcement of the winner will follow next week.


12 thoughts on “Westerns: A Favorites List

  1. While I really enjoy Westerns as well, I would have to say that my favorite would probably have to be “The Cowboys” starring John Wayne. This 1972 film was toward the end of his career, helping his generally daunting (and often type cast) demeanor mellow somewhat. This contrast makes for a very endearing character and an enjoyable movie.

    In this film, Wayne’s character, Wil Andersen, is in need of help on one of his last cattle drives. A gold rush has caused his normal hired men to quit him, so Andersen turns to the aid of young schoolboys. Andersen could be thought of almost as a divine figure to the boys, as he is hated and feared at times, but is also seen as a fatherly presence. If you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it, as I will not divulge too much of the plot in this space.

    Oh, and one final plus to the movie – the musical score was composed by the great John Williams.

  2. I have always enjoyed watching Westerns. I love the scenery of the rolling hills, winding rivers, and majestic mountains of the West. While I love watching the more popular Westerns like The Big Country and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, I also enjoy watching some of the more obscure ones. One example is The Last Wagon, starring one of my favorite actos, Richard Widmark. It is one of the more dramatic Westerns involving a wagaon train who must put their safety in the hands of a man who has lived most of his life with Indians. You will wonder if Comanche Todd will be able to break through the prejudice and save the lives on the train.

    I was a little skeptical of Audie Murphy’s Hell Bent for Leather, maybe because of the name, but I decided to give it a try it and see what happens. I was pleasantly suprised how the plot drew me in. Audie Murphy plays a man who is wrongly mistaken for a murderer. He is arrested by the sheriff who knows that he is the wrong man; but being on the slightly crazy side, the sheriff decides that he will take Murphy in anyway. Murphy escapes and takes a prisoner (one guess on the gender of the prisoner) and heads to the hills to try and clear his name.

    The next actor I will write about is much less well-known than the above. His name is George Montgomery. I have seen several of his Westerns, and although they are grade B, they were amusing. I recommend finding some of his on a relaxing Sunday afternoon.

  3. Some modern movies I enjoyed were The Good, The Bad and the Weird, a Korean spoof of the similarly-titled classic (warning: graphic violence); Rango, a cute animated film starring a bemused chameleon, and Gunless, a Canadian film parodying Westerns. And the most noteworthy: the Coen Brothers’ excellent adaptation of Charles Portis’s novel True Grit.

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