Cowboys are riding a big comeback lately. The Coen Brothers had an unexpected hit with True Grit; David Milch’s brilliant Deadwood was recently released on Blu-Ray; and the open-world outlaw video game Red Dead Redemption reportedly shipped eight million units last year.
Future projects include Jon Faveru’s upcoming Cowboys & Aliens, which is exactly what it sounds like: a movie about cowboys fighting aliens. And Quentin Tarantino confirmed earlier this week that he will continue his tour of movie tropes by making his next project a spaghetti western.
Why the sudden interest in the Old West? Maybe audiences want a gritty counterpoint to airbrushed vampire fantasies dominating billboards and bookstores. Or, perhaps after years of an infatuation with mid-twentieth century America, viewers are thirsty for bourbon served in a filthy shot glass, not an old-fashioned sipped from a tumbler.
Whatever the motivation, it seems that a new trend is taking shape. One that allows audiences to look back on a time when America had plenty to look forward to. Or, maybe it’s just an excuse to see Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig ride horses and fire pistols at spaceships.