How The West Was Lost
BBC4 – 14 June 2008

“Comedian Rich Hall presents an insight into America’s fascination with the Wild West, tying it all in with US policy and the state of that nation, featuring footage from films including The Searchers, Little Big Man and Unforgiven. Filmed in Arizona, Montana and Wyoming, Rich explores the history of the Western, exploring the facts and fiction behind the cowboy image, and celebrates the stars of the genre, including John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.”

I had an opportunity to watch this 90-minute documentary last night. It was thoroughly entertaining and very informative, especially about the social and political backdrop to some of the most famous movies ever made. I don’t remember having seen the presenter Rich Hall before, but his dry humour appealed to me. The program certainly confirmed the importance of the Western as a genre, at least for those of us who were raised on it. I realize that, two generations on, westerns hold little appeal, except for real movie buffs, people interested in social and political history – and those living west of The Pecos.