View Full Version : accurate western movies

Jack Straw
December 16, 2000, 01:49 PM
What movies do you think are the most accurate portrayals of real events in western history. Specifically I'm wondering about Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War and the doings of Wyatt Earp, but please include any others that you think are worth a look. I guess this depends in part on which versions of these stories you accept as the truth.

I started thinking about this the other day when Young Guns 2 was on. My fiance asked me why Billy was being chased for shooting people while those doing the chasing seemed to do plenty of shooting themselves. It has been a while since I have done any reading about this stuff so I was kind of stumped as to how to answer without sounding vague and wishy-washy. I thought I might be able to find a movie that could explain it better than I am able to.

I better do some more research if she's going to keep asking me tough questions. She thinks I'm brilliant and I would hate to let her down.:rolleyes:


December 16, 2000, 07:08 PM
I believe the term "accurate western movies" is a oxymoron.

December 16, 2000, 08:05 PM
Unforgiven is fairly accurate.

Pale Rider too.

Thats about it.

Bill Mitchell
December 18, 2000, 07:08 PM

Picking a movie due to it's accuracy is a tough proposition, because, as you said, not everyone agrees as to what history is accurate and what is not. This is true of the Linclon County War, and especially the whole Wyatt Earp/Tombstone story. Sides got taken, facts got skewed-we'll probably never know what the truth is in either case.

As far as accuracy goes, Costner's Wyatt Earp is probably closer to history. But some stuff, like gunleather, is completely out of place, if that kind of thing bugs you. Tombstone, while not as historically accurate, is a hell of a lot more fun to watch.

Bellicose Bill

December 19, 2000, 02:42 PM
I suppose you may need to have 2-3 categories, like Historical, the mood (costume,setting, props, etc), dialogue etc.

As Jack said the Historians probably don't agree, so it would be hard to determine.

For me it comes down to, are there blatant inaccuracies, like Billy the Kid being married (not sure if he was or not), sometimes movies completly change a relativly accepted truth just for affect. So I don't think those can be considered accurate.

The other point is, how much of the tone of the event do they capture (although you can't really know since you weren't there) but you can get a feel for it.
Other than that it's just what you like.

Lonesome Dove
Jossie Wales

John D
December 21, 2000, 12:21 PM
How about 'Conahger'? Great dialogue, great story.

'Unforgiven' seems pretty accurate, shooting-wise...they didn't always hit what they were aiming at!

Bill Mitchell
December 21, 2000, 05:23 PM
Yea, Conagher is a top notch Western! That, and Last Stand at Saber River, are two of my favorites.

Bellicose Bill

December 21, 2000, 09:33 PM
in movies supposedly set before 1894... and got a dime for each one...

I could buy a he11 of a lot of guns!

Jay Baker
December 21, 2000, 10:18 PM
"Pale Rider," was almost a direct steal from the 1953 great western, "Shane." The gun play in "Shane," is very good. In fact, Elmer Keith once wrote that "Shane," was one of the most authentic use of guns in the old West, he'd seen.

(By the way, having seen "Shane" a number of times, I thought that "Pale Rider" was an absolute piece of feces.)

Also, other than the Buscadero type holsters used in "One Eyed Jacks," with Marlon Brando, the guns and gun work in that flick is good.


December 22, 2000, 11:38 AM
Jack, "What movies do you think are the most accurate portrayals of real events in western history?"


Great epic. My favorite, although maybe not 'historically correct' in all respects, is THE SHOOTIST.