What Are Some Common Themes of Western Films?

Common themes of the Western film genre include outlaws and heists, treasure or gold hunts, conquest of the Wild West, conflict between Native Americans and cowboys and colonization of the West. Other themes are the West's opposition to modern change and the cultural divide between East and West.

The protagonist in most Western films is a stoic hero who has strong moral values and believes in honor and sacrifice. Notable examples of Western films are "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," which starred Humprhey Bogart; "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid;" and "Unforgiven," which had Clint Eastwood starring in the lead role as well as directing and producing.

John Wayne is considered the greatest Western film actor of all time. He starred in "The Searchers," "Stagecoach" and "The Longest Day." Other Western greats include Gary Cooper, James Arness and Steve McQueen.