Use of the Landscape in Creating Such Western Films by Film Director John Fords
The red sky blazes over the mountains, the wide river reflecting its fire amid broken islands of ice. The train hurtles through the wilderness. But the mountains are the Catskills, more famous now for Jewish comedy than hunting, the river is the Hudson, and the train is a suburban service heading into New York City.
Everyone else has come inside: the other surviving characters, who have endured grief, violence, the loss of kin and the agony of waiting, and also, implicitly, the audience, which has anxiously anticipated this homecoming. But the hero, whose ruthlessness and obstinacy have made it possible, is excluded, and our last glimpse of him emphasizes his solitude, his separateness, his alienation - from his friends and family, and also from us.
It is for me in the spiritual that Ford expresses the greatest we can hope our art to be. It is his capacity to mythologise; to ennoble that which might otherwise go unnoticed.
Stagecoach and The Searchers have many parallels and similarities, but they also contain a strong contrast – the contrast between the “old” 1939 west of Stagecoach and the “new morality” 1956 west of The Searchers.
Anderson, Lindsay. About John Ford, London: Plexus Publishing, 1981.
Ford, Dan. Pappy – The Life of John Ford, Prentice Hall, 1979.Prats, A. J. (1995).
Back from the sunset: The western, the Eastwood hero, and The Unforgiven. Journal of Film and Video, 47, 106-123.
Rushing, J. H. (1983). The rhetoric of the American western myth. Communication Monographs, 50, 14- 32.
Schatz, T. (1981). Hollywood genres. New York: Random House.