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Posts from ‘November, 2009’

Unit 6 (11/30 – 12/9): Go West Again, This Time as a Tourist

In this unit we scrutinize the imagined West within the real West in our own time – how do they overlap for tourists, recreationists, and visitors? We look at the contradictions and ironies in the burgeoning tourist industry in the West of the mid-20th century to today. 34. Mon 11/30 West for Sale Reading: explore […]

Mythbuster: American West Duels; Movie Fiction or Historical Fact or Both?

A common theme in Western Movies is the duel. Usually, two men, a bad guy and a hero who is trying to exact revenge, stand in the middle of a dirt road running through the center of the town. The bad guy on one end, the hero on the other. At noon, once the clock […]

Mythbuster: Lewis and Clark

It is no myth that Lewis and Clark traveled from the eastern coast of North America to the west in order to fulfill Thomas Jefferson’s long awaited curiosity of the North American western land (2). It was already well known to the Euro-Americans that there were Natives in the west as well as an entire […]

Mythbuster: Buffalo Bill Cody: Hunter or Celebrity?

If you, like myself, thought that what made Buffalo Bill Cody famous was the buffalo, you may have been deceived. In researching this project I expected to find articles expressing how great a hunter Buffalo Bill was and how many buffalo he slaughtered, but instead I found an abundance of information on “Buffalo Bill’s Wild […]

Mythbuster: Does Pouring Alcohol on a Cut Really Help?

Alcohol will clean the wound. Both drinking alcohol (ethyl alcohol) and rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) are disinfectants, meaning they kill the bacteria that may be in the wound. “The disinfectant properties have to do with the alcohol’s pH. However this will not do anything to stop the bleeding, as the alcohol does nothing to initiate […]

Mythbuster: Cowboys v. Indians

When I think about the West the first thing that comes to mind are the Westerns. Movies made about cowboys and Indians. When you watch one of those movies you get the idea in your head that Indians and Cowboys spent their days battling throughout the Great Plains of the West. This was totally proven […]

Mythbuster: The Myth of the World’s Most Celebrated Dentist

John Henry “Doc” Holiday was an American dentist that has made his place in the history books. He did not do it through new dental techniques or outstanding service; he did it through gunfights, through blood, and through legend. As well as his life being well documented through history books, Doc has been the highlight […]

Mythbuster: Why Don’t You Get Out of Dodge?

Were the western cattle towns of the late 1800’s filled with the only the law and the lawless? Most people depict the western town as a place of gun slinging cowboys packed into an over crowed saloon, where the whiskey and the women flow freely. The truth of the matter is, that even though there […]


Owen Wister’s 1902 novel The Virginian is the key to understanding the genre of American Western literature. Everything prior to it wasn’t truly “the Western” yet, and everything since draws on it, refers to it, was shaped by it, or defines itself against it. In this unit, we’ve read some “pre-Virginian” literature, and we’ll read […]

Mythbuster: Belle Starr, the Bandit Queen of the Old West

There are many versions of the Legend of Belle Starr. After her mysterious death on February 3, 1889, many “biographers have claimed to tell the real story of Belle Starr’s life, but in doing so they often contradicted each other” (1). Soon the truth of Belle Starr was hidden by myth only. “Legend has it […]