The American Frontier (often called the Wild West or Old West) has been the foundation of countless movies, video games, and even musical compositions for decades. It’s a story that began in the early 17th century and only concluded when the last few Western territories finally became US states in 1912. It was an era of widespread migration and resettlement, encouraged by then-president Thomas Jefferson. He sought to tighten the Union’s grip on as much of the North American continent as possible.
The period most commonly shown in movies and on television is generally agreed to have occurred shortly after the Gold Rush period between 1849 and the end of the Civil War in 1865. By 1890 the West finally reached a sufficient population density, effectively removing the old frontier line. By the time the Frontier appeared in history books, stories of people struggling to survive in such an isolated and dangerous land began to take hold of people’s imaginations, cementing the Old West’s place in today’s popular culture.
It would be impossible to choose a single game or movie as “the best” example of Wild West storytelling. Still, we can at least make a few suggestions of things you may enjoy taking a look at if you are keen to know more about this unusual period of history on the North American continent. We hope you enjoy it.
Money Train 3
Let’s kick things off with a bit of a wild card, the latest release in Relax Gaming’s hugely popular Money Train series of online slot machines! This game isn’t only a wildcard because it’s a slot machine but also because it appears to be set in an alternate version of the frontier with a steampunk aesthetic – open the money train 3 demo and take a look for yourself; it’s a fascinating and unique sight!
This is a game for those who don’t mind a little bit of risk in return for the opportunity to hit it big; the jackpot offered here is 100,000x your current bet or a million bucks at €10 per spin. The Money Train franchise has been a massive hit with players ever since the release of the first game, and this update tweaks the formula just enough to ensure existing fans won’t be alienated.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar Gaming is the creator of gaming’s hottest property – the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Players have been eagerly awaiting the sixth installment of GTA for years now, as it seems that Rockstar has ideas about what they want to spend their time creating. The developers have gone on record to state that they find the period of the American Frontier to be a much more interesting era in which to tell complex stories, and this game proves that they are anything but “just talk”!
The main storyline of Red Dead Redemption 2 is set against the end of the Wild West era in 1899 after a robbery has gone badly wrong in the town of Blackwater. Arthur Morgan is forced to go on the run, chased by federal agents and America’s most feared bounty hunters. You’ll need to rob, steal, and fight your way from coast to coast to survive while ensuring that your loyalty to the Van der Linde gang is never questioned.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
We could have written an article (or three) about only the movies set in the time of the American Frontier, so picking just a single film to talk about was an extremely tough call. Ultimately, we picked one of the classics – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This movie has an 8/10 score on IMDb as well as an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of the most popular films of all time in terms of audience opinion.
It’s a true story of quickest-on-the-draw suspense, gang-on-gang warfare, and train and bank robberies, all taking place alongside a slightly bumpy romance. The unlikely friendship between Butch – possibly the friendliest and most likable outlaw of all time – and the dangerous yet loyal Sundance Kid ties everything together beautifully. It’s not a particularly long movie either at just 110m, so if you have never seen this one be sure to grab a copy and some popcorn for a fantastic night in.