Listeria – Western Actors Edition

24 Oct

I know that this edition of Listeria is coming along soon after the last edition of Listeria, but I went overboard on my last trip to the magazine stand. Besides, this one covers one of my favorite subjects – Western movies. I grew up watching them with my dad, and that experience played a role in my interest in the history of the West.

American Cowboy published a special issue called “Legends of Western Cinema” and listed the 20 greatest Western actors. However, there is one problem that needs to be addressed before I begin. When people think about Westerns, or the history of the West, they think about cowboys first. Some of the greatest Westerns don’t involve cowboys at all. They involve mountain men, Native Americans, cavalry and all sorts of characters. In the real West, not everyone were cowboys. A good way to see this? If there are no cows around, then there are probably no cowboys around.

The rant is over, so here we go with the list. These are the 20 greatest Western actors according to American Cowboy in the order that they have listed. I will list my favorite movie of each and add the actors that I believe should be included.

John Wayne – The Searchers

Gary Cooper – High Noon

James Stewart – The Far Country

Henry Fonda – Once Upon a Time in the West

Clint Eastwood – The Outlaw Josey Wales

Steve McQueen – The Magnificent Seven

Kirk Douglas – There Was a Crooked Man

Robert Duvall – Open Range

Ben Johnson – She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

Lee Marvin – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Sam Elliott – Tombstone

Tom Selleck – Quigley Down Under

Charles Bronson – Once Upon a Time in the West

Woody Strode – Sergeant Rutledge

Gregory Peck – The Gunfighter

Paul Newman – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Tom Mix – Riders of the Purple Sage

Glenn Ford – 3:10 to Yuma

Tommy Lee Jones – No Country For Old Men

James Garner – Duel at Diablo

That’s the Top 20. I could name a bunch that belong on the list, but I will limit myself to five.

Randolph Scott – Ride the High Country

Kevin Costner – Silverado

Robert Mitchum – Five Card Stud

Robert Redford – Jeremiah Johnson

Richard Widmark – Broken Lance

There is the list. Who else should be included? Who should be omitted? What are your favorite movies? Let me know.

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13 Responses to “Listeria – Western Actors Edition”

  1. paintlater October 24, 2012 at 11:32 #

    I loved Clint in Unforgivin. I love Westerns guess it was the cowboy tent when I was a little girl. Cheers

    • Rick October 24, 2012 at 14:26 #

      It’s amazing how much childhood experiences affect us. Always remember, “It’s a hell of a thing killing a man. You take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have.”

  2. Teepee12 June 8, 2013 at 05:39 #

    All good choices. I think you hit most of our favorites, through there are so many to choose from. I grew up with westerns … do you ever wonder what happened to guys like Johnny Mack Brown? Oh, and Will Penny, probably Heston’s best performance and his personal favorite.

    • Rick June 8, 2013 at 15:33 #

      Thanks. You are right about there being so many to choose from. In fact, I just finished watching The Searchers. Like all genres, there are good Westerns and bad Westerns, but I feel that it is the most important genre.

      Thank you for commenting.

      • garryarmstrong June 8, 2013 at 17:10 #

        An excellent list!! This is my favorite genre. “The Searchers” is my favorite western and in the top five of my favorite films. I even have a huge wall poster of “The Searchers”. I realize I keep saying “favorite” but this is so subjective. In the last few days, I’ve re watched, “The Far Country”, “Winchester 73”, “The Gunfighter”, “Bend of the River” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” just to name a few goodies. I’ve also watched some bad ones like “Denver and the Rio Grande” but a western is a western and it made me smile on a lousy day. Thanks for the great list. You’ll do!!

      • Rick June 8, 2013 at 18:09 #

        Thank you for reading my post and taking the time to comment. I watched “The Searchers” last night. I find something new to like about it each time I watch. You should read “The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend” by Glenn Frankel. It’s an excellent study of how history becomes legend.

  3. Teepee12 June 8, 2013 at 05:41 #

    Reblogged this on SERENDIPITY and commented:
    Great choices!

    • jcalberta June 9, 2013 at 01:31 #

      Yup, that’s a lot of good viewing.

      “Well he should have armed himself if he’s gonna decorate his saloon with my friend.”.

      • Rick June 9, 2013 at 03:32 #

        “It’s a Hell of a thing killing a man. You take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have.”

        Thanks for reading my blog and for commenting.

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