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10 Best Westerns NOT Set In The Old West

Why aren't more Westerns set in space?

Lionsgate

What is a Western? We all know the obvious ones, from Siergo Leone's Dollars Trilogy and Clint Eastwod's Unforgiven, but what actually constitutes a Western? Well, for one thing, they're usually set in the mid-to-late 19th century and focus on a number of key themes: there's a lone, nomadic gunslinger with a hidden past; a violent bad guy with whom the protagonist shares a history; a lawman or two intent on catching said bad guy (and maybe even the protagonist); and a murder or an ill-fated duel.

These are the things you picture - the films made famous in the fifties, sixties and seventies made by John Wayne, John Ford and Eastwood. But Westerns aren't bound solely to this format. Some take the themes, shake 'em up slightly, and plonk the action somewhere wholly unexpected, like a different country, an entirely different planet or, more commonly, a different era.

The films on this list are all Westerns. Many incorporate a wide range of genres and themes, but all carry the fundamentals of the Western genre, be it the characters, the plot, the setting, even the clothes. So strap in and hold on tight as we take a ride across the frontier of the very best non-Western Westerns.

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Spoilers follow for each entry.

Contributor
Contributor

WhatCulture contributor, aspiring author and lover of all things Buffy, zombie, TV and movie. Usually found re-watching the same films and TV shows on repeat.