This collection of 12 essays examines films from an ecocritical point of view. Ecocriticism generally means exploring the role of nature in a given subject, in this case, Western movies.
It is not a new idea that landscape is an influential character in Westerns, but these eco writers analyze a rich variety of subjects, including the silent images in The Wind, the dust bowl tragedy of Grapes of Wrath, settlers versus oilmen in Tulsa, coming-of-age in The River Runs Through It and the iconic 1960s road film Easy Rider. Although the movies emphasize different values relative to nature—from preservationist to exploitative—they all share awe for the mythic power of the Western American landscape. —Cynthia Green