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International Westerns: Relocating the Frontier (Plymouth: Scarecrow Press, 2014). Edited by Cynthia J. Miller and A. Bowdoin Van Riper.

International Westerns

As its title suggests, the chapters featured in this edited volume all focus on Westerns that were produced outside of the USA. Lee Broughton’s chapter titled ‘Rethinking the genre’s gender stereotypes: Ramsbottom Rides Again (1956) and the British out West’ examines Great Britain’s overlooked engagement with the Western genre by employing the Arthur Askey comedy Ramsbottom Rides Again (John Baxter, UK, 1956) as its main case study. Other British Westerns that are discussed in the chapter include The Frozen Limits (Marcel Varnel, UK, 1939), The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw (Raoul Walsh, UK/USA, 1958) and Carry On Cowboy (Gerald Thomas, UK, 1966).

Lee argues that a number of local cultural and political concerns resulted in these British Westerns featuring strong female characters who were able to break the genre’s gender-related rules without suffering the kind of narrative punishment that was routinely meted out to the unruly female characters that occasionally appeared in Hollywood’s contemporaneous Westerns. Furthermore, Lee suggests that a genealogical link can be detected between these early British Westerns and a cycle of British Westerns from the 1970s – see A Town Called Bastard (Robert Parrish, UK/Spain, 1971), Captain Apache (Alexander Singer, UK/Spain, 1971) and Hannie Caulder (Burt Kennedy, UK, 1971) for key examples – that feature equally strong female characters who again are able to defy the genre’s gender-related rules without suffering narrative punishment.